July 21, 2018
A Cyclist's Guide to the Finger Lakes
By: Donafaye Zoll
Cyclists will find plenty to love about the Finger Lakes. The region is filled with countless beautiful and challenging cycling routes that take riders past forests and vineyards, along scenic byways, and of course, around some of Upstate New York’s most impressive bodies of water. From 100 mile circuits to quick 7-milers, there is something here for every type of rider. Read on for our favorite cycling routes in the Finger Lakes.
11 minutes from Sutherland House
Start off your Finger Lakes cycling trip with a ride around our very own Canandaigua Lake. This challenging 43-mile route makes up for its steep climbs with breathtaking panoramic views of the lake and lush surrounding hills. This route is especially beautiful in the autumn.
15 minutes from Sutherland House
In the early 20th century, railway and trolley lines spread across the Finger Lakes, transporting goods and helping the region’s economy bloom. Many of these lines were abandoned later when trucks & cars became a primary means of transportation and the industry was deregulated in the 80s. However, these rail routes were put to good use when local city councils and volunteer organizations converted them into excellent hiking and cycling trails. The Auburn Trail in Victor, named after the Auburn and Rochester Railroads, is a pleasant 7-mile journey that cuts through several nearby towns and offers some great opportunities to spot some wildlife.
Ontario Pathways Trail
27 minutes from Sutherland House
The Ontario Pathways Trail is another Rails-to-Trails route that starts in Canandaigua and stretches all the way to Phelps. This route is preferable for mountain bikers. You’ll spend a lot of time riding beneath a lovely canopy of trees but you’ll also cross 13 bridges, pass through vineyard and farmland, and see some lovely rivers and small waterfalls along the way.
54 minutes from Sutherland House
Seneca Lake is perhaps the most popular of the Finger Lakes, making the Seneca Lake Trail one of the most popular cycling routes. This 77-mile loop is rated moderate, mainly for the steep climb you’ll encounter coming out of the quaint small town of Watkins Glen. With its rolling hills, vineyards, and beautiful waters, the scenic beauty around Seneca Lake is truly unbeatable.
51 minutes from Sutherland House
This popular 44-mile route treats riders to beautiful views of Keuka Lake and the surrounding vineyards. The “Crooked Lake Canal” used to link Keuka Lake to Seneca Lake but is now open to hikers and cyclists. Keuka Lake is also famous for its fishing. If you’re interested, bring your pole along for some catch-and-release fishing and you might hook some rainbow trout or landlocked salmon.
58 minutes from the Sutherland House
This 101-mile circuit is one of the most epic rides in the Finger Lakes. Most of this beautiful route hugs sparkling Cayuga Lake, meaning you’ll enjoy spectacular views and refreshing breezes all of the way. Cayuga Lake is the longest lake in the Finger Lakes, stretching across three counties: Seneca, Cayuga, and Tompkins. Keep a look out for the two islands that dot the lake. Stop for a rest along the shore or pop into some of the quaint communities situated on the lake for lunch and a craft beer.
Where to Rent
If you didn’t come with your bike, we recommend paying a visit to RV&E Bike and Skate shop. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall you can rent bikes for $10 an hour, $30 a day, or $75 a week.
And remember, if you bring your own bicycles, you can keep them in Sutherland House's secure, indoor storage facility on site.
Planning a cycling adventure through the Finger Lakes? Book a stay at Sutherland House Victorian Bed & Breakfast in Canandaigua for comfortable accommodations, exceptional hospitality, and easy access to everything our charming town has to offer.