ONONDAGA LAKE PARK:

LOOP the LAKE TRAIL:

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:     September 17, 2021

Length:               Loop the Lake Trail; 10.8 miles 

                              East Shore Recreation Trail; 2.7 miles.

                             West Shore Trail; 8.1 miles.

                             Seneca River Spur; 1.2 miles

Difficulty:           Easy. Flat paved trail/road. 

Directions:     

To Start from the Onondaga Lake Park Visitor Center [Eastern side of Lake]; 

From I-90 westbound take exit 36 to Electronics Parkway and turn left. Turn right on Old Liverpool Rd. Follow to the Oswego St 5-way intersection. Turn left and head straight on S Willow St (continuing left will put you on Onondaga Lake Parkway. Turn left into the parking lot. Visitor center is too your right.   

From I-90 eastbound take exit 37 to Electronics Parkway and turn left. Turn right on Old Liverpool Rd. Follow to the Oswego St 5-way intersection. Turn left and head straight on S Willow St (continuing left will put you on Onondaga Lake Parkway. Turn left into the parking lot. Visitor center is too your right.   

To Start from the Long Branch Road parking lot [Northern End of Lake]; From I-690 take exit 4 to John Glenn Blvd. Take your first right on Long Branch Rd. The parking lot is on your right before the bridge.

To Start from the Onondaga Lake Visitor Center [Western side of Lake]; 

From I-690 westbound take exit 7, turn right at the off ramp and follow signs to the Onondaga Lake Visitors Center.

From I-690 eastbound take exit 7, turn left onto State Fair Boulevard, take the first left passing under I-690, drive straight toward the lake and follow signs to the Onondaga Lake Visitors Center.

To Start from the Destiny USA parking lot [Southern End of Lake]; 

From I-81 northbound take exit 23 to park St and turn right. First right on Hiawatha Blvd. Come to the mall on your right. Turn left on Solar St and take your first right into the parking lot. The trail is along your right, between the parking lot & Hiawatha Blvd. 

From I-81 southbound take exit 23B to Destiny USA Dr and turn left. Travel past the mall and left out to Hiawatha Blvd. Cross the Blvd to Solar St and take your first right into the parking lot. The Onondaga Creekwalk is along your right, between the parking lot & Hiawatha Blvd. The Onondaga Lake Park; Loop of the Lake shares this trail along its southern end.

Onondaga Lake Park is located on the eastern shore of Onondaga Lake outside of Syracuse. Onondaga Lake Park; Loop the Lake combines several trails: The East Shore recreation Trail travels along the eastern side of the lake and connects to the West Shore Trail which travels along the western side of the lake. The trail then utilizes the Onondaga Creekwalk along the Lakes southern shore. Currently, as of Sept 2021,  a gap exists along the southern end of the lake preventing a complete Loop of the Lake. A separate "pedestrian only" Shoreline Walking Trail also travels alongside the east side of the lake. There are many amenities in the park; Food, restrooms, rentals, picnic tables, playgrounds, sports...and a Visitor Center. A section of the West Shore Trail is also utilized as part of the Erie Canalway Trail. For more information visit; ONONDAGA LAKE PARK .

East Shore Recreation Trail:

Onondaga Lake Park; Loop the Lake

Starting from the Visitor Center; The East Shore Recreation Trail/Onondaga Lake Park; Loop the Lake begins behind the Visitor Center. Maps and restrooms located here. Head left around the center to the Onondaga Lake Parkway oval (large flagpole in the middle). The bike path utilizes this road, along with a tram. Mile markers are painted across the road every 1/4 mile starting from the 0 mile marker located here. Follow the road north passing by a dock on your left and the SALT MUSEUM before coming to the Shoreline Walking Trail off the road at 0.2 miles. This is a pedestrian only trail that travels along the shoreline. Travel past a small marina and along the shoreline. Restrooms and picnic tables are scattered throughout the park. Bear left past a parking lot at the northern tip of the lake at 2.2 miles. Map board, restrooms, playground, picnic tables, pavilions all located here. Continue straight along the road where you'll travel underneath I-90 and alongside the channel that discharges the lake out to the Seneca River. Come to an intersection at Mile 2.5.

Note; You have two options from here. You may continue around the Lake by heading right (See; West Shore Trail Below) or you can head straight (north) out to the Seneca River, which is part of the Erie Canal. I did both, heading north first.

Seneca River Spur:

Continuing straight (north) you'll travel underneath the Long Branch Road Bridge, pass by a restroom and return to the Onondaga Lake Parkway. Parking lot located straight ahead. Head left along the road passing by two boathouses. Travel underneath John Glen Blvd at 3 miles. Pass by the old Mud Lock 5, part of the old Oswego Canal on your left (Informational sign next to it) before coming to a stone-dust path on your left at 3.2 miles. Continue along the road as you will loop back via this path. Come to the Cold Springs Rd entrance at 3.4 miles and bear left past the gate and alongside Wegman's Good Dog Park. Travel past what looks like part of the old canal before the trail ends after 3.7 miles at the Seneca River. To your left is Klein Island. This river is part of the ERIE CANAL. Retracing your route, turn right and travel through the park along a stone-dust trail and back to the Onondaga Lake Parkway. Restrooms located here. Return to the intersection at Mile 2.5.

West Shore Trail:

Onondaga Lake Park; Loop the Lake

From the intersection at Mile 2.5. Head along the trail up to Long Branch Rd where you can cross the channel via a walkway on the bridge. A paved trail then brings you to the Long Branch Road parking lot after 2.7 miles where you then access the West Shore Trail. Across the road is Long Branch Park. The paved West Shore Trail/Onondaga Lake Park; Loop the Lake travels south underneath I-90 and alongside the channel that discharges the lake out to the Seneca River. You'll cross over Mile Marker 2.75 miles (markers every 1/4 mile). This is the distance from the Visitor Center. This wooded trail travels along the west side of the Lake and is isolated. You'll pass by Spurs to the dirt & grass Lakeland Nature Trail along your right. Just keep left along the paved trail at all intersections the whole way. Pass by a pavilion. The lake is mostly hidden by trees and brush along the route. After 4.75 miles the trail comes to a circle.

Note; Right a pedestrian bridge crosses over I-690 and RR tracks to Pleasant Beach Rd. 

Continue left along the Lake before turning inland and paralleling I-690. A bridge takes you over Nine Mile Creek at 5.2 miles. The trail climbs the chalky Solvay Process waste beds, passing by the Lakeview Amphitheatre. This brings you to Lakeview Point, which juts into the lake almost midway down the shoreline. You'll find two overlooks here at 5.8 miles before traveling back along the southern side of Lakeview Point. Check out the solar lamposts. Come to an intersection at 6.2 miles.

Note; Right leads to the Lakeview Amphitheatre parking lot.

The trail follows the top of the ridge south, passing by a small picnic pavilion, before coming to another intersection at 6.8 miles.

Note; Right will take you past another overlook, then down to the NY State Fairgrounds; Orange parking lot at 7.3 miles. This is also the route of the Erie Canalway Trail; Syracuse-Rochester .

I haven't checked out this section. Bear left where the trail follows the shoreline south down to a bridge over an inlet at 7.3 miles. You then travel around the ONONDAGA LAKE VISITOR CENTER on your left. The trail continues south between the Lake and I-690 along open shoreline. The trail then separates some from the highway, passing by a parking lot on your right at 8 miles. Soon the trail turns inland bringing you to a long pedestrian bridge at 8.6 miles. This bridge takes you along the south end of the lake and over the RR tracks where the trail continues south, away from the lake, out to Hiawatha Blvd at 9.2 miles. Turn left to reach a cross-light, then follow a BIKE LANE east along Hiawatha Blvd. Pass by Van Rensselaer St at 10.1 miles. Here the trail utilizes the Onondaga Creekwalk route. I've checked out this section.

Note; This is where the Erie Canalway Trail; Utica-Syracuse turns off the West Shore Trail, utilizing Van Rensselaer St to reach the Van Rensselaer St parking lot, just across Bear St. Here the Erie Canalway Trail connects to the Onondaga Creekwalk and travels through Syracuse.

Continue along Hiawatha Blvd, passing by the Onondaga Creekwalk trailhead (heading south) on your right before crossing over Onondaga Creek, and coming alongside Destiny USA on your left. The trail turns right, now heading west alongside the Destiny USA parking lot. The paved Onondaga Creekwalk/West Shore Trail then heads north underneath Hiawatha Blvd and alongside Onondaga Creek. Come to the current end of the West Shore Trail/Onondaga Lake Park; Loop the Lake at 10.8 miles. This is also the start of the Onondaga Creekwalk .

Note; The next section of Onondaga Lake Park; Loop the Lake trail to be built will extend from the northern end of the Onondaga Creekwalk east 1.5 miles through Murphy’s Island where it will dead-end. It is under design in 2021. Finally, the last section to complete the Loop around the Lake will run from Murphy’s Island 2 miles back to the Visitor Center and is currently under design.

HH

CLICK HERE FOR ONONDAGA LAKE SP MAP

CLICK HERE FOR SYRACUSE AREA MAP

CLICK HERE FOR EMPIRE TRAIL MAP

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

BIKE IT OR HIKE IT

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