Great Trails for Snowshoeing


Enjoying trails in the winter, without blowing your budget

By Melissa Stefanec

The railroad bridges above West and Fayette streets in downtown Syracuse may say it best. They are painted to read, “Spring Comes. Summer Waits. Fall Leaves. Winter Longs.”

Winters in Upstate New York have a way of going, and going, and going long. With such long winters, finding ways to recreate in the cold is very important for your physical and mental health. As luck would have it, there are many public trails in the area where you can snowshoe, hike or cross-country ski.

If you are new to the sport or don’t want to invest a lot of money in gear, some places in the area rent ski and snowshoe equipment at reasonable prices. They also provide information to those who are new to the sport. Here are some places to rent gear and hit the trails.

Highland Forest, Fabius (Onondaga County Parks)

Rentals: Skis and snowshoes
Equipment: Ski rental packages include skis, boots, and poles. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children and rentals are per day. Snowshoes can be rented for the day at a cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Trails: Trails are open to all levels of skiers and snowshoers and vary in length from 0.5 miles to 8.7 miles. Call the park at 315-683-5550 for more information and local conditions.

Beaver Lake Nature Center, Baldwinsville (Onondaga County Parks)

Rentals: Snowshoes
Equipment: Snowshoe rentals are $5 per hour. Rentals are available from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Rentals must be returned by 4 p.m.
Trails: Beaver Lake Nature Center offers three snowshoe-only trails, varying in length from 0.5 to 2.2 miles. In addition to rentals, clinics are offered for beginner snowshoers. Clinics are held on the weekends, last one hour, and are offered in January and February. Registration is required. For more information, call 315-638-2519.
Beaver Lake Nature Center has plenty of cross-country ski trails, but they do not have ski rentals. There are five trails available for skiing. All but one of the trails is rated easy, and the outlier is rated moderate in skill level.

Sullivan Park, Chittenango (Town of Sullivan Parks and Recreation Department)

Rentals: Skis and snowshoes
Equipment: Skis rentals are free and available on Saturdays and Sundays from mid-December through March. Registration is only required on the day of use. Rentals are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Snowshoes can be rented on select demo days throughout the winter, but pre-registration is required. For more information, call the Town of Sullivan Parks and Recreation Department at 315-687-6471.
Trails: Trails are located throughout the park and have a mix of flat land and inclines. There are also multiple sledding hills.

Sunnycrest Park, Syracuse (Syracuse City Parks)

Rentals: Skis and snowshoes
Equipment: Cross-country ski and snowshoe package rentals are available for $5 for adults and $1 for children aged 12 and under. Rentals are available when the ski lodge is open, which is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Special hours are featured during school breaks. Call 315-473-2674 for more information.
Trails: The park offers 2.5 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. There are also trails for snowshoeing. Parking is available at the ski lodge and ice rink. Skiing and snowshoeing are available December through March.