Experience Joy In The Outdoors | Cayuga Lake

Living in the Finger Lakes Region of New York has many benefits. For me the most rewarding aspect of living in the Finger Lakes Region is access to so much outdoor options. Beautiful nature scenes and a variety of different ways to enjoy being outside. A big part of this is obviously due to the Finger Lakes themselves. Cayuga Lake and its surrounding areas might just be the epitome of what I enjoy most about where I live.

Cayuga Lake and its surrounding landscape provide so many different ways to get outside and enjoy life. Much of this is possible to due access to public lands. Along the shoreline of Cayuga Lake there are three different local public parks; Stewart Park, Myers Park, and Cass Park. As you circle Cayuga Lake you will also discover the joys of three different state parks; Long Point State Park, Cayuga Lake State Park, and Taughannock Falls State Park. The southern end of Cayuga Lake also features two beautiful trails; the Black Diamond Trail and the Cayuga Waterfront Trail.

Long exposure of Cayuga Lake from Cayuga Lake state Park.

If you have read other posts on my blog you are likely aware that I love dogs. The Cayuga Lake area is also home to the Ithaca Dog Park. I would spend a lot more time at this park with our dogs if we lived closer. But, anytime we have an opportunity to bring our dogs with us up to Ithaca we try to stop by the dog park and have some fun with our dogs. Not only is it a great opportunity for us and our dogs I always enjoy seeing other dogs and watching people interact with their dogs.

Exploring Cayuga Lake

The north end of Cayuga Lake is home to one of my favorite natural areas, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. I love to watch and photograph birds. If I am going out on a dedicated birding trip this is my number one destination. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge provide a variety of habitat. This variety of habitat allows for it to be a well-used area for birds to congregate during migration or year round.

Muddy waters at Myers Park in Lansing, New York.

I love state parks in general but Taughannock Falls State Park is one of my favorites. This park hosts one of the most easily accessible hiking trails leading to one of the most majestic scenic views at the base of a 200+ foot tall waterfall. There is also a large section of the park the provides scenic views, picnic spaces, and fields for play all along the shoreline of Cayuga Lake.

The Black Diamond Trail has been home to local races in the Cayuga Lake area. The Cayuga Waterfront trail is also a great place for running. Any visit to the Cayuga Waterfront Trail is likely to include seeing multiple people out for a run. Thanks to events put on my the Finger Lakes Running Club I have even been one of those runners on the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. The Finger Lakes Runing club holds their Winter Chill 5k race series in January on the Cayuga Waterfront Trail starting and ending at Cass Park. And the Finger Lakes Running Club used a section of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail as one of their courses for their FLRC Challenge event.

Gulls perching on a log along the shoreline of Cayuga Lake at Myers Park.

Enjoy the lake from the land

I don’t often get out on the waters of the lake, but I love the majestic scenery that the lake provides. Being near the waters of Cayuga Lake from any of the points I have mentioned in this post provide so many different opportunities for my photography. Photographing this lake at different times and different locations can provide unending opportunities for me to hone my craft.

Cayuga Lake is a great environment for wildlife. It is also a great place for people to visit and commune with nature in whatever way moves them. If you haven’t had a chance to visit Cayuga Lake pick a few of the places I mentioned here and go check it out. You won’t regret it.

Willow tree branches blowing in the wind along Cayuga Lake at Stewart Park in Ithaca, New York.

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