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New York State Parks

Chenango
Valley

 

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Chenango Valley State Park is an ice age wonder.  The two lakes in the park, Lily Lake and Chenango Lake are kettle lakes that were created when the last glacier retreated and left behind huge chunks of buried ice which melted to form the lakes, and bog. Hikers can enjoy pleasant walks around each of the lakes as well as other trails located in the park.  There are nearly 15 miles of trails in the park.

Fishermen will find trout, bass, perch and bullhead in Chenango Lake. Campers can choose from among 185 campsites and 24 cabins and golfers can enjoy the 18 hole golf course. Ice skating, sledding and cross-country ski trails can be enjoyed by visitors in winter.

There are numerous short trails in the park, the longest of which is only 2 miles in distance. Choices of trails include walking through a bog, across a glacial ridge, and a self-guided nature trail.  The Edge Trail is Handicapped Accessible. You can hike around Lily Lake, Chenango Lake or choose many other trails.  Check out the Chenango Valley Trail Map from the NY State Parks website.

We noticed that the trails we hiked are not very well marked, so be sure you print the Chenango Valley Trail Map and bring it with you when you explore this beautiful place. We hiked the Lily Lake Loop and the Chenango Lake Loop.  Go to the NY State Parks website for more info on this park.

Here are some info on these two very popular loop hikes in the park:

Lily Lake Loop is easily accessed from the Tween Lakes Picnic Area.  There are a couple of steep herd paths descending from the pavilion to the main Lily Lake Trail.  The best way to access the loop is from the service road leading from the parking area.  Take the dirt road and then turn left on another dirt road that descends toward the lake.  When you reach close to the lake you'll see the well worn trail.  A sign points to go left, we suggest going right and do the loop counter clockwise.

When the trail reaches the golf course, turn left on the paved cart path and soon after turn left off the cart path prior to ascending to the tee.  Remember to stay on the Lily Lake Trail when you pass the two steep herd paths that lead up to the pavilion.  At the second junction you'll need to turn left.  When you reach the service road is when you leave the Lily Lake Trail and ascend back to the Tween Lake Picnic Area.  This easy loop is 1.8 miles.

Chenango Lake Loop is best accessed from the beach parking area.  The hardest part of this easy hike is making sure your on the right path to continue the loop.  The first tough spot is just past the "bat house" where a trail goes left over a bridge.  This trail, although close to the lake, dead ends on a peninsula.  You'll see the remains of the bridge that once crossed back to the loop trail.

Later there is an unmarked junction where you'll need to veer left and left again to head to the shore of the lake at a point where there are two grills.  From here the trail crosses a bridge, although we recommend heading along the stream a short distance to a bridge into a bog to explore.  There are numerous blow downs that end the trail on the bridge (2010).  Check it out and head back to cross the stream on the bridge.

From here you'll want to follow the herd path along the lake.  The trail will become more well defined as you continue around the lake.  The park really could use some markings on the trails to cut back on all the herd paths being created probably because no one knows exactly where the trail is.  Some paint on the trees shouldn't break any budgets.

The trail ends up near the boat rental area and it's pretty easy to get back to the beach parking area from here.  This easy hike is a total of 2.1 miles.  Check out both loops for a pleasant 3.9 mile hiking adventure in the park.  We have videos of both hikes below.

 

Hiking Trails at Chenango Valley State Park

Bog Trail (0.4 miles) - This trail travels into a bog near Chenango Lake.  The trail starts in the Sunset Picnic Area, meets the Chenango Lake Trail then travels along a stream past the bog and ends at the park road near the Cabin Spur Road.  The start of the Cabin Trail is across the road.

Cabin Trail (0.8 miles) - This trail starts off the park road at the cabin spur road and travels near the Cabin Colony Sites 1-19.  The Cabin Trail ends where it meets the Sylvan Trail & Gully Trail.

Chenango Lake Trail (1.6 miles) - This is the parks most popular trail.  This wide trail travels around the lake, however 'officially' it doesn't go completely around the lake.  The trail stops short of the swimming area and boat rental area, although you can still walk through the area to complete the loop.

Decline Trail (0.2 miles) - This is an interior trail that starts and ends off the Sylvan Trail.

Easy Out Trail (0.3 miles) - This interior trail is located in the northern section of the park and travels between Marshman Trail and the Outer Limits Trail.

Edge Trail (0.4 miles) - This accessible trail travels from the park road near the Oak Island Picnic Area to the Pine Grove Picnic Area.

Forgotten Trail (0.6 miles) - This trail runs parelel to the main park road from near the main gate to the spur road for the Pine Grove Picnic Area. 

Gully Trail (0.1 miles) - This short trail travels from the Tween Lakes Picnic Area to the Sylvan Trail.

Lily Lake Trail (1.5 miles) - This trail travels around Lily Lake and can be accessed from the Tween Lakes Picnic Area.  This is a very popular trail.  The trail does pass through one of the holes of the park golf course.

Link Trail (0.1 miles) - This short trail 'links' the Sylvan Trail as it makes its loop around the Log Jam Trail and Rocky Road Trail.  We're not sure why the park didn't just keep this part of the trail as the Sylvan Trail.  The park map from the NY State Parks website list this trail at 0.8 miles, its not.

Log Jam Trail (0.2 miles) - This short interior trail travels from the Sylvan Trail to the Marksman Trail.

Marksman Trail (0.5 miles) - This trail travels from Pigeon Hill Road to the park boundary near the Chenango River.

Oak Island Trail (0.4 miles) - This trail loops around Oak Island from the Chenango Lake Trail near where the 'bat house' is.

Outer Limits Trail (0.2 miles) - This interior trail is off the power line trail in the far northern part of the park.

Power Line Trail (0.8 miles) - This interior trail is actually a loop trail in the far northern part of the park.

Ridge Trail (0.8 miles) - This interior trail travels from the western part of the Sylvan Trail to the Power Line Trail.

River Road Tow Path (1.7 miles) - This trail follows the old River Road and canal tow path. 

Riverside Mountain Trail (0.3 miles) - This trail travels from the River Road Tow Path along the Chenango River and climbs to the Ridge Trail.

Rocky Road Trail (0.3 miles) - This interior trail travels from the Sylvan Trail to the Easy Out Trail.

Sylvan Trail (2.0 miles) - This is the longest trail in the park.  The trail starts from the Tween Lakes Picnic Area the after a while splits to create a lollipop loop.

Woodland Trail (0.3 miles) - This trail begins in the Sunrise Picnic Area and descends to the Chenango Lake Trail just north of the Oak Island Trail.

Directions

 

I-88 to exit 3, (Port Crane/Chenango Valley State Park) turn north onto NY 369, 4 miles to Chenango Valley State Park. Located 12 miles from Binghamton.

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Lily Lake Loop Trail

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Exploring Chenango Valley State Park

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Campsite at Chenango Valley State Park

 

 

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