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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 features, including picnic pavilions, camping, a beach and cabin areas.

315-637-6111, 7900 Green Lakes Rd., Fayetteville, NY 13066, www.nysparks.com

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

RestroomsParkingTent CampingFishingCross Country SkiingHikingVisitor CenterFeeDrinking WaterSwimmingBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

American Bittern Photo by Denise Hackert Stoner
Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
From the NYS Thruway/I-90, take exit 34A to merge onto I-481 south toward Syracuse. Take exit 3E onto NY-5 east/NY-92 east/E. Genesee St. toward Fayetteville. After 5.2 miles, turn left onto Green Lakes Park Dr.

Map Link

Green Lakes State Park : Wildlife Viewing Area