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The Finger Lakes

How much do you know about the Finger Lakes Region? With over 9,000 square miles and eleven lakes, there’s a lot to take in. Not sure where to start? Try these “Fast Facts” on for size and see what sparks your interest. Then keep browsing our site to dive deeper and learn more.

The Lakes

The eleven pristine Finger Lakes are glacial formations shaped during the Pleistocene Ice Age. This was the most recent ice age in our planet’s history. But if you go by Native American legend, a different story is told. One of a Great Spirit who blessed this land with his hands, leaving the shape of his fingers behind. Either way you tell it, each lake is different and unique in its own right. In alphabetical order:

Canadice

The highest elevation and the shortest of the lakes at just under 4 miles long.  Despite being the shortest lake, the Native American translation of Canadice Lake is “Long Lake.”

Canandaigua

Canandaigua Lake’s City Pier is a historic treasure with its picturesque boathouses looking out towards Squaw Island, the Finger Lakes’ smallest island.

Cayuga

The longest of the Finger Lakes at just under 40 miles long. Home to Frontenac Island, one of only two small islands in the Finger Lakes.

Conesus

The westernmost lake of the Finger Lakes.

Hemlock

The most undeveloped and pristine of the Finger Lakes. The only Finger Lake that was not named by the local Native Americans.

Honeoye

The shallowest of the Finger Lakes. The deepest part of the lake reaches just 30 feet.

Keuka

The only lake in the country and one of the few in the world that runs both north and south. One of the only natural Y shaped lakes in the world.

Seneca

The deepest of the Finger Lakes, bottoming out at over 630 feet.  Seneca Lake is also known as the Lake Trout Capital of the World

Skaneateles

With its strikingly blue water, Skaneateles Lakes is ranked among the cleanest lakes in America.

Otisco

The easternmost Finger Lake.

Owasco

Home to both a cold water and a warm water fishery.

The Region

Go beyond the lakes and you’ll find a whole region full of fun and interesting facts. Some of our favorite must-knows and truthful tidbits include:

  • The Finger Lakes wine region is world-renowned, most recognized for its cool climate white wines, particularly Riesling and Gewurztraminer. One count says there are up to 130 wineries in the area.

  • Craft beer and beverages have been making a home here too. The Finger Lakes Beer Trail notes over 80 breweries, cideries, and distilleries in the region (with more opening up every year!), while the ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Trail spans 4 counties - Ontario, Monroe, Wayne and Livingston.

  • New York is the third largest apple producing state in the USA, and Wayne County is the largest apple producing region in the state. It hosts an annual Apple Tasting Tour every year.

  • The lakes aren’t the only evidence of the region’s glacial history – the rolling hills valleys, and gorges are too. Chimney Bluffs State Park along Lake Ontario is a perfect example of the natural beauty found here. The park features drumlins, a group of compacted boulder clay spikes molded by past glacial action.

  • Seneca Falls, NY lies near Cayuga Lake and is known as the birthplace of the Seneca Falls Women's Suffrage movement.

  • Two of the three major cities in Upstate New York, Rochester and Syracuse, act as bookends for the region.

  • Did you know? It’s possible to circumnavigate the globe by starting in Seneca Lake. The existing canal system connects the lake to the Atlantic Ocean!