United States

Finger Lakes Region, New York

A Guide to the Best Places to Run in The Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes is a popular visitor destination, especially in summer and fall. It’s known for its 11 narrow lakes, wineries, historic towns, and many lovely roads and trails for running. Our guide to running in the Finger Lakes is organized by ‘lake area’, from east to west, with recommendations for each area. Our top three places to run in the Finger Lakes are Seneca Lake Park, the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, and the Cornell University campus. Other good multi-use trails are the Cayuga-Seneca Trail, the Outlet Trail, and the Catharine Valley Trail. It’s also fun to explore some of the quieter, open farm and vineyard roads, notably our routes in Keuka Lake and the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. For trail running that’s not too challenging, we love Sampson State Park, Robert Treman Park, the Harriet Hollister Spencer Recreation Area, and the Cascadilla Gorge Trail.

A couple of notes about running in the Finger Lakes.  Winters are severe — roads might be snowy/icy, and many trails are not maintained and/or are used for X-C skiing. Also, use our guide for the prettiest and safest areas for lakeside running, since many of the roads alongside the water don’t have water views and/or are quite busy with little shoulder.

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Finger Lakes Region, New York

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Skaneateles Lake

Finger Lakes Region, New York

One of the easternmost of the Finger Lakes. Our 10k tour of Skaneateles has pleasant waterfront sections, parks, and tree-lined streets featuring historic homes. For a quieter run on little-used dirt roads, head to Bear Swamp State Forest.
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Finger Lakes weather can vary, depending on location and ‘lake effect’ — so there are micro-climates. But generally, winters are cold and snowy, and summers are warm. The lake location means a fair bit of overcast. In summer, average temperatures are in the 80F range (26C), with cool-ish nights. Fall is gorgeous, with peak colors in mid-October. Winters are harsh, with average high temperatures just below freezing and nights in the teens or lower. Ithaca averages about 65 inches of snow annually. In winter, bring appropriate clothing and footwear.

The Finger Lakes is a major visitor destination, especially in summer and fall. All of the major areas on the lake (Ithaca, Geneva, Canandaigua, etc.) have an abundance of accommodations.

Running Stores

Finger Lakes Running Company is the one independent running store in the area.

Group Runs

Finger Lakes Running Company has group runs Tuesday nights at 6pm, and themed pub runs Friday nights. Info.

Finger Lakes Runner’s Club also hosts some group runs every other Sunday morning at Cass Park and using the Black Diamond Trail. Info.

This is a list of running events for the Finger Lakes area in 2019, but many of these events are held at similar times in other years.