Nature Preserves and Parks

Nature Preserves and Parks

Erie Canal- East
 Falls View Park and School Street Hydroelectric Facility

The park overlooks the spectacular 75-foot Cohoes Falls on the Mohawk River. Stairs and a hiking path leading to the base of the falls are open in the summer (conditions dependent). The neighboring power facility and park received an Erie Canalway Heritage Award in 2008 for showcasing corporate leadership in community revitalization. Located in the heart of the Harmony Mills Historic District of Cohoes.  Visit Site >

 Moss Island National Natural Landmark

Take a hike on this unique island. Part of an uplifted fault block of ancient crystalline rock; contains the best exposure of glacial age potholes eroded by meltwater floods in the eastern US. Access from Lock 17 access road off NY169.  Visit Site >

 Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve

(518) 371-6667

600-acre preserve with three areas of interest: extensive freshwater wetlands/prime bird habitat, the remains of the Erie Canal, and the site of the town’s first settlement. Segments of the original 1825 Erie Canal and towpath, the 1842 Enlarged Erie Canal, and today's Erie Canal are accessible within the preserve. The entrance to the preserve includes a restored 1862 Whipple Truss Bridge, a design used widely to bridge the canal during the latter half of the 19th century.  Visit Site >

 Oriskany Flats Wildlife Management Area

(315) 793-2554

750 acres of Mohawk River floodplain; activities include birdwatching, hunting, fishing and trapping. A canoe launch is present at the parking facility on the north side of the river.  Visit Site >

 Peebles Island & Erie Canalway Visitor Center

158 acre park at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers; spectacular river and rapids views from trails that traverse gently rolling and wooded landscape. Primarily upland oak forest, with several small wetlands and open grassland habitat. Trails open for walking and jogging. Also: picnicking, fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoing.

Erie Canal- Central
 Beaver Lake Nature Center

(315) 638-2519

650 acre Onondaga County Park features a 200-acre glacial lake; trails lead through woodland, meadow, and bog habitats, as well as 3-mile lake loop with strategically placed observation platforms. More than 400 educational programs offered annually.  Visit Site >

 Chittenango Falls State Park

(315) 655-9620

167-foot waterfall formed by glacial sculpting of 400 million year-old bedrock; park offers hiking, fishing and picnicking.  Visit Site >

 Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area

(607) 753-3095

3,787 acres of upland and wetland; activities include birdwatching, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing, and trapping.  Visit Site >

 Three Mile Bay Bird Conservation Area/Audubon's Toad Harbor Swamp Important Bird Area

(518) 402-8924

3,697 acres of wooded swamp on the northwestern shore of Oneida Lake with small amounts of marsh; also includes areas of upland forest, successional old field, and shrubland habitats.  Visit Site >

 Clark Reservation State Park

(315) 492-1590

Park includes rugged cliffs and rocky outcrops, woodland, meadow, wetland, and a glacial plunge basin lake in which the surface waters and bottom waters do not mix. Activities include: hiking, birdwatching, geology, botony, fishing, guided hikes from nature center.  Visit Site >

 Green Lakes State Park and Round Lake National Natural Landmark

Phone: (315) 637-6111; Phone: (315) 637-8053; Reservations: (800) 456-2267

Located between Syracuse and Chittenango, adjacent to Old Erie Canal State Park and the Erie Canalway Trail, this park is named for its two unusual aquamarine glacial kettle lakes. Both Round and Green Lakes are “meromictic,” which means that there is no fall and spring mixing of surface and bottom waters. The park has a swimming beach and 10 miles of trails. Access available from the Erie Canalway Trail/Old Erie Canal SP.  Visit Site >

 Verona Beach State Park

(315) 762-4463

Located on the eastern shore of Oneida Lake. Shaded picnic areas and campground are adjacent to the beach with an excellent view of the water. The winter season hosts snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and ice fishermen. The eastern portion of the park is open for hunting deer, small game, and waterfowl, in season.  Visit Site >

Erie Canal- West
 Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area/Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area/

(585) 948-5445

19,000 acres of freshwater marshes and hardwood swamps bounded by woods, forests, fields, and wet meadows. Four overlooks and three nature trails offer wildlife viewing.  Visit Site >

 Braddock Bay Bird Conservation Area

(585) 226-2466

Shallow water bay-marsh complex of marshes, open water, forests, grasslands, and shrub-scrub. Prime spot for viewing hawks and owls during spring migration.  Visit Site >

 Mendon Ponds Park and National Natural Landmark

(58)5 753-PARK (7275)

2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands and glacially created landforms. Designated National Natural Landmark for its glacial features. The park's 550-acre Mendon Nature Center features 7 miles of trails.  Visit Site >

 Trail of Hope

Fully-accessible quarter-mile trail and gardens are designed to enable people of all ages and abilities to experience nature. The trail meanders through themed gardens and through a shaded woodland overlooking Black Brook, which is part of Clinton's Ditch, the first Erie Canal. Located adjacent to the Lyons Community Center.  Visit Site >

 Zurich Bog National Natural Landmark

(585) 548-7304

Three square mile swamp west of Zurich is a registered National Llandmark. Also known as "Mud Pond," for the open body of water within the bog. Managed by the Bergen Swamp Preservation Society.  Visit Site >

Cayuga-Seneca Canal
 Seneca Lake State Park

(315) 789-2331

Seneca Lake State Park overlooks blue water, creating a relaxing experience for swimmers and picnickers. There is also a spray ground for the kids with 100 water jets, a playground and 2 marinas.  Visit Site >

 Finger Lakes National Forest

(607) 546-4470

16,118 acres nestled between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. The Forest has over 30 miles of interconnecting trails that traverse gorges, ravines, pastures and woodlands. Open to the public for recreation.  Visit Site >

 Buttermilk Falls State Park

(607) 273-5761 (summer) or (607) 273-3440; Reservations: (800) 456-2267

The park takes its name from the foaming cascade formed by Buttermilk Creek as it flows down a steep valley side toward Cayuga Lake. The upper park has a small lake, hiking trails through woodlands and along the gorge and rim, picnic areas, and playing fields. The lower park has a campground, pool, and playing fields, beyond which is Larch Meadows, a moist, shady glen and wetland with a nature trail.  Visit Site >

 Robert H. Treman State Park

Phone: (607) 273-3440; Reservations: (800) 456-2267

Winding trails follow a gorge past 12 waterfalls, including the 115-foot Lucifer Falls, to where visitors can see a mile-and-a-half down the wooded gorge as it winds its way to the lower park. Campers can choose from tent or RV sites or cabins, mid-May through November. Activities include hiking on nine miles of trails and swimming in a stream-fed pool beneath a waterfall.  Visit Site >

 Sapsucker Woods

(607) 254-2473

220 acres of hardwood forest, wooded swamp, pond, and garden managed for birds, located at Cornell's premier center for the study and conservation of birds. More than 225 species in an extraordinary setting.  Visit Site >

 Lookout Point

This small public parks offers wide views of Cayuga Inlet. This location marks the southern terminus of the NYS Barge Canal and was a vibrant commercial area in the 1800s. Canal boats were constructed and repaired along Cayuga Inlet, and barges with goods were loaded and unloaded here. Find the park in the city's West End at the northernmost point of Inlet Island directly behind The Boatyard Grill; also accessible by a spur path off of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail.  Visit Site >

 Willard Wildlife Management Area


23 acres of woodland bordering Seneca Lake and 135 acres of cropland, which is rented out to local farmers. Hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, cross-country skiing, birdwatching, camping.  Visit Site >

 Sampson State Park

Phone: (315) 585-6392; Reservations: (800) 456-2267

The focal point of the park is the marina and its numerous electric and non-electric campsites. There are also picnic areas, playground and playing fields that include tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a swimming beach, a recreation building, and organized activities including tours, hikes and wildlife watches. Seneca Lake is famous for its trout fishing.  Visit Site >

 Cayuga Lake State Park

Phone: (315) 568-5163 Reservations: (800) 456-2267

This park has beautiful views of the lake; includes fishing and boating access, a playground, and ball field. Vacation rentals available year-round.  Visit Site >

 Cayuga Lake Wildlife Management Area

(585) 226-2466

225 acres, cattail marsh and wooded swamps, activities include hunting, fishing, trapping, and wildlife-related recreation.  Visit Site >

 Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

(315) 568-5987

8,000-acre wetland complex; premier waterfowl watching site and prime nesting, feeding, resting habitat for migratory birds; extensive marshes, swamps, upland forests, agricultural land. Mid-Sept-mid-Nov is peak viewing of up to 50,000 Canada geese and 150,000 ducks. Late-February-April, 85,000 Canada geese and 12,000 snow geese. Mid-May, warbler and songbird migration peaks.  Visit Site >

 Long Point State Park

Phone: (315) 649-5258; Reservations: (800) 456-2267

The park is small and almost completely surrounded by water with great views. Campsites are fairly open and grass-covered with scattered trees, a playground, and picnic areas. The bay provides a protected harbor for boats, and Lake Ontario offers excellent boating and fishing opportunities. Constant lake breezes keep the park cool and mosquito-free.  Visit Site >

 Taughannock State Park

(607) 387-6739 Reservations: (800) 456-2267

Located between the Village of Trumansburg and the city of Ithaca. The falls cataract has an incredible drop of 215 feet (66 meters) and is one of the highest east of the Rocky Mountains. Open year round. Camping season runs from the last weekend in March to mid-October. The rim trail closes in winter; the gorge trail remains open. Bow hunting for deer is permitted in season.  Visit Site >

 Catherine Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area

(585) 226-2466

1,000 acre marsh complex at the southern end of Seneca Lake. A remnant section of the Chemung Barge Canal runs through the marsh. The area is managed for multiple uses, including birdwatching, hunting, fishing, boating, and hiking. 64 species of birds including an abundance of wading and waterbird species.  Visit Site >

 Watkins Glen State Park

Phone: (607) 535-4511; Reservations: (800) 456-2267

Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks. Within two miles, the glen's stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade. Rim trails overlook the gorge. Campers and day-visitors can enjoy the Olympic-size pool, scheduled summer gorge tours, tent and trailer campsites, picnic facilities and fishing in nearby Seneca Lake or Catherine Creek, which is renowned for its spring run of rainbow trout.  Visit Site >

Champlain Canal
 Moreau Lake State Park

Phone: (518) 793-0511; Reservations: (800) 456-2267

Campground with sandy beach, nature, hiking and cross-country ski trails; opportunities for boating, fishing and ice fishing, and proximity to the Saratoga Spring and Lake George areas.  Visit Site >

 Hudson Crossing Park

518-350-PARK (7275)

Hudson Crossing Park is centered on and around Champlain Canal Lock 5 Island just north of Schuylerville. It features over two miles of waterfront trails, picnic sites, children’s play garden, boat access, and links to the Old Champlain Canal towpath.  Visit Site >

Oswego Canal
 Battle Island State Park

(315) 593-3408

The park maintains an 18-hole golf course with magnificant river views. It is also open for cross-country skiing in winter.  Visit Site >

 Great Bear Springs Recreation Area

Adjacent to the canal, the park is comprised of 500 acres owned by the City of Fulton and the 78-acre Town of Volney Park. Contains remains of the Hinsmanville Lock and towpath that were part of the original Oswego Canal. Eight miles of rails for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-county skiing.  Visit Site >

 Three Rivers Bird Conservation Area

(607) 775-2687

3,615 acres of grassland, shrubland, wetland and forest habitats. This site attracts a wide diversity of bird species during migration.  Visit Site >