Hemlock Lake

Hemlock Lake: One of New York’s 11 Finger Lakes

Hemlock Lake in Livingston County is the most undeveloped and pristine of the Finger Lakes, and just 45 minutes from Rochester.

As a source of drinking water for the City, the DEC protects the lake and its tributaries, making this forever-wild, tranquil landscape the perfect place to unwind.

Hemlock Lake
Hemlock Lake
Hemlock Lake
Hemlock Lake
Hemlock Lake


Relax at Hemlock Lake Park on the north shore, where you’ll also find a boat launch for both mechanical and non-mechanical vessels.

St Michaels Mission

Enjoy a drive around the entire lake in 30 minutes. Make sure to drive along Mission Road to St. Michael’s Mission. You could spend the night there, too. You’ll find Eagle Crest Vineyards right down the road.

Hemlock Lake
Robs Trail Nature Conservancy
Robs Trail walking sticks

Walking Trails

There are a few hiking trails around the lake, including one that starts on East Lake Road. Drive down 3 minutes and the road ends at a gate with a parking lot. You can walk the haul road along the lake shore. This is part of the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest.

Access Rob’s Trail from a parking lot on NY-15A. This trail connects Hemlock and Canadice Lake.

The woodlands surrounding both lakes are “old-growth forest,” meaning that these trees have not been cut down by early cottagers and replanted.

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The Darkest Sky

Hemlock Lake Park is a favorite among night-sky photographers. Free from light pollution from the city and absence of lakeside residents, it the perfect spot to observe the Universe and the Milky Way.

Hemlock Lake

More Information about Hemlock Lake

45 minutes from Rochester – MAP

Note: Because the lake is a drinking water reservoir, there is no swimming.

Rochester is surrounded by fresh water on all sides, but these Finger Lakes are higher in elevation than the City, and easier to protect. Engineers were able to utilize gravity to reduce the cost and complexity of piping the water 25 miles to Rochester’s local reservoirs along the Pinnacle Range.

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Where is your favorite spot on Hemlock Lake?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!


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COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.

Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.