About the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway

The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway circles the longest of New York’s Finger Lakes.

Running from Seneca Falls in the north to Ithaca in the south, the 87-mile route forms one of the nation’s few true loop byways.

It’s the only one to mix wine country ambience with towering waterfalls, deep gorges and ocean-like views, rural and woodland landscapes, and numerous recreational, natural, tourist, and cultural attractions.


Officially designated a New York State Scenic Byway in 2002 by the New York State Department of Transportation, the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway surrounds Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.  The route, themed around Cayuga Lake, features scenic views of the lake and its shores, rural and woodland landscapes and numerous intrinsic recreational, natural, tourist and cultural attractions.

An alternative to State Routes 96, 36, 14 and Interstate 81, the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway offers tourists an opportunity to observe the glacial-formed Cayuga Lake, visit local wineries and farms, explore the region’s villages and hamlets and utilize Cayuga Lake’s extensive recreational resources.

The Byway is managed by a not-for-profit, Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, Inc., with a Board of Directors made up of business and governmental representatives of the adjacent counties of Cayuga, Seneca and Tompkins.  This Board meets on a regular basis at different regional locations around Cayuga Lake to oversee the development and implementation of the Byway’s Corridor Management Plan.

Vision Statement

The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway is a diverse transportation corridor, which links scenic views of Cayuga Lake and the surrounding agricultural and woodlands; year-round recreational opportunities; historical resources; wineries; the City of Ithaca and quaint village and hamlet areas to form an interesting, inviting rural traveling experience.


The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan seeks to capitalize upon the unique nature of the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway Route in order to generate sustainable economic growth along the Corridor through tourism and related development activities.


The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, focusing on Cayuga Lake as the central feature, seeks to:

  • Highlight the scenic beauty of the region by encouraging tourism along the Lake;
  • Unify the numerous natural, recreation, tourism, economic and cultural resources along the Lake through signage and marketing materials;
  • Attract increased travel and sustainable economic development activity along the Byway Route;
  • Support tourist activity through carefully designed and placed signs, interpretive centers and information kiosks;
  • Develop existing Byway resources through the implementation of a Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway Master Plan;
  • Manage and improve the Byway routes and facilities to ensure traveler safety, responsible development decisions and community support;
  • Provide the foundation for a Comprehensive Finger Lakes Scenic Byway network;
  • Manage the various resources along the Lake to create a sustainable byway and ensure conservation of the many natural resources.

Plan Objectives

  • The development of interpretive/information kiosks to tell the story of Cayuga Lake’s geology, history, industry and culture;
  • The use of themed signage to link the Lake’s amenities together as a regional system;
  • The development of a regional marketing campaign that looks beyond each County as a single destination to themed tours along the Lake;
  • Monitoring changes in tourism based activity in order to gauge the impact of the Scenic Byway activity on the local economy, and make future recommendations.