Sunday, November 27, 2022

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Finger Lakes National Forest Camping

Morgan Hill State Forest

Van camping and hiking in the Finger Lakes National Forest

The 5,284-acre Morgan Hill State Forest remains the destination of choice for more serious hikers, backpackers, and those who want an extra challenge. In addition to backcountry camping, there is a lean-to as well as twelve roadside tent campsites near Spruce Pond. Camping here is free but requires a permit through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservations Cortland office.

South Half Of The Green Mountain National Forest

Note: You must zoom in to see individual roads on above interactive map. Campsite locations were added by hand-digitizing and are not exact.

Branch Pond Road: Several sites on this road off of Kelley Stand offer good camping opportunities.

Forest Road 71: This forest road stretches from the old Somerset airfield to the Kelley Stand Road. Campsites can be found in various spots along the way, and along some of the forest roads leading off of Forest Road 71.

Forest Road 74: This forest road is a little less remote than other roadside camping opportunities. Off Vermont Route 9, it dead-ends a couple miles in. Campsites are found unevenly spaced along the way. This area fills up early as its one of most accessible.

Kelley Stand Road: Connects the towns of Arlington to West Wardsboro, traveling along an unpaved forest road. A handful of campsites are avaliable on this road, many of the sites along Roaring Brook are permanetly closed.

Old Job: Off Forest Road 30 there are a few camping opportunities an open area along FR 30, and both an open field area and a site near Lake Brook at the end of FR 30.

Somerset Airfield Campground is a small primitive campground along Forest Road 71. There is a pit-privy and fireplaces in this field camping area. Also popular is Castle Brook Road, near the Deerfield River. This area fills up early, and is known for rowdy crowds but is good if you have a big camper.

Activities In Finger Lakes National Forest

The Finger Lakes National Forest lies on a ridge, or backbone, between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. As such, there is a wide diversity of terrains within the boundaries of the park. The over 30 miles of trails traverse gorges, ravines, pastures, and woodlands. Here visitors will see many types of native grasses and shrubs as well as areas of old-growth forest. Among the animals that can be seen are white-tailed deer, beavers, bobcats, and red foxes. Other popular activities in the Finger Lakes National Forest include hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and biking.

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Excelsior Glen Falls Trail

This moderately trafficked out-and-back trail is located near Burdett, NY. It features three beautiful waterfalls and is wonderful for bird watchers and for nature trips. The third waterfall is the most impressive. The trail may be hiked from March through November, but the waterfalls are best appreciated in the spring.

Length: 1 mile

Things to Do

Amazing Places To Camp In The Finger Lakes Region Of New York

Finger Lakes National Forest

New Yorks Finger Lakes region is the ideal location to spend a few days camping. It is always exciting when you find a place to camp that exceeds your expectations and we found this region to be one of them.

Where is the Finger Lakes Region? The Finger Lakes region is in New York State and covers over 9,000 square miles. Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates counties make up the area. Eleven long narrow lakes give the region its name.

The names of the lakes that are included in the area are: Canadice, Canandaigua, Cayuga, Conesus, Hemlock, Honeoye, Keuka, Otisco, Owasco, Seneca and Skaneateles.

This diverse area has a national forest, state parks, wineries, waterfalls, gorges, shopping, arts & culture. It is a playground for outdoor recreational activities.

The only mistake we made when going there was not planning enough days to fully explore the area!

There are so many fantastic things here that it is hard to know where to start. So the first obvious thing I wanted to know when researching the area was is there a place for us to van camp?

It seems like no matter where you go in the Finger Lakes region there is a multitude of locations to camp. For further information on choosing the right campground read our post here.

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Camping In State Parks

A number of State Parks offer camping and can be a great option for your budget friendly stay in the Finger Lakes. Letchworth State Park and Watkins Glen State Park, ranked the 1st and 3rd best State Park in the country respectively by USA Today, offer camping. Spend the night at the campsite and then hike through their award winning trails during the day.

Wildlife In The Finger Lakes National Forest

Nature lovers have the opportunity to view all sorts of wildlife at the Finger Lakes National Forest. All sorts of animals through the National Forest include red fox, beavers, white-tail deer, bobcats, raccoons, coyotes, bats, many species of snakes, wild turkeys, wood ducks, as well as a multitude of birds. Bird watchers can get the treat of spotting a wide variety of birds such as American kestrels, northern goshawk, Henslows sparrow, northern harrier, bobolink, scarlet tanager, ruffed grouse, yellow warbler, and Eastern towhee.

The ponds and streams are full of fish, and amphibians, such as frogs and salamanders. When we last visited, we saw some of the most enormous tadpoles that Ive seen. The water in the ponds is so clear, you can see straight to the bottom.

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Camping In The Finger Lakes: 10 Top Campgrounds In The Region

Camping in the Finger Lakes: 10 top campgrounds

Whether you prefer the comforts of an RV or to rough it in a tent, the Finger Lakes is home to privately-owned facilities, some offering “resort-style” camping, and state parks that feature a more rustic feel. So, get ready to pack up the sleeping bag and some marshmallows and head to one of these campgrounds.

Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort

Hickory Hill offers a variety of camping options from tent sites to cabins, cottages, lodges and full-service campsites. There’s also a Bunk House that accommodates up to 18 guests. The resort also boasts themed weekends, activities, an on-site spa and all-inclusive amenities swimming pools, a splash area, mini-golf, wagon rides and more. For those who want to stay all summer, season sites are available.

Watkins Glen State Park

At Watkins Glen State Park, visitors can view 19 waterfalls within a two-mile walk, and then spend the night at the campground, which features nearly 300 campsites and 10 cabins. The campground has hot showers, restrooms, dumping stations and firewood for sale. Campers also can swim in the Olympic-sized pool, fish in nearby Catherine Creek or Seneca Lake, enjoy a picnic or take a short drive to a member of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. There is a two-pet limit per site, and dogs must have current rabies certificate and be on a leash.

Buttermilk Falls State Park

Ontario County Park at Gannett Hill

Adventure Bound Camping Resorts: Four Winds

Other Places To Visit

Nice Day Camping at Finger Lakes National Forest

No van camping trip is complete unless you have plenty of things to do. The Finger Lakes region certainly has a lot to offer to keep you busy. We will touch on a few locations but this is by no way an exhaustive list.

Corning Museum of Glass is located at 1 Museum Way in Corning and is dedicated to all things glass. The museum sits on 10 acres and you will even find glass featured in the architecture of the buildings.

There is close to 50,000 objects in the museum collection. They have hands on exhibits, glass working demonstrations and visitors can even make their own glass.

The museum is open 7 days a week, summer hours are 9 am to 8 pm and winter hours are 9 am to 5 pm. Cost for admission is $20 for adults, 17 & under free, $17 for college students & 62+ and $10 for locals.

If you need further information to plan you visit you can contact the museum at 607-937-5371

The Strong National Museum of Play is located at 1 Manhattan Square in Rochester. This museum is the place to go if you have kids.

It has 100,000 square feet of exhibits and there are places to dine if you get hungry while doing all that playing. There is a gift shop where you can buy toys to please the kids and buy souvenirs.

The museum houses over 75,000 toy items which is the most complete to date. If you can think of your favorite toy as a child they probably have it.

Toys you will find include board games, dolls, construction sets, trains, action figures, video games and many more of your favorite toys.

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Federal Purchase Of The Land

Between 1890 and the Great Depression, over 1 million acres of farmland was abandoned in south central New York State. In the 1930s it was recognized that farmers in many parts of the country could no longer make a living from their exhausted land. Environmental damage was occurring as they cultivated the land more and more intensively to make ends meet. Several pieces of legislation were passed, including the Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933, and the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937 to address these problems. One result was the formation of a government agency, the Resettlement Administration, to carry out the new laws. This agency directed the relocation of farmers to better land or different jobs, and the purchase of marginal farmland by the Federal government. Between 1938 and 1941, over 100 farms were purchased in the area now in the National Forest. Because this was done on a willing-seller, willing-buyer basis, the resulting Federal ownership resembled a patchwork quilt. This was especially true in the Seneca County end of the Forest, where soils were more productive, and some families elected to stay. This ownership pattern still exists today.

In 1996, the property associated with the former Camp Fossenvue was added to the forest. On that property is the Queen’s Castle, a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

Green Lakes State Park

With nearly 20 miles of trails, old-growth forests, two pristine lakes, boat rentals, 137 campsites, a sandy swimming beach, and even golf courses , there are numerous ways to get outside and enjoy Green Lakes State Park for an extended visit. At the heart of the 1,955-acre park are two natural wonders: meromictic lakes a unique condition where surface waters and deeper waters do not intermix.

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What People Are Saying About Adventure Bound Camping Resorts Four Winds

This is by far the BEST campground I have been to yet. Me and my husband love going there. The manager and his wife are amazing people who are there till late hours, making sure everything is running smoothly. We always see them on the golf cart, making sure there are no problems. The pool is very well up kept, and the showers and bathrooms are very clean. I always saw someone cleaning the bathrooms or the cabins. The management at this campground is amazing, and we cant wait to be back again next year. Taylor, Google Review

Location

Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort

First hammock camping trip in the books!

Image Source:http://www.hickoryhillcampres…

Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort is a Finger Lakes, New York, campground thats located 6 miles south of Keuka Lake within Finger Lakes Wine Country. There are many wineries near the lake, and people can rent boats, paddleboards, and jet skis. It is also 20 miles north of the town of Corning, which is home to the Rockwell Museum of Art and Corning Museum of Glass.

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Youre In Wine Country

The state of New York is third in grape production in the United States. The majority of the grapes produced are of the Concord variety. The state boasts over 1,600 family-owned vineyards.

The major wine growing areas in New York are located in the Lake Erie, Long Island, Hudson River and Finger Lakes regions. The Finger Lake region has four main lakes Seneca, Canandaigua, Cayuga and Keuka that provide the perfect climate for growing grapes.

The Finger Lake region is home to over 100 wineries and over 9,000 acres of vineyards. The growing season lasts an average of 197 days.

Tours of vineyards and wineries are available. There are wine events held throughout the area all year round.

Cayuga, Seneca, and Keuka Lakes all have wine trails to offer you the opportunity to experience wine tastings that will introduce you to some new wine favorites. Plan to spend the day so you can savor your trip. Besides wineries you can also visit microbreweries and distilleries.

The area also offers fabulous choices for eating out. You will find bistros, fine dining experiences and you can even enjoy a meal at a restaurant that overlooks one of the lakes.

Adventure Bound Camping Resorts Four Winds

Image Source:http://ttps://www.facebook.co…

Adventure Bound Camping Resorts Four Winds is a 153-acre campground near Letchworth State Park and the Finger Lakes Trail. There are themed events every weekend, like Movie Weekend and Fiesta Night. The camping season runs from late April to early October.

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Why Youll Love Spruce Row Campground & Rv Park

In addition to being near Cayuga Lake and Watkins Glen Racetrack, Spruce Row features a fishing pond stocked with trout, sunfish, and bass as well as a mini-golf course, a playground, and an onsite store. The Fun Hut is a rainproof pavilion where you can enjoy group activities like cookouts, live bands, and crafts. There are also many weekend events like Hawaiian Luau Day and the Annual Pig Roast. If you dont have an RV, dont worry: You can rent one at Spruce Row.

Sugar Hill State Recreation Area

Winter Hammock Camping – Finger Lakes National Forest

Sugar Hill State Recreation Area is a place with many names often called Sugar Hill Horse Camp or Six Nations Horse Camp. Sugar Hill State Forest is the main state forest here, but really consists of a series of state forests in the region, including South Bradford State Forest, Goundry Hill State Forest, and Coon Hollow State Forest.

Blue icons represent campsites.

View Larger Map

Sugar Hill State Forest is most famous for its horse trails, but anyone is allowed to camp here. You only need a permit if you plan to stay more then 3 days, and the forest rangers here are very nice and helpful.

I like camping down at the Lower Evergreen Assembly Area , and it rarely used by equestrains except in winter when Sugar Hill Recreation Area Field Camping Area is closed. There are many roadside campsites on dirt roads scattered throughout the area. The Templar Road Campsite is a tent campsite along a branch of Zandt Creek. The Templar Road Lean-To, is a brand new lean-to, on the Finger Lakes National Forest, reserved for backpackers, or those who want to hike in about 1 mile. It is near the Zandt Creek , and is a very nice place.

Sanford Lake Recreation Area is a series of 7-tent sites along Sanford Lake. They are pretty closely spaced, and may not be mowed or maintained. Its not roadside camping.

The horse trails tend to be muddy from the horse use. The Finger Lakes Trail through Sugar Hill is segregated from the horse trails. Horse trails are blue on this map.

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Camping At Finger Lakes National Forest

Finger Lakes National Forest is one of the smallest properties managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Its the only national forest found in the State of New York. Its located in the central portion of the state, nestled within the Finger Lakes region.

The forest manages three developed campgrounds.

  • Blueberry Patch Campground accommodates tents, cars, vans, and RV. Has hookups, $15.00 a night per site, first come-first serve only.
  • Backbone Horse Campground cars, vans, and RVs are still allowed here, though there a few sites restricted to horse riders only. No hookups, $15.00 a night, first come-first serve only.
  • Potomac Group Campground for parties of 8-45 people. Reservations only.

There are other camping areas that have become popular places, but are not official campgrounds managed by the forest

  • Foster Pond Campground located around the banks of Foster Pond. Mostly for tent campers, however is a rough, narrow access road for 4WD vehicles right at the intersection of Potomac Rd and Chicken Coop Rd.

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen is probably the most famous of the parks in this region. This state park is located on the southern most end of Seneca Lake in the small town of Watkins Glen. The park entrance is right on Main Street so you cant miss it.

There is a parking charge to park in the parking lots. But on the day we were there we found free parking on the street.

You can explore all that the gorge has to offer by traversing the 3 trails Gorge Trail, Indian Trail and South Rim Trail. All these trails provide fantastic views of the park. Both the Indian and South Rim Trail go along the rims of the gorge.

If you love viewing waterfalls this is one spectacular place to visit with 19 awesome waterfalls. To enter the gorge you will pass through a manmade tunnel that was hand cut through the rock.

Gorge Trail is the best way to experience the gorge. The path winds under, over, behind and even through the spray of one of the falls. Glen Creek runs through the gorge past 200-foot cliffs.

Central Cascade is the highest waterfall in the park and plunges over 60 feet. This awe inspiring park is well worth the trip.

The hike to view the waterfalls is about two miles long and they keep the trail well maintained. But the trail can be wet and slippery in spots so make sure to wear appropriate shoes. And I hope you like steps because there are over 800 of them!

Campfire wood and ice are available.

If you are a pet owner you must have a certificate of rabies vaccination for your pet.

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