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Hope Lake

Coordinates: 42.51441°N 76.14587°W

Elevation: 1420 feet/432.8 meters



Hope Lake at Hope Lake Recreation Area in Virgil, New York, USA.


Hope Lake is located on Clute Road (formerly Tuller Hill Road) in the Town of Virgil in Cortland County. It is part of Hope Lake Recreation Area, a public park owned by the Town of Virgil. Location-finding address: 2250 Clute Rd., Cortland, NY 13045


At certain times of the year, an entrance fee is charged.

Physical Features

This is a constructed 23-acre lake situated on the side of a hill in a wide, rolling valley used mostly for farming through which runs Gridley Creek. The lake is fed by EastHope Lake in Virgil, New York, USA, looking very much like a lake in the Alps. Brook. The south side of the lake is open and faces Greek Peak Mountain Resort, the north side is forested and abuts Tuller Hill State Forest.


Greek Peak Mountain Resort wanted to construct a lodge and an indoor water park at the intersection of State Route 392 and Clute Road. The lake and park are concessions made by the resort to the town to be allowed to carry out its plans. The park and lake are currently managed by the resort through a contract with the town.


The lake and recreation area are named for Leighton Hope (1921-1998), a former commission of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation and a member of the board of directors of Greek Peak Mountain Resort.


Boating is permitted on the lake using only park boats. The park rents canoes, rowboats, and paddle boats. Boating is also available on the Tioughnioga River.


This rustic log building at Hope Lake in Virgil, New York, USA, serves as both the office where you pay your entrance fee and the boat rental facility. The entrance to the bathhouse is on the back of the building.


Swimming is permitted only when the lifeguard is on duty. The lake has an artificial beach of sand, and the water is treated to keep it artificially clean. There is a bathhouse on a path above the lake.


Picnic tables are located at various sites around the lake.


Tables are provided. A large pavilion is also available for groups. A note about food: Food is not sold at the lake. In fact, because this is a very rural area, there are really no grocery stores in the entire town. Your greatest choice of stores will be in the City of Cortland, about 10 mi./16 km. to the north. Dryden, a village about 8 mi./12.8 km. to the east, also has a grocery store, post office, bank, and gas station.


State Route 393 in Cortland County, New York, USA, is a scenic road ideal for biking. Helmets are recommended.


State Route 392 is especially scenic and ideal for bike riding. It has narrow shoulders about 3ft./1 m. wide. Clute Road, too, is a nice road on which to bike, though it has no shoulders and is even more hilly and winding than Route 392.


There is a paved path around the lake on which biking is NOT permitted at this time. Mountain biking is permitted in the state forest only in designated areas.

The paved path around Hope Lake in Virgil, New York, USA.Hiking

The 1-mi./1.6-km. paved path around the lake is ideal for people using wheelchairs, for people who want a specific distance, or for people who want a looped path that ends where it starts. Short- and long-distance hiking trails are available in the state forest.


Wildlife abounds. The lake area offers a variety of birds, especially during breeding season, including Canada geese, red-winged blackbirds, kingbirds, American robins, several species of sparrows and warblers, and killdeers to name just a few. You should be able to see just about every animal native to the area in the state forest.


Beware of biting insects during the late spring and summer.


From a photographic perspective, this area offers great photography at all seasons. In winter, there is a considerable amount of snowfall in this area. Greek Peak is used for downhill skiing and snowboarding and the state forest has 8 mi./12.8 km. of cross-country skiing trails. In spring, the state forest has many native wildflowers, ferns, and mosses. In summer, the long views down the valley of cultivated farm fields make great photo ops, and in autumn, the forests and hillsides are a tapestry of many colors.


Hope Lake in Virgil, New York, USA (foreground), Cascades Indoor Waterpark (left), Hope Lodge (right), and Greek Peak ski area (background).


Wilderness camping is permitted in the state forest, and there is a lean-to in the eastern section of the forest. Hope Lodge, owned by Greek Peak Mountain Resort, offers hotel-style accommodations. Greek Peak also rents cabins and chalets. There are bed and breakfasts in the county, but none are nearby.

Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas

Tuller Hill State Forest

Hoxie Gorge

Nearby Places of Interest (a partial list)

Greek Peak Mountain Resort

Lime Hollow Center for Environment & Culture

The 1890 House Museum

Hollenbeck's Cider Mill

1265 State Rt. 392

Cortland, NY 13045



*Hope Lake does not appear on topographical maps because it was constructed only a few years ago. Location and elevation are estimates.


Created 30 November 2013








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