Outdoor Adventure

Sure you’ve hiked, biked, floated, fished, hunted or golfed in many a wide-open space. But, have you ever mined for diamonds or strolled along the canal that shaped American history?

You can only find those Herkimer diamonds here and Central New York’s 98-plus miles of the Erie Canal offer endless options for adventure whether you’re walking, cycling or cruising.

Dive deep below the Earth’s surface as you head to Schoharie County for a legendary cave tour at Howe Caverns. Wind through mysterious limestone corridors, cavernous twists and turns and dripping stalactites.

85 Scenic Miles of Americana

History and natural beauty collide throughout the region, which includes more than a dozen outdoor state and national historic sites and miles of trails. Long-distance hikers love the view from Vroman’s Nose in Mine Kill State Park. The popular loop connects with the 350-mile Long Path Trail, which begins in New Jersey’s Palisades and ends near Albany.

Central New York counties host their own hidden gems like the rushing waterfalls of Chittenango Falls or the Landis Arboretum in Esperance.

Paddle board or kayak on serene Otsego Lake, also known as the Glimmerglass of great American author James Fenimore Cooper’s legendary novels. Like Cooperstown, you don’t have to travel outside of city limits to get into the water. Amsterdam’s Mohawk River water front blends the best of the area’s natural, historic and urban views, especially in fall.

Grab your tackle box and cast out from the banks of Cazenovia Lake and catch a few largemouth bass, yellow perch and bluegrill fish. You can even head to Oneida Lake where shanty rentals and guides are available for ice fishing.

184,500+ Acres of Wilderness

You’ll find well over 184,500 acres’ worth of outdoor bliss – including hunting – in Central New York, with access to some 187,391 more acres of wilderness in neighboring regions. The rolling hills of the 3,737-acre Tioughnioga Wildlife Management Area in Madison County make it a great spot to take whitetail deer, turkey and grouse.

Explorers can do some hard-core camping in many of these woodland sanctuaries or make reservations for one of Central New York’s 3,500-plus public and private campsites. Greenwood Park in Binghamton provides not only a great place to set up camp, but also the perfect destination for a family picnic or a game of beach volleyball.

Our villages, towns and cities offer dozens more peaceful parks and pathways ideal for picnicking or late afternoon strolls. Chenango Valley State Park provides a great place to swim and hike in the summer and cross-country ski and snowshoe in the winter. You’ll be amazed by the beauty that winter brings to Central New York.

200+ Bird Species

Central New York teems with watchable wildlife, even in its urban centers. Utica is home to a 213-acre wildlife management area, which begins within city limits and where visitors might catch a glimpse of more than 160 bird species. Just to the north, the Rome Sand Plains hosts the rare frosted elfin butterfly each spring.

You can even add some culture to your expedition at the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park near the lovely lakeside village of Cazenovia. One of the first of its kind in the country, Stone Quarry spreads 100 works of art over 104 captivating acres.

For those who do their walking on the greens, Central New York hosts more than 60 courses, including the historic Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown. Some courses are designed by legendary architects, many of them highly rated by the nation’s premier golf publications and all of them the perfect place to spend a morning.

98 Miles of Paddling, Biking, and Hiking

No matter which activity you choose, where you go or when you do it, you’ll find there’s more to the great outdoors in Central New York.

So, let’s get some boots on the ground, spokes on the road and paddles in the water. Wet a line, take aim or tee up. Craft your own adventure in Central New York.

Activities

man with a backpack biking

Biking

Quiet country roads, rugged trails and paved paths wait to greet cyclists on any sunny morning, warm afternoon or purple-skied evening in Central New York. Perhaps you’re craving a cruise along the canal or just need a comfortable shoulder to ride on. Mountain bikers can put the pedal to their mettle, making epic climbs that earn breathtaking views.

With a 36-mile segment of the Erie Canalway Trail, 85-mile stretch of historic U.S. Route 20 and endless off-road options in more than 100 state parks and lands, Central New York is the picturesque place for cyclists to do it all. Madison County is a true cyclotourism destination with hundreds of miles to explore. Cooperstown and Otsego County offer several loops ideal for long rides.

Come along for the ride of your life in Central New York, where cyclists capture a unique perspective of the stunning outdoor beauty, classic Americana and tasty attractions that make the region a destination.

Bike through Central New York and experience history and scenic landscapes with Path Through History trails.

Family camping by a lake

Camping

After a day of fun at Central New York attractions, in the great outdoors or on the water, there’s still plenty to see … our stars! When you’re surrounded by this kind of serene beauty, nothing beats relaxing by a bonfire and stargazing to cap off a busy afternoon of outdoor adventure.

Camping in Central New York ranges from RVs and cabins to tents and lean-tos. Gilbert Lake State Park is a hiker’s delight with 12 miles of trails in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Chenango Valley State Park is another great camping destination that provides the perfect place to have a picnic, go for a swim, hike and bike. 

Family-friendly Delta Lake State Park is a popular summer destination as is Verona Beach State Park, where you can unwind with a sunset after a busy day in the sand.

If traditional campgrounds aren’t your thing, you can always make your own. Many of Central New York’s 144 state forests and preserves allow wilderness camping, some with the “luxury” of lean-tos for hardcore hikers.

Whether you pitch it, park it or rough it, making camp in Central New York puts plenty of unique experiences nearby.

Man fishing in Delta Lake

Fishing

If you’re Central New York fishing story feels a little off, it’s probably because you’re telling the truth. Complete with flowing streams, calm rivers and great lakes, the region produces the trophy fish you’ve been longing to catch.

All types of anglers are attracted to Herkimer County, where West Canada Creek supports a bevy of brown trout and the unique Fulton Chain of Lakes includes an impressive variety of species.

Otsego Lake, one of Central New York’s largest, is famous for being the inspiration behind James Fenimore Cooper’s fictional Glimmerglass. But it’s also well-known for fantastic lake trout, walleye and bass fishing.

 The 50,894-acre Oneida Lake has hosted Bassmaster and Fishing League Worldwide tournaments. It earns its reputation as one of the best walleye and perch harvests in the region year after year.

Broome County contains 50 miles of trout streams and 89 miles of warm water rivers and streams, including the fishing-friendly Chenango River in Binghamton.

Golf in Cooperstown

Golfing

It’s time to treat yourself to a few rounds in Central New York, home to legendary links the pros love. We’ve hosted some of the game’s greatest, including Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

Today’s pros play Endicott’s En-Joie Golf Club each year during the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. The PGA also pays a visit to Turning Stone Resort & Casino and The Links at Hiawatha Landing.

Famed course architects Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones and Michael Hurdzan helped shape a Central New York golf landscape that regularly earns high ratings and rankings in Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf Magazine.

Historic holes grace the rustic Adirondack setting of Thendara Golf Club as well as the stunning lakeside Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown.

You’ll need a few days to chip away at Central New York’s 60-plus places to play a great round. Schedule a tee time and see why pros and top publications consider Central New York courses on par with the best in the country.

Scenic view of fields

Hiking

State parks and preserves provide a beautiful backdrop to the towns and villages that live among the rolling hills and breathtaking vistas here in Central New York. But, with more that 184,500 acres of state land, these nature havens hardly take a backseat. Outdoor enthusiasts can take their pick of more than 350 miles of trails and use many as gateways to hundreds, even thousands, of miles more.

The Long Path Trail stretches some 350 miles from metro New York City to the Adirondacks. Two of its most popular miles reside near Vroman’s Nose near Middleburgh, which provides scenic views of Schoharie County from the top of steep cliffs.

Many of New York’s state lands allow ultra-rustic camping, making Central New York a backpacker’s paradise. We recommend roughing it in Madison County, where the Brookfield Railroad and Beaver Creek state forests account for a combined 4,332 acres and 130 miles of trails. An early focus of the state’s reforestation efforts of the 1930s, Chenango County is now home to a robust 63,700-plus acres of state land.

For the slightly less adventurous, the Chuctanunda Creek Trail brings a little outdoors to the urban setting of Amsterdam. The bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly trail that includes waterfalls, bridges and dams. 

No matter which activity you choose, where you go or when you do it, you’ll find there’s more to the great outdoors in Central New York.

Man hunting with his dog

Hunting

With vast state lands and an abundance of favorite targets like deer, turkey, pheasant, grouse and bear, Central New York aims to please hunters. Head to McDonough State Forest for the day or take a trip to Tioughnioga Wildlife Management Area for big and small game hunting.

There’s plenty of space to trek through Chenango County, home to 32 state lands. The 6,353-acre Five Streams State Forest and 5,816-acre Beaver Meadow offer plenty of space for hunting and trapping.

The 2,000-acre Rural Grove State Forest in Montgomery County boasts good numbers of white-tail deer as well as beaver, muskrat, fox and coyote during their respective trapping seasons.

That’s just a sample of the beautiful landscapes of Central New York. Hunting is a great way to experience our great outdoors.

Chittenango Falls

Parks

There’s plenty to see, touch, taste, hear and smell in Central New York. But, perhaps the most important sense here is the sense of place.

From riverside promenades that provoke romantic strolls to state parks packed with trails, Central New York’s places appeal to every sense. Have a sit-down near the 80-foot Pixley Falls or unwind by the fading light of a Sylvan Beach sunset.

The 36-mile stretch of the Old Erie Canal State Park in Madison County feels like recent history next to rock formations hundreds of millions of years in the making at Chittenango Falls.

In addition to the gorgeous forests and waterways waiting for discovery in 14 New York state parks, Central New York counties and communities hide their own surprises like the Landis Arboretum near Esperance. Alternatives abound in urban areas, too. You can take a wonderful walk on the Susquehanna River Park Trail in Oneonta or catch a concert at Riverlink Park in Amsterdam.

Whether you’re soaking up some sun or basking in winter beauty, you can indulge all your senses in Central New York.

Boy with a deer at Fort Rickey

Watchable Wildlife

Furry, feathered or just plain fascinating, Central New York watchable wildlife flourishes throughout the region. Birdwatchers can revel in an astounding number of bird species that travel through the area at various points throughout the year.

At the Great Swamp Conservancy, one can see over 200 species of birds, including the Eastern bluebird, osprey, bald eagle, great blue heron, great white egret, snipe, northern shovel and various warbler species.

Camp among some 103 bird species in Chenango County at 198-site Bowman Lake State Park. Chenango County also presents the opportunity to spot a wide variety of hawks at the 4,169-acre Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area, the state’s oldest WMA.

Central New York’s 16,000-acre Rome Sand Plains Resource Management Area also offers the rare opportunity to look for spotted turtles and the endangered frosted elfin butterfly.

The nearby Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area is a unique urban wetland of 213 acres that lie mostly within the city of Utica where many different plants and animals can be observed. 

White water rafting

Water Activities

Flowing, flat, falling or cresting, the waterways that carved the profile of the Central New York landscape make it a destination for wet recreation today.

Sit beside ancient waterfalls, walk along the legendary Erie Canal or launch your canoe in a rushing river. Boat the glacial lakes of Central New York, bike the scenic watershed or wet a line in a local stream.

Paddle board or Kayak along the Mohawk River in Montgomery County and take in the scenic, outdoor beauty Central New York has to offer.

Explore Central New York’s five wondrous waterfalls, ranging in height from 50 to 167 feet. After a long day of hiking or biking, head to Delphi Falls or Chittenango Falls in Madison County to relax and unwind. Pixley Falls in Oneida County is also the perfect destination to explore and spot wildlife.

Cooperstown’s Otsego Lake has a historic identity as the fictional Glimmerglass of great American author James Fenimore Cooper’s classic Leatherstocking Tales. Otsego Lake provides a great location for fishing, boating and canoeing.

Whether paddling, boating or fishing, there are so many water activities to enjoy in Central New York.