I find the color green soothing, especially when I am surrounded by it. Enjoy some of my favorite places to go green!
1. Green Lakes State Park
Green Lakes’s outstanding features are its two glacial lakes surrounded by upland forest. Both Round and Green Lakes are meromictic lakes, which means that there is no fall and spring mixing of surface and bottom waters.
Due to the sensitive nature of both Green and Round Lakes, no outside/private boats, kayaks, or canoes are allowed.
One particularly impressive grove of trees, lying immediately to the southwest of Round Lake, has been called the Tuliptree Cathedral.
2. Akron Falls
Akron Falls Park is a linear park stretching along Murder Creek, with several places to park and walk down to access the gorge trail below.
Walk a zig-zagging, paved trail down toward the creek. From there you can head right to the overlook or left and down a little more to the forest floor. Head to the right and follow the trail to the end.
Even though the fall is the main attraction, the trial is a relatively flat walk through a lush, dense forest. Perfectly peaceful.
3. Watkins Glen State Park
Glen Creek descends 400 feet along its 2-mile course through Watkins Glen. Follow the 806-step Gorge Trail over and under 19 waterfalls.
Though the park features a well-maintained walking path, it’s not an easy stroll, nor is it accessible. The gorge trail can be wet with spray (wear good walking shoes/boots and bring a pair to change into), and the majority of the walk is up 800 rock stairs if you go the entire length. The elevation rise from the Main Entrance to the Upper Entrance is 520 feet.
That said, it’s also one of the most transcending, awe-inspiring, and wondrous displays of nature’s beauty on Earth!
4. Whirlpool State Park
Spectacular views of swirling rapids, the whirlpool and the Niagara River Escarpment as well as a network of nature trails that descend into the gorge.
5. Holley Canal Falls
Holley Canal Falls, also known as Holley Falls, is located in the heart of the public square in the Village of Holley. The water that flows into the glen, merging with Sandy Creek below, is overflow from the Erie Canal.
The packed-gravel loop trail wraps around the park and connects the lower falls area to the upper canal area creating an easy hike a little over a mile long.
6. Havana Glen
The 40-foot Eagle Cliff waterfall is a very short distance from the parking lot, but not at all accessible with a tight cliff-edge trail and a few sets of stairs.
Try visiting early in the day or during the week to fully appreciate the glen and take photos of the fall and dripping, moss-covered walls.
7. Darien Lakes State Park
Darien Lake’s varied terrain includes hills, woodlands, ravines, streams and Harlow Lake. The park features campsites as well as a rustic bridge over a channel to Picnic Island.
8. Braddock Bay
The Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area is a shallow water bay-marsh complex existing in five units along the Lake Ontario shoreline, ranging from two to six miles west of Rochester.
9. Allegany State Park
The Red House Area is known for the historic tudor-style Administration Building and everything centrally located around the Red House Lake. It offers 5 miles of paved bike paths, boat and bike rentals, a sandy beach for swimming, fishing and snowmobiling.
Attractions nearby include Thunder Rocks and the Stone Tower.
10. Robert H. Treman State Park
An area of wild beauty, with the rugged Enfield Glen gorge as its scenic highlight scattered with 12 waterfalls, including the 115-foot Lucifer Falls.
It’s also one of our favorite swimming holes.
11. Skaneateles Lake
Skaneateles Lake is the only Finger Lake not connected to the Erie Canal System, and serves as the drinking water source for Syracuse.
The Village of Skaneateles is the perfect place to getaway and enjoy the pace of lake-life surrounded by unique boutiques and restaurants.
12. Harwood Lake
The lake is located on the northwestern border of the 300-acre Harwood Lake Multiple Use Area.
Fishing access is unlimited with shoreline fishing allowed around the entire lake. There is a a DEC access area located 2 miles south of the Hamlet of Farmersville Station. The site provides hand launching for car top boats and canoes with parking for 24 cars.
13. Stony Brook State Park
The 3/4 mile-long walkway through Stony Brook is a combination of shale, gravel, and stairs. Stony Brook has a similar feeling to the other Finger Lakes gorge parks while being a bit more manageable.
14. Black Creek
Black Creek originates near East Bethany, passing through Genesee Country Park & Forest, then Bergen Swamp. Take a paddle on the creek as it widens and passes through Churchville Park and Black Creek Park, emptying into the Genesee River.
15. Helmer Nature Center
The paths at Helmer Nature Center, made primarily of wood chip, boardwalk, and hard-pack gravel, are easy to navigate and clearly marked.
16. Mendon Ponds Park
Mendon Ponds is the largest Monroe County Park with 2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands and glacially created landforms.
17. MacKay Wildlife Preserve
There are interesting man-made and geologic wonders to discover at MacKay Wildlife Preserve in Caledonia, including a sea of moss-covered boulders.
18. Panama Rocks Scenic Park
Watch your footing, know your limits, and use common sense when it comes to climbing on the boulders at Panama Rocks.
19. Bergen Swamp
The Bergen-Byron Swamp encompasses diverse forest and wetland habitats that is unusually rich in plant and animal life.
The Bergen Swamp is a 10,000 year old natural ecological succession following the retreat of the glaciers. The lichens were the first organisms to grow on the barren rock left by the retreating glaciers. And yet, lichens are still found in the Bergen Swamp climax communities, long after the pioneer stage of natural succession.
It is the first ever private environmental land trust in the United States chartered as a New York State living museum, and the first such site to be designated a National Natural Landmark.
20. Oatka Creek Park
Oatka Creek Park in Wheatland is one of the more strollable in the Monroe County Park system, with little change in elevation along the 3.3 mile loop trail.
21. Durand Eastman Park
Durand Eastman encompasses 977 acres of land including Durand Lake, Eastman Lake, and a swimming beach on Lake Ontario. The arboretum is located between Zoo and Sweet Fern roads.
22. Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is the largest in New York State at 10,828 acres, not including the surrounding Oak Orchard and Tonawanda WMAs.
23. Ellison Park
Many folks with their own kayaks and canoes launch them here in Ellison Park and paddle to the bay through Lucien Moren & Tryon Park.
24. Meridian Centre
There are nature paths through Meridian Centre Park in Brighton, and an arboretum in the western part of the park with plantings and wooden arches.
The trail also connects with the Erie Canalway Trail.
25. Tinker Nature Park
Tinker Nature Park comprises 68-acres in Henrietta with a 1.2 mile flat perimeter trail for jogging, biking or walking.
There are several splinter trails that wind through the wetland areas.
26. Berry Picking
There are U-Pick farms all around the Greater Rochester Area. Often times, picking your own product is as much a family adventure as it is entertainment.
27. Highland Park
Highland Park was designed to be enjoyed year-round. Every pathway, every tree, every vista & every relationship between the land & water is intentional.
28. Jump Off Trail
The Jump Off Trail in Ontario County Park is ADA-accessible and affords one of the most beautiful scenic views in the Finger Lakes Region.
29. Webster Arboretum
Follow the pathways that meander around Webster Arboretum–40 acres of open spaces, flower & herb gardens, water elements, and a wide variety of trees.
30. Sandy Bottom Nature Park
This is a great secluded spot in the middle of the Hamlet of Honeoye in Richmond, not to be confused with the Village of Honeoye Falls in Mendon.
The nature trails extend from East Lake Road to the lake over grass paths and a series of boardwalks through the wetland area between Honeoye Creek and Mill Creek.
31. Griffis Sculpture Park
There are over 250 whimsical, fantastical, and delightful sculptures at Griffis Sculpture Park, integrated into the bucolic landscape.
Letchworth is a massive park, with plenty of places to enjoy away from high-traffic areas like Middle Falls. Look at the trail maps for secluded spots on both sides of the Genesee!
On the west side of the river there are trail heads all along Park Road, and spots less frequented north of the Castile entrance, like Wolf Creek and the beautiful Gardeau Overlook.
33. Ellwanger Estate Garden
While the Ellwanger Estate is private, the garden is maintained by the Landmark Society and is periodically open to the public for special events.
34. Honeoye Lake Inlet
You can drive around the entire lake in 30 minutes and witness an amazing view from Harriet Hollister, plus the beautiful hills from below.
35. Nations Road
Nations Road is a favorite among area photographers. Its bucolic Genesee Valley view, concentration of great oak trees, and horses in the fields make for an excellent slow drive through the countryside in any season.
It’s also where you’ll find the Genesee Valley Hunt Races in October.
These trees are even featured in the painting “Genesee Oaks” by Asher B. Durand—an American painter of the Hudson River School—which hangs in Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery. The MAG website states that he was “commissioned to paint this magnificent vista overlooking the Genesee River Valley in Geneseo, New York, by a member of the Wadsworth family, the village founders. At one time, they owned all the land from Geneseo to Rochester.”
Oak trees are so prevalent around Geneseo the APOG and Genesee Valley Conservancy have designed a self-guided scenic oak tree driving tour.
36. Marengo Marsh
Take a drive along River Road in Lyons, following the Clyde River, to enjoy this lush green space.
From the DEC website, “the primary purposes of Galen Wildlife Management Area are for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation.”
Where are your favorite green places?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!