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Coordinates: 42.70812°N 76.14520°W

Elevation: 1156 feet/352.3 meters


Goodale Lake


Goodale Lake is located in the southern part of the Town of Preble in Cortland County. Although it is near and can be seen from U.S. Route 11, it can only be accessed by boat from as the property around the lake is privately owned.

Physical Features

Goodale Lake lies in the Tioughnioga Valley through which flows the west branch of the Tioughnioga River. The river acts as both the inlet to and the outlet from the lake. The outlet drains into Upper Little York Lake, and it is this outlet that provides the best access to the lake.


The lake is rather small--perhaps 50 acres--with clear water. It is rather open with few coves to explore on the eastern shore and mostly wooded elsewhere with a number of interesting coves and inlets. A railroad track runs along the western shore and just west of that is Interstate 81 under which flows the outlet.


Goodale Lake can only be accessed from Upper Little York Lake. Consequently, it should be visited in conjunction with Upper Little York and Green lakes both of which are accessed from launch sites in Dwyer Memorial Park in the nearby town of Little York.


To get to the Upper Little York Lake boat launch, take State Route 281 to Little York Road. (Little York Road intersects Route 281 in two places, but you shouldn't get lost as they both go to the same place.) Follow Little York Road until it becomes New Road. Follow New Road around. It will lead you to the north end of Upper Little York Lake. There is a narrow parking area along the shore with a gravel ramp. Motorboats are permitted on Upper Little York Lake because the water level is controlled by a dam. However, getting into Goodale Lake with a motorboat may be very difficult.



To get to Goodale Lake, you will need to paddle to your left (east). Keep following the shore as it curves left. You will come to a straight waterway that leads under the highway. That's the Goodale Lake outlet. Take that, and it will lead you to the lake. You should come back from Goodale Lake the same way, so make note of where you enter the lake.


The water is clear and should be cool and refreshing in the heat of the summer, but you will probably need to swim from your boat as the lake shore is privately owned.


Both State Route 281 and U.S. Route 11 are great for biking. They have wide, paved shoulders and run through a rural valley that has relatively little traffic, especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings. A nice ride would be to park at Dwyer Memorial Park, head south on Route 281, the left (southeast) on Hooker Avenue, then left (north) on Route 11 past Goodale Lake, then left (west) on Preble Road, the left (south) on Route 281 back to Little York Road and the park. The whole trip is about 15 mi./24 km. and takes you through Little York, Homer, and Preble. The Village of Homer is on the National Register of Historic Places and worth a view.


You can have completely different hiking experiences nearby at Labrador Hollow Unique Area and Morgan Hill State Forest. If you're coming from the south or heading south, you may want to visit Lime Hollow Center, which has over eight miles of marked trails. Lime Hollow is good anytime, but spectacular in the spring. It's trail along a railroad right-of-way has an amazing display of native wildflowers in bloom that is not to be missed.


A walk along the road through Dwyer Memorial Park can be especially rewarding in late summer as many passerines stop to feed in the vines and shrubs that grow along the shore of Upper Little York Lake. Around both Upper Little York and Goodale lakes you should see ring-billed gulls, kingfishers, Canada geese, ducks, a variety of frogs and turtles, and many other animals that like small lakes. You may even see an osprey or an eagle.


Both Goodale and Upper Little York lakes are scenic, especially in the autumn when the reds, yellows, greens, and other colors of the changing trees reflect in the water. If you can, pick a day when the sky is blue with puffy, white clouds. A zoom lens is best for photographing migrating birds.

Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas

Dog Hollow State Forest

Donahue Woods State Forest

Labrador Hollow Unique Area

Morgan Hill State Forest

Nearby Places of Interest (a partial list)

Cortland Repertory Theatre

The Crawl Space

Frog Pond Farm Folk Art Gallery

Homer Center for the Arts

Lime Hollow Center

Little York Plantation

Village of Homer


Quagmire Manor Bed & Breakfast

5324 State Route 281

Homer, NY 13077



SUNY Cortland Alumni House

29 Tompkins St.

Cortland, NY 13045



Finger Lakes Premier Properties (formerly Rental Plus)





Resort Property Rentals of the Finger Lakes

Vacation Rentals by Owner




A variety of hotels and motels can be found in Cortland.


Created 26 November 2009








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