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Coordinates: 42.70201°N 76.15548°W

Elevation: 1156 feet/352.3 meters


Upper and Lower Little York Lakes

The southern end of Upper Little York Lake as seen from the dam on Little York Crossing Road in the Hamlet of Little York in the Town of Homer, New York, USA.


Both the Upper and Lower Little York lakes are located in the Hamlet of Little York in the Town of Homer in Cortland County. Upper Little York Lake can be accessed from Dwyer Memorial Park by taking 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.


The southern end of Upper Little York Lake can be seen but not accessed from Little York Crossing Road (sometimes referred to on maps as "Little York Xing Rd."). A dam regulates the depth of the water of the lake. The adjoining house used to be a mill associated with the dam.


Once the water runs over the dam, it runs under Little York Crossing Road into a spillway between two houses, then through a brushy wetland, and finally into Lower Little York Lake.

Physical Features

Upper Little York Lake is a small lake of about 102 acres. It lies in the Tioughnioga Valley through which flows the west branch of the Tioughnioga River. Irregular in shape, Upper Little York is interesting to explore, especially with a canoe or kayak, and has an abundance of wildlife. Much of the shore is lined with houses and the water level is controlled at the southern end of the lake.


Lower Little York Lake is not much bigger than some ponds. Surrounded by farmland, it is privately owned and not visible from any road or open to the public.


Both lakes were probably glacial kettles and may not have been connected or may have been a single lake that became separated over the millennia.

Upper Little York Lake provides the only access to Goodale Lake to which it is connected by a narrow waterway.


The only public launch site is in Dwyer Memorial Park, which offers limited parking and a gravelly slope to the shore. Both motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed on the lake, but if you want to include Goodale Lake in your adventure, you will need to use either a canoe or a kayak. Near the shore, the water can be shallow with waterlilies and other vegetation growing in the silty bottom. Keep this in mind if you're using a motorized craft.


The water is relatively clear and should be cool and refreshing in the heat of the summer, but you will probably need to swim from your boat as most of the lake shore is privately owned. Watch out for shallow water as the bottom of the lake can be silty. Dwyer Memorial Park has no beach nor any supervised swimming.


The lakes are in between State Route 281 and U.S. Route 11. Both 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.


The eastern end of Upper Little York Lake in the hamlet of Little York from Dwyer Memorial Park. This is a good spot to look for passerines as the shrubbiness of the vegetation along the shore provides ideal habitat for these birds.


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)

For a rural area, the hamlet of Little York has a lot going on, especially in summer. You could plan an entire day around boating on the lake, biking the local roads, shopping at Little York Plantation, The Crawl Space, and Frog Pond Farm Folk Art Gallery, and then enjoying a play at Cortland Repertory Theatre or some great music at the Homer Center for the Arts. The nearest eateries are in the Village of Homer. Check them out here.


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 December 2009








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