limmerglass State Park, located eight miles outside the village of Cooperstown, overlooks Otsego Lake, the "Glimmerglass" of James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. The rolling, partially-wooded terrain is host to a wide variety of wildlife. An uphill trail through the forest affords a spectacular view of Otsego Lake; the Beaver Pond and Woodland trails are picturesque and of interest for the variety of wildflowers, shrubs, ferns and mosses. The Hyde Hall Mansion, Covered Bridge, and a self-guided Beaver Pond Nature Trail are within park boundaries and open to visitors. Winter visitors can go tubing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, showshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, winter hiking.
We do this trail once a year while we're visiting Glimmerglass Lake. It is a well maintained and easy to follow trail with parking just off from the trailhead. If you continue down past the entrance to the trail there is a nice stone bench overlooking the lake and it's a good spot to catch a quick pre-hike snack. The trail starts off steep and runs through the woods, there isn't a lot of scenery but there is a small amount of wild life (squirrels, chipmunks, and birds) that you will encounter. As you crest the hill and start heading back down in elevation it starts to get a little muddy, but that's nothing to worry about most times of the year. The trail ends over past the "tin top" and the Hyde Hall visitor center nearby. You will need to walk down the "roadway" owned by Hyde Hall to get back to the parking lot at the trail head so now is a great time to stop and visit the Hall as well! If you time it good, you can finish up the hike right before a tour starts.
The trail was well marked with a good mix of hill and level areas. It had just snowed the night before so the terrain was a bit slippery at some points. If you are looking for a trail to see the lake the whole time then this probably is not the right one. It starts out and finishes besides the lake allowing for views buy majority of the hike is through the forest. Saw plenty of deer and was very tranquil. Dog friendly. The Hyde House would be a welcome treat at the end to explore in the summer.
This is a quick and easy trail that was great for my 2 and 7 year-olds. My wife was still recovering from a broken ankle and didn't have any trouble with the terrain. On this particular late-Fall day we saw a lot of deer (sheltering in the no-hunting-zone of Glimmerglass State Park) and chipmunks, and got a great view of a Pileated Woodpecker. Animal sightings make the boys happy. For a casual hike you can do with kids in a couple of hours that's not too far out of Cooperstown, Sleeping Lion is handy. We probably hike it a couple of times a year.