Best Outdoor Destinations in Syracuse, NY

Syracuse, New York offers an abundance outdoor adventures. Located in a dense area of lakes and nearby state parks, Syracuse provides activities that range from cross-country skiing, to hiking trails to waterfalls. Be sure to take time out of your weekends to visit one of these beautiful destinations near Syracuse.

Highland Forest

Take on over 20 miles of trails by foot or on horseback to experience the natural beauty of Central New York in Onondaga County’s oldest park. Highland Forest features activities year round, including cross country skiing during the winter, and horseback riding from May to October. Bring your dog along on your next hike, or even take a sleigh ride this winter through the stunning forest. No matter what you love about the outdoors, there’s something here for everyone.

Onondaga Creekwalk

For those with slightly less experience hiking in the woods, the Onondaga Creekwalk offers a relaxing hiking path that follows alongside a beautiful river in Central New York. Currently extending 2.6 miles through downtown Syracuse, this walk is safe at any time of the year and even features trail lights for safety and visibility. The trail begins in the historic Armory Square district and extends down to the southern shore of Onondaga Lake. Check it out to see some beautiful and historic sections of the town.

Green Lakes State Park

Green Lakes State Park features two glacial lakes, with a surrounding upland forest. It’s home to over 15 miles of trails for hikers and cross country skiers, and it even includes an 18 hole golf course. In the winter, snowshoeing is allowed on the golf course so the whole family can have fun. The park’s lakes are stunning, and both are meromictic lakes, which means the surface-level and deep waters don’t mix. Green Lakes is home to many plant species and animals, inlcuding many tree varieties like sugar and red maple, beech, and bitternut hickory that change foliage in the fall.

Beaver Lake Nature Center

Located just northwest of Syracuse, this 182 acre area has over 9 miles of trails, and over 400 annual programs. This incredibly biodiverse area is home to over 200 species of birds and over 800 species of plants. Featuring a 200 acre lake for canoeing and kayaking, as well as trails for cross country skiing, this lake is a great destination to bring outdoor equipment. The center even offers wellness programs and nature activity programs.

Tinker Falls

Located just southeast of Syracuse, Tinker Falls may offer one of the most picturesque waterfall scenes throughout Central New York. This waterfall is within the Labrador Hollow State Preserve and only requires a short hike to reach. The waterfall is about 80 feet tall overall, with a few landing areas for the water. This part can be seen year round, so if you love the sound of a rushing waterfall, you won’t have to travel far.

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