Green Lakes State Park
|Description: Just east of Syracuse in central New York, Green Lakes has been a state park
since 1928, when the first 500 of its more than 1,785 acres were purchased.
Its most outstanding features are two nearly 200-foot-deep, blue-green glacial
lakes—Green Lake and Round Lake. The lakes are surrounded by steep forested
hills. In some areas, park terrain is gentler, with rolling hills and open fields.|
Green Lake has a popular beach, golf course, campsites, cabins and a nature
center. Round Lake is a registered National Natural Landmark, surrounded
by old-growth forests of enormous ancient hemlocks and tulip trees. Both are
meromictic lakes, meaning surface and bottom waters do not mix seasonally.
Because their sediments are undisturbed by the churn of seasonal turnover, biologists
study them to determine which plants and animals lived here thousands of
years ago. With their striking turquoise color, the lakes’ waters are an ideal backdrop
for photographing the wildlife that frequents them.
Various waterfowl, waterbirds and mammals make Green Lakes State Park their
home and are best observed from its trails. The most popular viewing is from the
shoreline trails encircling both lakes.
Wildlife to Watch: The lakes are host to flocks of noisy, migrating Canada geese and ducks, which
also nest along the lakeshore. Stately great blue herons and bossy kingfishers
hunt streams and lake shallows for fish and frogs in the warmer months. The
wooded hills hold many species of forest birds. Listen for the melodic song of the wood thrush and other songbirds in the tree canopy. Wild turkeys can be
seen and heard strutting through forest and field. Look for hawks circling overhead
or perched in trees bordering open areas.
Wary white-tailed deer may appear along the water’s edge or in meadows
at dawn or dusk. Look for woodchucks as they pop up at the grassy margins
of the woods. Red and gray foxes, as well as coyotes, are also occasionally
spotted throughout the park as they look to pounce on eastern gray squirrels
or cottontail rabbits.
Special Tips: This site has accessible
a beach and cabin
315-637-6111, 7900 Green Lakes Rd., Fayetteville, NY 13066,
Other Activities: Visitors can hike, bike, snowshoe or cross-country ski on more than 18 miles
of trails that wind around both lakes and throughout wilderness areas.
Ownership: NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Size: 1,785 Acres
Closest Town: Fayetteville
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: