Stony Brook State Park is absolutely stunning year round, but my favorite time to visit is on a mild November day, once the crowds and heat of summer have slipped away. There have been times where we have had the park nearly to ourselves! Alternatively, early mornings before 10am are great for quiet walks in the gorge.
The Gorge Trail
The 3/4 mile long walkway 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. Stony Brook State Park is less challenging than Watkins Glen State Park, though not as awe-inspiring. It is similar to Buttermilk Falls State Park on a smaller scale. I feel it’s also much less crowded, especially with Letchworth State Park being so close by, and Sugar Creek Glen Campground right down the street. Sugar Creek Glen is less developed with not formal trails, though you are able to wade in the water. You can pay a small fee to enter even if you are not camping.
The Stone & Wooden Foot Bridges
The First Waterfall
The Second Waterfall
Stony Brook State Park Natural Swimming Pool
This is the only section of the park where swimming in the brook is allowed, when a lifeguard is on duty. Be advised, wading into the water in the gorge is not allowed and there could be fines issued for doing so.
From the NYS Parks website
“Stony Brook State Park’s terrain comprises hilly woodlands, a deep gorge with rugged cliffs overlooking three waterfalls and fascinating rock formations. Visitors can hike rim, gorge or nature trails, play tennis on park courts, or picnic. Some winter hiking is allowed, but not on the gorge or rim trails.”