Discover Breathtaking Great Lake Views At This New York State Park

The Great Lakes are renowned for their beautiful waterfront views that rival even some of the most famous tropical seascapes. To discover breathtaking Great Lake scenery that is one-of-a-kind, make the drive to Chimney Bluffs State Park.

Located in the Finger Lakes Region of northern New York, just an hour away from the bustling city of Rochester, Chimney Bluffs State Park is sprawled over 597 acres of land. The serene park borders the southern shore of Lake Ontario, just slightly east of Sodus Bay. What makes Chimney Bluffs State Park so unique are the rock spires that tower above the freshwater shoreline. These 150-feet tall, chimney-like structures formed thousands of years ago during the last ice age, chiseled over time due to erosion caused by weather and waves. Beyond these massive rocky landmarks, Chimney Bluffs has untouched sand dunes, forested marshes, thriving scrublands, and a rocky beachfront that are home to many species of birds, native plants, frogs, and snakes. The state park is truly one of New York's most magnificent outdoors destinations.

Nature trails with impeccable views

Chimney Bluffs State Park boasts miles of easy-to-moderate nature trails the hikers can explore, with each path offering unmatched views of the lake and shoreline. The Chimney Bluffs Trail is a well-traveled route in the park, and for good reason: The 2.9 mile, out-and-back trail weaves through the rough terrain of the park, giving you a bird's eye view of Lake Ontario as the trail follows along the cliff's edge. From the sandy slopes, you can observe the pristine waters of Lake Ontario in the distance. The shallow waters of the lake often appear to be vibrant blue and green in color, before transforming into a vivid blue as the water deepens. After traversing the Bluff Trail, you can make the .75-mile hike to Garner Point, which leads through the park's marshes before arriving at a stunning observation point.

If you're planning to wander the dramatic landscapes of the state park, save a copy of the official Chimney Bluffs Trail Map on hand. Moreover, be sure not to stray from marked paths, and heed any safety precautions. In recent years, erosion has chipped away at parts of the trails, creating dangerous conditions in some areas and causing the trail to close at times. While your furry friend is welcome in the state park, pets are not allowed on the bluff trail for their own safety.

Sightseeing by the waterfront

If you want to forgo the ascent up to the earthen spires, you can still meander down to the Chimney Bluffs shore to immerse yourself in the striking landscape. The multi-colored pebble beach is interspersed with playful rock cairns, as well as large pieces of driftwood. While there is no swimming allowed within Chimney Bluffs State Park, it does have a hand launch area for kayaks and canoes for water dwellers to soak up the peaceful panoramas while actually being in the water. (If you're determined to take a dip in Lake Ontario, Sodus Point Beach Park is a mere twenty minutes away.) Not to mention, during the winter when snow blankets the coastal landscape and lake, outdoorsy travelers can set off on a cross-country skiing or snowshoeing adventure near the shore. The unusual yet breathtakingly intriguing Chimney Bluffs State Park is a must-visit Northeastern destination for nature lovers.