About the Finger Lakes Trail

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”
–Henry David Thoreau

There’s something about the quietude of the woods. It rejuvenates, takes hold of your soul, and leaves an impression that you can turn to for solace, fond reflection, and escape.

Deep in the forests of New York State, the Finger Lakes Trail offers nearly 1,000 miles of that solitude so many of us seek. As the longest continuous footpath in New York State, the trail offers all abilities – whether first-time hikers or seasoned end–to–end thru-hikers – scenic traverses through eight New York State Parks, from the New York-Pennsylvania border to the edges of the Catskills and the Adirondacks.

Finger Lakes Trail History

The concept of the Finger Lakes Trail materialized in 1961 when Wallace "Wally" Wood, the founder of the Finger Lakes Trail, went on a hiking adventure in the White Mountains, traversing one of the nation’s oldest footpaths on the Appalachian Trail along the way. On his trip back home to Western New York, he reflected on his experience:

"Next morning, I took a bus to Boston and then to Rochester. Somewhere across Massachusetts this recent hiking experience, perhaps coupled with my recent reading about the Appalachian Trail and a book on the geology of the Finger Lakes, generated the idea of a hiking trail across Southern New York State." –Wally Wood, 1961

The following year in 1962, the Finger Lakes Trail Conference was officially formed. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Finger Lakes Trail Today

Since 1962, members of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference have volunteered countless efforts to maintain the vast Finger Lakes Trail network. On an annual basis, volunteers collectively log as many as 15,000 hours – and it’s thanks to their hard work and dedication that the Finger Lakes Trail is able to stretch over 958 miles across southern, western and central New York.

Over time, the trail has become increasingly interconnected to some of the largest trail networks and footpaths in the Eastern United States, including:

Several of these other footpaths are accessible via Finger Lakes branch trails. Hikers will also find a number of loop trails and spur trails along the Finger Lakes Trail. To view all of these and the entirety of the main trail, check out our interactive Finger Lakes Trail map.

Looking for more information? Contact us, consider becoming a member, or volunteer to carry on the Finger Lakes Trail legacy in New York State!