Planning a trip to the Finger Lakes this summer? While there’s no shortage of incredible outdoor activities and beautiful state parks where you can bask in the beauty of your surroundings, check out the area’s iconic gorges and waterfalls, and hike, bike, or boat to your heart’s content, there’s something extra special about the Cayuga-Seneca Trail that sets it apart from its contemporaries and makes it a must-visit for anyone touring the Finger Lakes region.
All About The Cayuga-Seneca Trail
Located in Waterloo, New York the trail is currently over 5 miles long and is maintained by the Canalway Trails Association of New York. It is a flat, stone-dust trail that is perfect for both biking and hiking. Eventually, the trail is expected to expand—connecting Seneca Lake State Park with the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. Until then, however, visitors can wend their way along the meandering trail that runs along the canal that links the two largest finger lakes: Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake.
The Sights, The Sounds, The Wildlife
A perfect microcosm of the Finger Lake region itself, the Cayuga-Seneca Trail offers visitors the chance to see virtually every landscape imaginable—all in one place. Waterways such as lakes and canals; marshes teeming with life and serene woodlands; agricultural fields that represent the area’s farming, wineries, and overall plentitude; and a trail that is perfect for hiking, running, biking, or just plain strolling through a lovely unimpeded landscape. Get a glimpse of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal through the trees, and you will likely see boaters and kayakers as well.
If you’re a fan of bird watching, be sure to bring your binocs to catch a glimpse of native birds including marsh birds like heron and bitterns, and shorebirds like the spotted sandpiper, the American woodcock, and more. The trail is also dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your pooch along for the trek.
Access To The Cayuga-Seneca Trail
You can get to the trail from three different access points. The eastern end of the trail is near Lock #4 in Waterloo; the western end is in Seneca Lake State Park or at the Bishop Nature Preserve. Here, you can park in a large gravel lot (for free) and take a path connecting right to the Cayuga-Seneca Trail. Before you hit the trail, be sure to check out the 30-acre Preserve itself, as it is also a beautiful spot to see many types of habitats that are home to local flora and fauna—including brushland, forests, wetlands, and streams. If you access the trail from Lock #4 in Waterloo, the trail takes you toward Lake Seneca and terminates at SR96, near Seneca Lake State Park—where there is also plenty to see and do.
Visiting the Finger Lakes is an amazing and eclectic experience that can include everything from visiting the area’s many wineries to exploring all that nature has to offer. The best way to see the beautiful landscape at its finest, encompassing everything from lakes and forests, to brushland and wetlands, is to explore—so next time you’re in the Finger Lakes, head out to the Cayuga-Seneca Trail and make your way along the canal to see the region at its finest.