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Conesus Lake

Coordinates: 42.787°N 77.717°W

Elevation: 835 feet/254.5 meters

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Children swimming in Conesus Lake in the Finger Lakes, New York USA.

The Indians called the lake Ga-ne-a-sos--"always beautiful." Current residents call it "the jewel of Livingston County." Both sentiments show appreciation for what the lake has to offer. But Conesus Lake is at the heart of a common controversy.

 

Conesus Lake is the most westerly of the Finger Lakes. At 8 mi/12.9 km. long and 1 mi./1.6 km. wide, it ranks as one of the smaller or "minor" lakes. In addition, its depth ranges from only 45 ft./13.7 m. to 66 ft./20 m. In the summer, the water is relatively warm. In the winter, the lake is, more often than not, covered with a layer of ice. Consequently, the lake offers just about any recreational activity one can think of, all within 25 mi./40 km. of the City of Rochester. Herein lies the problem.

Lake Access

It used to be that seasonal cottages dotted the shore of Conesus Lake. But after World War II, when cars became more common, people bought up the land around the lake, built year-round houses, and drove to Rochester to work. Sixty-five percent of the lake's residents live there year 'round. Conesus Lake now has the dubious honor of having the most built-up shoreline of any of the Finger Lakes.

 

For visitors, this makes access to the lake difficult. So, what are your options? There are three: 1) stay at a bed and breakfast on the lake, 2) stay at a campground on the lake, 3) rent a vacation home on the lake.

 

Bed & Breakfasts on the Lake

There are currently no bed & breakfasts in business on Conesus Lake.

 

Campgrounds on the Lake

Conesus Lake Campround

5609 E. Lake Rd.

Conesus, NY 14435

585-346-2267

 

Southern Shores Campground

5707 E. Lake Rd.

Conesus, NY 14435

585-946-6824

 

Lakeside Rentals

Conesus Lake Rentals

20 Big Tree St.

Livonia, NY 14487

585-346-4392

 

Finger Lakes Cottages

Finger Lakes Premier Properties (formerly Rental Plus)

Fingerlakesrentals.com

Greatrentals.com

LakeRentals.com

PerfectPlaces.com

Resort Property Rentals of the Finger Lakes

Vacation Rentals by Owner

VacationHomes.com

VacationRentals.com

 

Parks

There is only one state park--Conesus Lake State Park-- on the lake. Unfortunately, this park provides boat launching and picnicking facilities only. However, there are two town parks--Vitale Park at the northern end of the lake in the Town of Livonia and Long Point Park about midway down the lake on the western shore in the Town of Geneseo--that offer swimming, picnicking, and restrooms. Vitale Park offers concerts on Sunday evenings throughout the summer, which can be enjoyed from the park (bring your own folding chair) or in your boat on the water. The park is currently undergoing a renovation/expansion to add gardens, paths, and an interpretative center.

 

Boat Launches

Conesus Lake Public Boat Launch--on East Lake Rd., 4 mi./6.4 km. south of Rt. 20A. Hard surface ramp. Parking for 45 vehicles. Brochure.

 

Pebble Beach--off Pebble Beach Rd. in the northwest corner of the lake. Cartop launch only. Parking for 120 vehicles. Brochure.

 

Sand Point--off Rt. 20A at the north end of the lake near Vitale Park. Cartop launch. Parking for 45 vehicles. Brochure.

 

Conesus Inlet Wildlife Management Area--south of the lake bordered by State Rt. 256 and East Swamp Rd. Cartop launch only. Parking for 40 vehicles. This 1,200-acre site consists of wetland, marsh/swamp, and upland habitat along the edges. It is designed to preserve the lake's only northern pike spawning grounds. The area offers hiking and nature trails, a viewing tower with scenic views of the lake, and a wide variety of wildlife for birding and photography. There is a great blue heron rookery at the southeast end of the marsh and bittern are known to frequent the area. You are asked not to canoe or kayak through the reeds, especially during breeding season, as this can destroy nests and result in the death of young. There are NO restrooms or picnic facilities. There are two hikes marked on the DEC map. However, there are also two short hikes on Sliker Hill Rd. and one on Guiltner Rd. that aren't marked on the map. This is definitely a place that bears exploring. All the hikes are easy and, generally, on mowed paths. Brochure.

Conesus Inlet Wildlife Management Area (foreground) being encroached upon by houses along the shore of Conesus Lake in the Finger Lakes, New York USA.

The lake water is relatively clean as all shoreline residences are hooked up to the local sewer system. A good thing, too, as Conesus Lake provides drinking water to nearly one-quarter of the residents of the county. The relative clarity of the water is credited to a tiny freshwater crustacean of the genus Daphnia, which, by its "grazing," removes many impurities from the water.

Marinas

 

As one of the small Finger Lakes, the lake water is relatively calm. Most boat traffic is that of motorboats rather than sailboats as on Seneca and Cayuga lakes.

View of Conesus Lake from Long Point Park in the Finger Lakes, New York USA.

Lake of Fire

Sponsored by the Conesus Lake Association, this is an annual event where the perimeter of the lake shore is lined with flares to create a ring of fire. This is an old Seneca Indian custom that is intended to celebrate the beauty and abundance of the lake. The event takes place at 10:00 p.m. on 3 July. Visitors are invited to attend.

 

Updated 5 August 2009

 

 

 

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