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Looking for a manageable road trip for adventurous travelers with chronic illness? You’ve come to the right place. Shorter trips are less stressful but not less fun! Here is a simple road trip in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York you’re going to love. It’s geared toward autoimmune warriors seeking a balance of adventure and self-care.

Five Reasons Why Short Road Trips Benefit Travelers With Chronic Illness

Brief journeys allow for more manageable pacing, minimizing physical strain and fatigue often associated with prolonged travel.

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Shorter road trips facilitate greater control over meal planning, ensuring a focus on nourishing, inflammation-reducing foods to support overall well-being.

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The flexibility of shorter trips enables easier adaptation to unexpected health fluctuations, fostering a sense of security.

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Embracing the healing power of nature during brief getaways provides rejuvenation without overwhelming the immune system, promoting a harmonious connection between travel and health.

Lastly, the shorter duration encourages a deeper appreciation of each moment, emphasizing mindfulness and self-reflection, vital elements for autoimmune warriors on their healing journey.

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Embarking on shorter road trips holds these unique and important benefits, without sacrificing natural beauty and adventure. For example, two underrated state parks in upstate New York you’re guaranteed to love! I spent a week exploring both of these parks and know you’ll love them. In addition, there is a sample itinerary for stopping points between the two. On the route you’ll view wildlife, learn history, and be inspired by the cultures of the past.

Robert H. Treman State Park, which is located in picturesque Ithaca, NY is your first stop. Next, you’ll travel north to Minnewaska State Park Preserve, to quiet Kerhonkson, NY. Of course you could reverse your direction and travel north to south just as easily. Read on to begin planning this easy breezy journey!


These two parks are 3 hours away from each other, and diverse enough that you will definitely feel that you’re in two totally different destinations. I’ve experienced both parks and highly recommend spending quality time at each. I’ll compare their features at the end of the article to help you sort out the specifics. But first, let’s jump into the many reasons why you can’t pass up these winners.


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Nestled within New York’s Finger Lakes region, Robert H. Treman State Park is a natural haven that provides the perfect blend of swimming and camping. With its captivating waterfalls and well-equipped camping facilities, this park provides a peaceful natural landscape. 


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 Robert Treman State Park boasts natural pools nestled beneath picturesque waterfalls. These are not just swimming spots; they’re refreshing sanctuaries. Close your eyes and you may wonder if you’re vacationing at an exotic plateau or butte. Open them and you’ll smile at how accessible being surrounded by the soothing sounds of nature can be. Bask on the rocky shores, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, and let the rush of the falls wash your worries away.

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Looking for an overnight adventure? The park offers quiet camping areas that allow you to fully embrace the natural beauty and mindfulness of the region. Pitch your tent amidst the towering trees and serene streams. I have had the privilege of camping in amazing places like Vermont, Maine, and California, and confidently rank Robert Treman among the best.


At Robert Treman State Park you will find fascinating geological features amongst the picturesque landscape. One of the most striking is the presence of dramatic gorges carved over millennia by the force of water. These gorges, like Enfield Glen, have been shaped by streams and cascading waterfalls. This creates a breathtaking labyrinth of rocky cliffs and serene pools. 

As you hike along the park’s trails, you’ll be able to witness the intricate layering of sedimentary rock formations, such as shale and sandstone, which tell a story of ancient seas and the passage of time.

Finally, cascading waterfalls are a prize highlight of the park’s geology. The exotic rocks surrounding you paint a southwest environment. However, no need to travel to Utah or Arizona for these jaw-dropping views and features! They’re right here in the northeast!

First to see is Lucifer Falls, which is undoubtedly the most iconic. At 115-feet, this waterfall plunges dramatically over a rocky ledge, showcasing the power of erosion and water’s ability to shape the landscape. The relentless flow of water has chiseled away at the rocks, exposing layers of gorgeous rock.


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It’s hard to believe this gem is virtually unknown to the Tri-State Area. Nestled in the heart of the Hudson Valley in New York, Minnewaska State Park Preserve is a haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. 

This pristine wilderness sanctuary is renowned for its stunning landscapes, crystal-clear mountain lakes, and extensive network of scenic trails. What sets this park apart from the rest is the vast expanse of open space. You can literally feel like you are the only one there in multiple places in the park.

Azure Lakes and Rugged Terrain

At the heart of Minnewaska State Park Preserve lie two mesmerizing, sky-blue mountain lakes—Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting. These pristine bodies of water, set against a backdrop of rugged cliffs and lush forests, create an enchanting and serene atmosphere that beckons exploration.

Unique Waterfalls

Minnewaska is home to several unusual waterfalls, including the 50-foot Awosting Falls. These cascading wonders provide tranquil spots for relaxation and contemplation, with the soothing sounds of rushing water creating a serene backdrop.

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 Hiking and Biking

Minnewaska State Park Preserve’s hiking and biking trails offer a multitude of opportunities to explore the natural wonders of this captivating wilderness. Whether you’re seeking solitude in the woods, panoramic views from rocky cliffs, or a thrilling ride through diverse landscapes, the park’s trails provide a memorable journey into the heart of nature’s beauty.


Trail Maps and Information: 

The park provides maps and information at trailheads, making it easy to plan your hiking and biking adventures. Rangers are also available to offer guidance and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

The park boasts an extensive network of well-maintained trails that wind through diverse ecosystems, including rocky ridges, dense woodlands, and open meadows. Hikers of all levels will find trails that suit their preferences, from leisurely strolls to challenging scrambles. Each step unveils breathtaking vistas, making every hike a memorable journey into the heart of nature.

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Awosting Falls Trail: This moderate hike leads to the spectacular Awosting Falls, a 50-foot cascade nestled amidst lush greenery. The trail provides an excellent introduction to the park’s beauty.

Gertrude’s Nose Trail: A favorite among experienced hikers, this challenging route offers panoramic views from the dramatic cliffs known as “Gertrude’s Nose.” It’s a trek that rewards your efforts with breathtaking vistas of the Hudson Valley.

Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road: For a leisurely lakeside stroll, this level trail encircles Lake Minnewaska, providing peaceful waterside views and opportunities for birdwatching.

Rainbow Falls Path: This short but steep hike takes you to the base of the enchanting Rainbow Falls. The sight and sound of the cascading water make this trail a treat for the senses.


Another activity to add to your road trip for adventurous travelers with chronic illness is biking. Minnewaska State Park Preserve is also a playground for cyclists. The park offers a mix of paved and unpaved roads, making it ideal for both road biking and mountain biking. Whether you prefer a relaxed ride or an adrenaline-pumping descent, you’ll find the perfect trail.

Sam’s Point Area: This region of the park features a network of carriage roads that are well-suited for mountain biking. The trails take you through diverse landscapes, including forests and open ridges, offering a thrilling biking experience.

biking in NY for adventurous travelers

Paved Roads: If road biking is your passion, the park’s paved roads provide scenic routes with sweeping views of the surrounding wilderness. The climbs and descents add an element of excitement to your ride.

Rock Climbing and Bouldering

For thrill-seekers, Minnewaska offers rock climbing and bouldering opportunities along the dramatic cliffs. The challenge of scaling these ancient rock formations is rewarded with panoramic views that will leave climbers awe-struck.

park in NY for your Road Trip for Adventurous Travelers With Chronic Illness

Minnewaska State Park Preserve is a majestic sanctuary where nature’s beauty unfolds in every direction. It’s an invitation to explore, discover, and find solace in the midst of one of New York’s most captivating wilderness areas. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful escape, this preserve promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of nature’s wonders.

Hit The Road

Now you’re ready to see two glorious New York State Parks that offer natural beauty, outdoor adventure, camping, swimming and hiking. But wait! There’s more!

Embarking on a road trip between Robert Treman State Park and Minnewaska State Park Preserve in New York offers so much more fun along the way! In addition to exploring through the picturesque landscapes of upstate New York, here are some road trip stops to consider along the way:

This road trip between Robert Treman State Park and Minnewaska State Park Preserve will not only satisfy your sense of adventure but also provide opportunities for learning, connecting with nature, and creating beautiful memories along the way. 

  1. Taughannock Falls State Park: Located near Ithaca, this park boasts one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. Take a short hike to witness the impressive 215-foot waterfall cascading into a gorge.
  2. Watkins Glen State Park: Known for its stunning gorge trail, Watkins Glen is a must-visit. The trail takes you past 19 waterfalls and through captivating rock formations. It’s a true gem for nature lovers and photographers.
  3. Finger Lakes Wineries: The Finger Lakes region is famous for its wineries. Consider stopping at one or two along the way to enjoy some wine tasting and beautiful vineyard scenery.
  4. Corning Museum of Glass: In Corning, New York, you’ll find the world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass. Explore the art and history of glass making, and even try your hand at glassblowing.
  5. Seneca Lake: Take a detour and enjoy some time by the stunning Seneca Lake. You can relax by the shore, go for a swim, or even rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the clear waters.
  6. Buttermilk Falls State Park: This park, not far from Ithaca, offers another beautiful waterfall experience. Hike the trails to reach cascading falls, and you might even find a serene swimming hole.
  7. New Paltz: As you get closer to Minnewaska State Park Preserve, consider stopping in the charming town of New Paltz. It’s known for its vibrant arts scene, local shops, and excellent dining options.
  8. Mohonk Preserve: Just before reaching Minnewaska, you’ll find the Mohonk Preserve, known for its pristine trails, dramatic cliffs, and serene forests. It’s a great place for a refreshing hike.
  9. Sam’s Point Preserve: Located within the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Sam’s Point is famous for its unique geological features, including ice caves and rock formations. It’s an adventurer’s paradise.
  10. Minnewaska State Park Preserve: Finally, arrive at Minnewaska itself. Explore its crystal-clear lakes, numerous hiking trails, and breathtaking views from the cliffs. It’s an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

So load up your backpack and tent. Mount your bike and kayak. Grab some essentials and keep it simple for the easiest energized outdoor adventure in outstanding upstate New York. To expand your self healing even further, consider these vacations that can boost your mental health. In this guide you’ll find different destinations suited for every style including road trips, beaches, and even resorts. Take your healing to the next level.

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