Chimney Bluffs State Park is on Lake Ontario, just past Sodus in the town of Huron. The bluffs, rising 175 feet above Lake Ontario, are fragile drumlins, like all of the truncated drumlins along this section of shoreline.
Getting to the Bluffs
If your primary goal is to see the bluffs and access the lake, park at the end of East Bay Road. This isn’t an easy stroll by any means. It’s not difficult, but it does require navigating wave-torn pathways and around fallen trees to get to the lakeside.
The beach is covered in flat stones of varying sizes. Having water shoes to stand in the lake is a great idea, though I have found a good pair of sneakers will do your ankles a favor walking along the shoreline under the bluffs! You won’t regret having both.
Looking at the Chimney Bluffs from the water is like looking through a window into our geologic history. According to ScienceDirect, this area of New York State “contains one of the largest drumlin fields (12,000 km2) on the North America continent consisting of some 10,000 drumlins located between Lake Ontario in the north and the Finger Lakes.” If you want to learn more about the land, dig into the New York State Geological Association Guidebook [72nd NYSGA 2000 PDF, 116]. Estimates say the bluff retreats 5-feet every year from natural weathering.
Trails through Chimney Bluffs State Park
Most folks take a combination of trails to make a loop: the Bluff Trail (1.25 miles), East-West Trail (1.74 miles), and the Drumlin Trail (0.75 mile). However, due to erosion, the Bluff Trail remains closed this year. Since viewing the bluffs from above is not a safe option, the best place to view them is from the shore.
There is also access to the park trails from East Bay Rd., though it requires a combination of stairs and a hill-climb that’s taken my breath away on several occasions! So if you’d like to hike the trails, my advice is to park at the State Park where the trail-heads are level. The park has tables for picnicking, though they are in complete sun. There is a beautiful view of Lake Ontario and the Bluffs from afar, but you cannot access the water from here.
More information about Chimney Bluffs State Park
- Cost: $5 vehicle fee, paid for using a kiosk, collected April 1 – October 31
- Located in Huron, roughly 60 minutes / 50 miles from Rochester (directions to the State Park or to the parking lot at the end of East Bay Rd.)
- More information: nysparks.com
123 Day Trips
from Rochester, NY