Discover Hemlock Lake, New York

Welcome to Hemlock Lake, a serene jewel in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Its clear waters and stunning natural beauty make it a perfect escape for nature lovers.

Located in western New York, Hemlock Lake spans seven miles but remains cozily secluded and less developed than other Finger Lakes. This gives it a uniquely untouched charm.

Fishing enthusiasts will find Hemlock Lake a treat. The waters are stocked with lake trout and landlocked salmon. This makes for an exciting fishing experience, with the possibility of catching some impressive fish.

Remember, swimming is not allowed in Hemlock Lake. This policy helps maintain the pristine water quality, ensuring it remains a perfect spot for other watersports and wildlife activities.

The area around Hemlock Lake is surrounded by rich forests of oak, hemlock, and beech trees, making it ideal for bird-watching and hiking. You can find untouched natural beauty here, providing a perfect backdrop for a relaxing day outdoors.


Best time to visit
Best things to do

Top 3 Facts about Hemlock Lake in New York


Water Source for Rochester

One of Hemlock Lake’s most important roles is providing water for the City of Rochester. This has been the case since the late 19th century when a 16-mile pipeline was built. This pipeline connects Hemlock Lake directly to Rochester’s water distribution system, ensuring a reliable and clean water source for the city’s residents.


Outdoor Activities Galore

Hemlock Lake is a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts. Whether you enjoy hiking, fishing, or boating, there’s something for everyone. The lake is surrounded by 415 acres of untouched forest, including hemlock, beech, sugar maple, and oak trees. The trails, like Rob’s Trail and Hemlock Trail, provide excellent spots for hiking and bird watching.


Historical Significance

Dating back to 1795, Hemlock Lake holds a fascinating history. In the late 1800s, it was a popular vacation destination for the wealthy. It featured five luxurious hotels, one hundred cottages, and large pleasure cruise boats. This historical background adds a layer of charm and nostalgia to your visit.


Must See Attractions

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Hemlock-Canadice State Forest

State Forest

This state forest encompasses Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, providing a pristine environment perfect for hiking, birdwatching, and nature photography. The forest has several well-maintained trails with scenic views of the lakes and surrounding woodlands.

Rob’s Trail

Hiking Trail

One of the premier spots to explore is Rob’s Trail. Located at Bald Hill Road, this area offers multiple trails, including a 1.75-mile Loop Trail and a longer Hemlock Trail that spans 4.8 miles. It’s a perfect location for both casual hikers and serious trekkers.

Conesus Lake


A neighboring lake, Conesus Lake, is known for its recreational activities, including boating, fishing, and swimming. The area around the lake has several parks and beaches worth visiting.

Annual Events and Festivals


Hemlock “Little World’s” Fair

This traditional county fair features agricultural exhibits, livestock shows, carnival rides, games, and live entertainment.

It’s one of the oldest continuously running fairs in New York State.


Naples Grape Festival

Celebrating the region’s grape harvest, this festival includes wine tastings, arts and crafts, live music, and grape-related culinary delights like grape pies.

It’s a must-visit for wine enthusiasts and families alike.


Geneseo Airshow

Known as the “Greatest Show on Turf,” this airshow features vintage aircraft, aerial demonstrations, and historical reenactments.

It’s a fantastic event for aviation enthusiasts and families.

Top Hiking Trails

Hemlock-Canadice Lake Trail

Hemlock Lake Boat Launch, East Lake Road, Hemlock, NY

This trail runs along the eastern shore of Hemlock Lake, offering beautiful views of the lake and surrounding forest.

It’s a relatively easy hike, perfect for a leisurely walk while enjoying the natural scenery.

Rob’s Trail

Rob’s Trail Parking Area, 4395 Canadice Road, Hemlock, NY

Rob’s Trail connects Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, passing through diverse landscapes, including forests and wetlands.

The trail is moderately difficult and provides spectacular views of both lakes.

Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area Trails

Main Parking Area, 6775 Canadice Hill Road, Springwater, NY

This recreation area offers several interconnected trails suitable for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.

Trails range from easy to moderate, with stunning overlooks of the surrounding hills and valleys.

Best Golf Courses

Reservoir Creek Golf Course

8613 State Route 21, Naples, NY 14512

Nestled in the hills of the Finger Lakes, Reservoir Creek Golf Course offers a challenging 18-hole course with stunning views.

The well-maintained greens and fairways provide a rewarding experience for golfers of all skill levels. The course also features a pro shop and a clubhouse with dining options.

Conesus Golf Club

1 Pine Alley, Conesus, NY 14435

Conesus Golf Club is a scenic 18-hole course that offers a relaxed golfing experience. It boasts beautiful views of Conesus Lake and the surrounding countryside.

The course is known for its friendly atmosphere and well-kept greens.

Old Hickory Golf Course

6653 Big Tree Road, Livonia, NY 14487

Located just north of Hemlock Lake, Old Hickory Golf Course features an 18-hole course with a mix of open fairways and challenging water hazards.

The course is well-maintained and offers a picturesque setting. Golfers can also enjoy the clubhouse facilities and on-site dining.

Water Sports

Canoeing & Kayaking

Hemlock Lake’s calm waters and scenic surroundings make it an ideal spot for canoeing and kayaking.

Paddlers can enjoy a peaceful ride while observing the rich wildlife and lush forested shorelines.


Hemlock Lake is a great spot for fishing, offering a variety of species, such as trout, bass, and perch. Anglers can fish from boats or the shoreline, enjoying the tranquility and natural beauty of the lake.

Hemlock Lake serves as a water supply for the city of Rochester, so there are restrictions to protect the water quality. Only non-motorized or electric motor boats are allowed, and activities should be conducted with respect to the natural environment.


Small sailboats are allowed on Hemlock Lake, providing an enjoyable way to experience the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.

The gentle breezes and calm waters are perfect for leisurely sailing.

Winter Activities

Cross-Country Skiing

The trails around Hemlock Lake, particularly in the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, are perfect for cross-country skiing.

The area offers scenic routes through snow-covered forests and along the lake, providing a peaceful and invigorating experience.


Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the winter landscape around Hemlock Lake.

The state forest and surrounding areas offer numerous trails that are well-suited for snowshoeing, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the winter wilderness.

Ice Fishing

Hemlock Lake offers excellent ice fishing opportunities during the winter months. Anglers can fish for species such as trout and perch in the frozen waters, enjoying a quiet and serene fishing experience.

Where to Eat

Bird House Brewing

$$ – $$$ • Burgers, Craft Beers

The Valley Inn

$$ – $$$ • Steak, Seafood

Ember Woodfire Grill

$$ – $$$ • Wood-Fired Pizza

Where to Shop

Eastview Mall

Shopping center

Ithaca Farmers Market

Farmers market

Hemlock General Store

General store

Where to Sleep

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Mason Street Getaway

555 Mason St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, USA
Number of Guests 5
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 2
Sq Footage 1,165
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$475.00 / day
sparkles New

JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
sparkles New

Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Hemlock Lake

Start Your Search Early

Finding the perfect vacation home on Hemlock Lake begins with starting your search early, especially if you plan to visit during peak seasons like summer or fall foliage.

Consider Your Preferences

Before renting a vacation home on Hemlock Lake, consider factors like the property size and determining how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need based on your group size. Assess amenities like lakefront access, boat docks, outdoor seating areas, fire pits, and kitchen facilities.

Read Reviews

It’s crucial to read reviews from previous guests when considering a vacation rental on Hemlock Lake. Reviews provide valuable insights into the property’s condition, cleanliness, amenities, and the host’s responsiveness.

Contact the Host

Contact the host directly to ask specific questions about the property, its location relative to the lake, nearby attractions, and any additional fees or policies that may apply during your stay. Clear communication with the host helps ensure your expectations align with what the property offers.

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Going Deeper: History and Cultural Significance of Hemlock Lake

Hemlock Lake isn’t just a picturesque spot; it’s a place rich in history and cultural depth. It has roots in the Seneca people, one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Known to the Seneca as Onehda Tecarneodi, Hemlock Lake was once part of their homeland.

In the late 18th century, the Sullivan Expedition, commissioned by George Washington, aimed to weaken the Iroquois Confederacy, including the Seneca Nation. This expedition had lasting impacts on the region, as villages were destroyed, and the Seneca people were displaced.

The lake’s surrounding area experienced a significant change in the 19th century. Hemlock trees were abundant, and they supported a booming lumber industry.

By the early 20th century, the lake earned a reputation as the “blue blood” lake due to the wealthy families who built summer homes along its shores. These estates added an air of exclusivity and prominence to the region.

Despite all these changes, the lake has remained a touchstone for those interested in its rich tapestry of history and culture.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hemlock Lake

You can expect to find lake trout, landlocked salmon, and cisco (lake herring) in Hemlock Lake. There’s a long history of stocking these species, enhancing the fishing experience.

Only electric motors and hand-propelled boats are permitted on Hemlock Lake. Ensure your boat is properly registered with the appropriate authorities before heading out.

The area features several beautiful trails, including Rob’s Trail that has options like Loop Trail and Hemlock Trail. You can enjoy diverse lengths and scenic spots, including lake shoreline views.

Hemlock Lake does not offer camping facilities. For nearby options, consider looking into local campgrounds offering various amenities.

Head to the boat launch located on East Lake Road for easy access to Hemlock Lake. This point is well-marked and offers convenient entry for both fishing and recreational activities.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation actively manages Hemlock Lake. They do this through stocking programs and regular biological surveys. These efforts ensure a balanced and healthy ecosystem.

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