Hello and welcome to my article on Chimney Bluffs State Park! My name is Taylor Gibbons (@tellhergib). I’m a Manhattanite who recently converted into a country/suburb-loving lady. I work in advertising (remotely) and have been traveling around the United States since February of 2021.
On the weekends you will find me lost on the trails and tasting the local hard seltzers! What wakes me up each morning is my drive to discover, connect and tell stories about the people and places we call home. I attribute my passion for travel to my parents who moved us from Long Island, NY to England and raised us in many beautiful different cultures.
Awesome Day Trip Upstate to Chimney Bluffs State Park
As a traveler with pandemic-paused feet, my goal shifted from the exotic getaway to uncovering little-known gems in wide-open spaces close to home. While engaging in my other favorite hobby of Maps research, my interest piqued at “Bluffs.” Normally found in the West, seeking these bluffs in my home state became a shiny venture for the next long weekend.
I packed a PB&J sandwich, picked up my friend Paige, gassed up the Toyota RAV4 and hit the road for a five hour jaunt upstate. Too cold to camp, we spent a full day wandering the trails and taking left turns in the forest behind the bluffs. My top trail recommendations from my trip are Chimney Bluffs Loop and East-West and Drumlin Trail.
4 Best Things To Do at Chimney Bluffs State Park
1. Hike the 2.5 Mile Chimney Bluffs Loop Trail
Chimney Bluffs Loop makes you think “moderate is the new strenuous”. In 2.5 miles and 296 feet of elevation gain, you will meander through trees and streams, and find yourself balance-beaming on the rugged bluff cliffs.
The best spot at the park is when the Loop Trail intersects at the cliff edge and introduces you to the largest bluff for the first time. That was a huge wow moment for me. When you hike, you are guided by both your AllTrails map and the push/pull from the presence of the lake. Finally, coming upon the visual of the water beneath the bluffs is a reward that tops a summit!
2. Meditate on the Cliffs and Take in the Beauty
Meditating on the cliffs, feeling the cold air and listening to the silence only interfered by the waves was my favorite experience. We all agree that quarantine made us appreciate the small things more and moments connecting with nature are now so important and future-nostalgic.
3. Chill at the Beach Beside Lake Ontario
Getting down to the beach is a must-do! This isn’t your regular “lug the chairs and cooler from your trunk” state park beach experience. Pack light, leave the boombox in the car and enjoy the serenity of Lake Ontario.
4. Take Photos to your Heart’s Content
Find the right lighting that speaks to you and just shoot. Chimney Bluffs State Park offers us all a creative canvas to pour ourselves into. The unique bluff formations are a photographers dream – you have to see for yourself!
Other Amazing Places to Visit near Chimney Bluffs State Park
Seneca Falls is a great little place to stop along the way to Chimney Bluffs State Park. It has a quintessential upstate New York main street, classic breweries and funky coffee shops. For a true locale serving up both beans and brews, stop by Fall Street Brewing and say hello to Anna and Brad.
Another little detour is to Watkins Glen State Park for the Gorge Trail. I recommend going here off-season and early in the day so you can enjoy the canyon all for yourself. I promise it will help you make sense of those “I Love NY” t-shirts. Another beauty is Taughannock Falls State Park for the North to South Rim Trail. It’s three stories taller than Niagara Falls!
Need to Know Before you Go
I will start with a usual tip: go early to Chimney Bluffs before it gets too crowded and bring plenty of water. But I would also like to challenge you to go with an open mind. Experience it like you will never go there again. Actually be present there. Say to yourself: “I’m in New York” and realize you are not in any of the Five Boroughs. And wave to our Canadian neighbors!