The Best Scenic Views
make a mistake in the Empire State!
Many non-New Yorks think that the only
view we can enjoy is the Statue of Liberty. Now there's nothing wrong with
that view! After all, it was the first thing many of our ancestors saw when
they immigrated to this country. But the Empire State has an amazing variety
of scenery, some natural and some man-made. There's the New York skyline,
but there's also sandy beaches, lakes, rivers, and mountains.
Since geography is not
an indoor sport, you must get outside
and see what our state has to offer.
To get you started, here are our picks
for the top twelve scenic views in New York State:
1. Tibbits Lighthouse: Located at the
beginning of the St. Lawrence River, around three miles west of Cape Vincent.
Nice views of both the river and Lake Ontario. The rock formations here are
also very interesting. See also the Thousand
Island Loop web page.
2. Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington:
The view of the Adirondacks here is one of the jewels of New York State.
On a clear day you see Lake Champlain and most of the High Peaks. Also,
you can experience a tiny alpine plant community here. This view is one
of the high lights of the Adirondack
Loop day trip.
3. Goat Island, Niagara Falls: Probably
the most famous views in New York are located here. You can get close to
both the American and the Horseshoe Falls. If you take the Cave
of the Winds tour, you can see the falls from below. A small walk takes
you to the Bridal Veil Falls, next to the American Falls. (See also the Short
4. Chimney Bluffs, Sodus Bay: This
is an eroded drumlin on the south shore of Lake Ontario. The hard dirt
“chimneys” are nearly vertical, and always changing. You can view both from
the top and from lake level. Be careful of trying to scale the walls. The
traction is not good, and there is little to hang on to for support.
5. Clark Reservation, Jamestown:
Just a few miles SE of Syracuse is another Ice Age gift, a deep lake (Green
Lake) nearly surrounded by steep cliffs. It is the remains of a huge waterfall
that once drained the melting glaciers. Take in at least the views from
the rim. A walk down to the lake itself is highly recommended. (See the
NY Loop section).
6. Taughannock Falls Overlook: Located
just off Rte. 89, north of Ithaca. You can a panoramic view of New York’s
highest waterfall, and the spectacular gorge below. It is a "hanging valley,"
a relic of the Ice Age. It is especially impressive in early spring or
after heavy rainfalls, but it makes a great photo-op no matter what season
you visit. (See the Finger
Lakes Loop page).
7. The Noses: This gap along the
Mohawk River marks the only near-sealevel route through the Appalachian
Plateau. Along this route you find the Thruway, Routes 5 and 5S, the Conrail
tracks, and the Erie Canal. This view is part of the Mohawk
Trail road trip.
8. Rest Stop I-84 East of Port Jervis:
High on the Shawangunk Ridge you can see the confluence of Neversink Creek
at the Delaware River, where New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey meet.
Another great place to appreciate the power of erosion. You get more nice
views of the Delaware Valley by taking the Delaware
Trail road trip.
9. Trophy Point, West Point: At this
historic location, one of the chain booms was constructed across the Hudson
to prevent British invasion. The Highlands here are their most scenic.
To visit this spot you will probably have to take the West Point tour,
which starts at the south entrance to the Academy.
10. Empire State Building: The view
from the top is world-class! Now that the World Trade Center is gone, it
is the tallest building in the state. It's location near Midtown adds to
the enjoyment. You can see the urban structure of New York and her waterways.
The only drawback is its popularity. Expect crowds during peak season, and
you might have to push to get a clear view.
11. Staten Island Ferry: This is
probably the most famous ferry boat in the world. It is used daily by local
commuters, but it is also a favorite of the tourists, since you get a stunning
view of New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the skyline of Manhattan.
And it's very inexpensive! A night trip is recommended, especially in summer.
12. Montauk Lighthouse: Here you
will stand at the New York’s easternmost point. You can see how Long Island’s
glacial moraine is being modified by wave erosion. And the lighthouse itself
has a noble history, having been commissioned by President Washington. Not
to be missed when on The Island! (See the webpage on the Long
Island Ocean Trail).
to go to see New York Geography
up close and personal.
on the links below!