hike #14

“Farther Away” State Parks Outside of Tompkins County

General State Park Information:

While we have an abundance of State Parks and their respective trails here in Tompkins County, the group still makes a number of longer drives every year to State Parks in neighboring counties to hike the trails in those parks.

As with all State Parks, there are entrance fees to consider based on the time of year. Other than hiking the Parks in seasons where the entrance fees are not collected, one solution would be to invest in an annual Empire Passport, which will get you into any State Park for the entire year. See for more information:

Empire Pass – NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation

See links at that page for additional cost savings such as fee waivers / discounts for senior citizens and military personnel.

Regarding other issues such as seasonal closure of trails at a specific park, hikers should contact the park office at the phone numbers provided in the links below for that information.

Hike A: Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen

General information here:

Watkins Glen State Park (ny.gov)

Trail map here:

Watkins Glen State Park Trail Map (ny.gov)

Google map pin, lower park entrance:

Watkins Glen State Park – Google Maps

Generally we visit Watkins Glen State Park in the fall on a Wednesday before the Gorge Trail closes for the season. We typically do an interesting loop of the Gorge and Rim Trails, with a side trip to the near-by FLT trailhead if we need to hike for additional time.

Occasionally hike leaders will lead a different hike in the area  of the Watkins Glen State Park such as an FLT-specific hike route

The parking lots for the park fill up quickly, and area streetside parking is limited.

It should be noted that Watkins Glen State Park does NOT allow dogs on the Gorge Trail; if you usually hike with your canine companion, they will have to stay home for this hike

A short Youtube video on Watkins Glen State Park:

(115) A Walk Through Watkins Glen trailer – YouTube

Hike B: Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia

General information here:

Fillmore Glen State Park (ny.gov)

Trail map here:

FillmoreGlenTrailMap.pdf (ny.gov)

Google map pin:

Fillmore Glen State Park Office – Google Maps

Fillmore Glen has some interesting trails that are the equal of anything we have locally here in Tompkins County.

The Gorge Trail often closes before the Rim Trail, so calling ahead to check on trail conditions when visiting Fillmore Glen in the fall is suggested.

We generally visit Fillmore Glen at least once in the summer and sometimes in the fall. For those who might want to avoid the entrance fees, parking in the nearby elementary school parking lot and walking into the park via the creek  is an option that local residents have previously suggested to members of our group.

Hike C: Long Point State Park, Aurora

General Information here:

Long Point State Park – Finger Lakes (ny.gov)

Trail map here:

Long Point State Park Trail Map (ny.gov)

Google map pin:

Long Point State Park – Finger Lakes – Google Maps

Long Point State Park trails are a mix of wooded paths that skirt some nice ravine areas and loop through open fields. I have found on previous hikes at this park that the trails have a minimal amount of signage and no blazes, so taking a map is extremely helpful. The open field trails can be muddy and the park has recently been brush hogging the fields trails, so it’s potentially easier to lose your way when traversing the open areas if you aren’t familiar with them or don’t have a map.

Hike D: Green Lakes State Park Onondaga County

General Information here:

Green Lakes State Park (ny.gov)

Trail map here:

Green Lakes State Park Trail Map (ny.gov)

Google map pin:

Green Lakes State Park – Google Maps

While this park is the furthest away on this list, there are some unique features to the lakes here that make the drive to this park to hike its trails worthwhile. The trails at Green Lakes State Park vary in length and there are any number of trail combinations of both wooded and open field trail sections that can be linked together to make a hike of your desired duration and difficulty level.