Do you need some fresh air? Are you feeling stressed? These are some of the best places in Central New York to enjoy a walk or bike ride – at a safe distance from others, of course.
- Beaver Lake Nature Center – Hoping to visit a variety of habitats on your walk? Beaver Lake Nature Center’s nine trails wind through wetlands, meadows, a bog and more.
Location: 8477 E. Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville.
More information: onondagacountyparks.com/parks/beaver-lake-nature-center.
- Baltimore Woods Nature Center – Situated on 180+ acres with plans to expand, Baltimore Woods attracts more than 20,000 visitors each year, according to its website. It offers nine trails ranging in length from 0.2 miles to 1.4 miles.
Location: 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus.
More information: baltimorewoods.org.
- Chittenango Falls State Park – Located off Route 13 in Cazenovia, the state park features 2.5 miles of hiking. Don’t forget to check out the 0.36-mile Gorge Trail, which offers scenic views of the 167-foot waterfall.
Location: 2300 Rathbun Road, Cazenovia.
More information: parks.ny.gov/parks/130.
- Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area – Covering nearly 5,000 acres, the Cicero Swamp offers plenty of opportunities for hiking. Visitors can also look for a variety of wildlife, including beavers, foxes and an endangered type of rattlesnake.
Location: There are entrances at Island Road, Route 298 and Eastwood Road.
More information: dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68681.html.
- Clark Reservation State Park – View the glacier lake from the Cliff Trail or check out Dry Lake and educational displays on the Mildred Faust Trail. The park’s grounds also include a playground, athletic fields and picnic areas.
Location: 6105 E. Seneca Turnpike,
More information: parks.ny.gov/parks/126.
- Emerson Park – Looking for an option on the west side of town? Auburn’s Emerson Park includes three miles of river and Owasco Lake views, according to tourcayuga.com, as well as a playground.
Location: 6877 E. Lake Road, Auburn.
- Green Lakes State Park – Located in Fayetteville, Green Lakes State Park is probably best known for its two meromictic lakes – Green Lake and Round Lake. But the park is also home to more than 19 miles of trails and an 18-hole golf course.
Location: 7900 Green Lakes Road, Fayetteville.
More information: ny.gov/parks/172.
- Labrador Hollow Unique Area – Sitting on the border between Onondaga and Cortland Counties, Labrador Hollow offers 4.8 miles of trails and a waterfall, Tinker Falls. You can also view the wetlands from a nearly 2,000-foot boardwalk.
Location: Labrador Road, Tully.
More information: dec.ny.gov/lands/37070.html.
- Old Erie Canal State Historic Park – Looking to take in some local history? Old Erie Canal State Historic Park stretches 36 miles from Dewitt to Rome, and visitors can stop at old aqueducts and other attractions along the way, including Green Lakes State Park.
Location: There are parking areas in each of the five sections.
More information: ny.gov/parks/olderiecanal.
- Onondaga Lake Park – Hoping to go on a bike ride? Onondaga Lake Park has two trails for that –the East Shore Recreation Trail and the West Shore Trail. All four of the park’s trails are also open to walkers.
Location: 106 Lake Drive, Liverpool.
- Pratt’s Falls Park – Did you know Pratt’s Falls was the site of a saw mill and a flour mill in the late 1700s? Like Chittenango Falls State Park, you can view the 137-foot waterfall from an observation area near the parking lot or venture down the 0.6-mile Falls Trail — but beware, you must navigate some steps along the way.
Location: 7671 Pratt’s Falls Road, Manlius.
More information: onondagacountyparks.com/parks/pratts-falls-park.
- Skaneateles Conservation Area – The Skaneateles Conservation Area is one of three such areas in Skaneateles. It includes trails, observation decks, a waterfall and more.
Location: 1898 County Road 133, Marcellus.
More information: skaak.org.