ONONDAGA LAKE PARK:
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 2, 2015
Length: East Shore Recreation Trail; 2.7 miles.
West Shore Trail; 4.8 miles.
Seneca River Spur; 1.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat paved trail/road.
To Start from the Onondaga Lake Park Visitor Center;
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; 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;
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.
Onondaga Lake Park is located on the eastern shore of Onondaga Lake outside of Syracuse. The East Shore recreation Trail travels along the east side of the lake and connects to the West Shore Trail which travels along the west side 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. For more information visit; ONONDAGA LAKE PARK .
East Shore Recreation Trail:
Starting from the Visitor Center; The East Shore Recreation Trail 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.
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.
West Shore Trail:
The paved West Shore Trail 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. After passing by another overlook the trail heads more inland through a corridor of tall reeds and wild flowers. Come to another Lake overlook. Down below you can spot the Onondaga Lake Visitor Center. The trail then winds down to the NY State Fairgrounds; Orange parking lot at 7.3 miles. Here the trail heads left out of the parking lot, then left out to the ONONDAGA LAKE VISITOR CENTER at about 7.5 miles.
Future plans call for continuing the trail south to the Onondaga Creekwalk which begins at the southern end of the Lake and follows Onondaga Creek south to downtown Syracuse. I believe this section has started construction in 2018, but not sure. Then returning north to the Onondaga Lake Park Visitor Center, thus completing a 12-mile loop around the Lake.
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BIKE IT OR HIKE IT