Hiking in the Finger Lakes

Fall is quickly approaching. I have started my list of several hikes I am planning to take to absorb the beauty of the Finger Lakes. Walking through the vibrant colors of gold, red and orange leaves is beautiful beyond words. It is truly something you need to experience for yourself.

There are many amazing places to go hiking in upstate New York. The trails vary from challenging to very easy. The Finger Lakes region is rich with waterfalls. The majority of the hikes I have taken are based around seeing the waterfalls but there are some that are trails through the woods with very little water along the way. If you are looking for some suggestions for your own hikes this fall here are five of my favorites.

Robert H Treman in Ithaca – This one is very pretty with many water falls all along the way. It is also one of the harder hiking trails in the area. They even have signs to warn you about all the stairs so just beware.

Stoney Brook in Dansville – This park is very pretty. It is not a hard hike for the most part but at the end of the trail you will find a large amount of stairs. We did climb the stairs and much to our delight… no that would be dismay, there is nothing up there to see. It just leads you to the rim trail which does not offer views of the water. If you are looking for the tranquil water views when you reach the endless wooden stairs turn around and go back for a second look. As a forewarning, wear good shoes for this one. The hiking trail has a lot of broken rocks and steps along the way. The footing can be a little treacherous.

Park Station, Erin – If you are looking for a peaceful nature walk and maybe even kayaking along the way, Park Station is a hidden gem that offers both. This park is tucked away in Erin, NY and tends to be missed by a lot of people. Although the locals love it!

Taughannock Falls – Trumansburg – If you have small kids who want to play in the water, Taughannock Falls is your destination. The hiking trail is very easy so you will find lots of families, young and old, enjoying this park. At the end of the trail you will find one of the most beautiful and tallest waterfalls in the area.

Watkins Glen State Park – If you are looking for beautiful water falls and gorgeous gorges, this is the place. The hike can be slightly challenging so be prepared with the right footwear. You can’t actually get in the water but you do walk right beside it and at times even behind the actual falls. It is a breathtaking experience that is totally worth the exertion. You don’t want to miss this one!

Like I said these are just five of the many amazing hikes you can take in the Finger Lakes region. Please let me know your favorites so I can add them to my list. I will be blogging about each as I visit them this fall so please stay tuned for more to come!

Thank you for exploring with me – Shelly

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Hiking at Letchworth

It’s Labor Day which means summer is coming to a close. As much as I hate to see summer go I do have to admit Fall in the Finger Lakes is by far my favorite season. In the next few weeks the air will start to be crisper, the leaves will light up the hillsides and the pumpkin patches will open up with all their fun activities.

If you are looking for an outdoor adventure while the weather is still warm but you also want to see the start of the fall leaves I suggest a hike at one of the many parks in our area. I was at Letchworth State Park this weekend. The vast views are breathtaking and the waterfalls are spectacular.

Letchworth was voted America’s #1 State Park and it is easy to see why. The park is well maintained and the paths are easy to walk. If you have someone in your party who is not able to hike you can easily drive right up to each waterfall. There are also clean bathrooms and vending machines all along the way. And if you are looking for more than a snack from the vending machine, they have a couple of nice restaurants in the park.

If you are looking for more of a hiking challenge there are several areas to leave your car and hike throughout the park. Their trails range from moderate to easy with a variety of distances for all hiking levels.

If you are looking for kid friendly activities they have a swimming pool, playground area and lots of picnic tables too.

Brews, Burgers and BBQ

If you are looking for a great place to hang out with friends Market Street Brewing Co. & Restaurant on Market St in Corning is the place for you. The atmosphere is relaxing and casual, the drinks are cold and the food is yummy. I highly recommend their cheese burger with homemade chips and my husband loves the Spicy Pig – it is a pulled pork sandwich with a spicy BBQ sauce. They offer a good variety of food and a full bar.

When the weather allows they offer seating on the upstairs deck over looking Market St. They also have indoor and outdoor seating on the first level. The only thing to be aware of is the chairs on the first level outdoor area are not very comfortable.

Hummingbirds

I was so excited yesterday to finally capture two hummingbirds with my camera. I see hummingbirds often all around the Finger Lakes region. These two were in Big Flats. When you are exploring the Finger Lakes region keep an eye out for these adorable little birds. They are quick little boogers!

And on a side note while driving on I86 between the Corning and Big Flats exit I spotted a bald eagle flying low over the Chemung River. Hopefully I will get a picture of them soon to share.

My Finger Lakes Travel Blog

Every year the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York is visited by thousands of tourists from around the world. The reasons are easy to see – the relaxing lakes, the beautiful rolling hills, amazing museums and in my opinion the best wineries and breweries in the country, if not the world. And oh yeah – the food is DELICIOUS!

I have had the pleasure of living in this region for the past 27 years. I love hiking in our local parks, kayaking on the lakes and checking out the area museums, festivals and locally owned shops.

Whether you live in the Finger Lakes region also or if you are planning to visit, I invite you to join me on all my journeys around the area. I will detail what I see and do, so you will know what to expect when you are planning your Finger Lakes experience.

Dansville Hot Air Balloon Festival

Today’s adventure had me floating on a cloud. Vibrant colors filled the sky at sunrise for the Dansville Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival.

The festival is inside the Dansville municipal airport. The cost is only $5.00 a person to get in the gate. They give you a wrist band so you can come and go throughout the day. Which I quickly discovered why.

We arrived at 6:15 am. Gates opened at 6:00 am and the balloons were scheduled to go up shortly after sunrise. I was amazed at how quick they get these mammoth balloons in the air so if you plan to see them take off you need to be there right at sunrise. We made it but we did not have much time to spare.

The excitement begins when the flames start shooting up to heat the air and make the balloon rise. In a matter of minutes the balloon is up, the people jump in the basket and they are in the air. Seeing the sky full of color floating above you is an amazing sight.

But once they float away there is nothing to do until the festival officially kicks off at 10:00 am. At this point is was about 7:30 am. There was a mass exit of the majority of the 200-300 people there. We ended up leaving too. It would have been nice if they had a breakfast area or even some hot chocolate and coffee. And if they have people there why not go ahead and open the arts and craft booths. Don’t let people leave hoping they will come back.

After getting home I discovered a schedule of events that shows an evening balloon launch. If I had known I would have gone to that one…don’t tell my husband please! The evening launch is scheduled for 6:00 pm. Next year I will plan to go to the festival in the afternoon and then watch the evening balloon launch!