Upstate New York is a haven for nature lovers with its breathtaking landscapes, stunning waterways and abundant wildlife. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a photography enthusiast or simply enjoy being immersed in nature, this region offers an endless array of outdoor adventures. Here are some of the best spots in upstate New York for nature lovers.
Letchworth State Park
Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park spans over 14,000 acres and offers picturesque views and spectacular landscapes. It is located along the Genesee River and boasts numerous hiking trails ranging from easy to challenging. There are three major waterfalls: the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. The park is open year-round, and visitors can enjoy activities such as camping, fishing and snowmobiling during the winter months.
The Catskill Mountains offer dense forests and majestic waterfalls, making this region a popular spot among tree huggers. With plenty of hiking trails, visitors can explore the incredible beauty of the mountains while enjoying fresh air and exercise. The Catskills also are home to some of the best fly fishing streams in the country. In addition to outdoor activities, there are numerous restaurants, shops and art galleries to enjoy in the towns that have sprouted up in the area.
Located 156 feet below the earth’s surface, Howe Caverns are a unique underground nature adventure in upstate New York. Guided tours are available to take you through the caverns, where you can witness unique rock formations and underground lakes. There is also a gift shop, a cafe, a zip line course and a motel on site. Howe Caverns is open year-round and hosts various special events in the winter.
One of the most famous destinations on this list, Niagara Falls is a natural wonder that draws millions of visitors each year. The massive waterfall can be seen from both the American and Canadian sides of the Niagara River, and visitors can take a boat ride to get up close and personal with the falls. The surrounding area offers a variety of activities. The Niagara region also has a lively entertainment scene with casinos, restaurants and theaters for travelers to enjoy.
Watkins Glen State Park
This sprawling park is located at the southern tip of Seneca Lake. It is famous for its stunning 400-foot gorge and cascading waterfalls. It boasts 19 falls along the winding trail that will take your breath away. Outdoors enthusiasts will enjoy the lush greenery and unique rock formations found throughout the park. Activities, like camping, fishing and boating, are also available, making it a great place to visit for an extended period.
Saratoga Spa State Park
Saratoga Spa State Park is known for its natural mineral springs and classical architecture. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the park, which has a unique history and many natural attractions to admire. The park also offers a variety of activities, such as golfing, ice skating, hiking and picnicking. Saratoga Spa State Park is a great place to relax and enjoy the magnificence of nature and American architecture.
A historic village nestled within the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is renowned for its beauty and excellent outdoor activities. The village has hosted two Winter Olympics and has a museum dedicated to the events. Skiing is undoubtedly the most popular activity during the winter months. In warmer seasons, visitors can hike through the Adirondack Mountains, enjoy the lakes or try their hand at bobsledding. The village is also known for shopping with its trendy boutiques and art galleries.
The Finger Lakes are a group of 11 long, skinny lakes in upstate New York, surrounded by rolling hills and deep gorges. The region is known for its wineries, and visitors can explore numerous vineyards. The scenery also is ideal for hiking or biking, and the lakes are famous for their fishing. The Finger Lakes region is a great place to visit year-round with ice fishing and other winter activities available throughout the winter months.