Fall is one of the best times of the year to get out and enjoy a hike. The beautiful fall colors alone are enough to draw you outside and you don’t have to pack sunscreen or worry about pesky mosquitoes. Yet, looking for the perfect place to hike can be a challenge. It often requires much researching, asking friends, looking up park maps, and making sure you have the right directions. In order to make your fall hike a little easier, I’ve done the grunt work for you. Here are a couple local parks, perfect for a sunny afternoon of hiking in the Syracuse area.
7671 Pratt's Falls Road
Manlius, NY 13104
This beautiful park is 25 minutes outside the City of Syracuse. A part of the Onondaga County park system, Pratt’s Falls features the county’s first operational mill built in 1796. As the name suggests, a large waterfall is the main feature of the park, but the hiking paths are just as impressive. Ideal for all kinds of hikers, these trails have optional loops built into them allowing you to choose the duration and intensity of your hike. After your hike, you can have lunch at one of the shelters and play Frisbee in the adjacent lawn. If you don’t have the afternoon, visit for a quick, autumn picnic. The pond situated just inside the park entrance is the perfect place for an afternoon lunch. All of these features combine to make it the perfect day trip especially with an admission price of just one dollar per car!
Clark Reservation State Park
6105 East Seneca Turnpike
Jamesville, NY 13078
A little closer to home at just over 10 minutes outside of Syracuse, Clark Reservation is one of the most diverse parks in the area. This park features a glacially formed lake (aptly named Glacier Lake), rocky overhangs, and beautiful stands of trees. The Cliff Trail offers an aerial view of the lake below and leads to the forested and meadow areas of the park. The fall colors in these areas do not disappoint, filling the normally green valley with reds, yellows, and oranges. The trails around the lake are at times difficult to navigate, but the scenery surrounding the lake is well worth the trouble. If you’re lucky, you can also spot bright orange salamanders in the swamp area on the Lake Trail. The exciting wildlife and beautiful scenery isn’t all the park has to offer, there are plenty of amenities are available as well. Nature tours often leave from the park office, the newly constructed playground offers fun for all ages, and fishing is allowed in Glacier Lake. This park is also affordable at only four dollars per vehicle on weekends and free the rest of the week.
Now that you know some of the best parks in the area, be sure to get out and enjoy them before winter comes and you’re stuck indoors for the next four months.