One of my favorite parks in Upstate New York (and endlessly popular amongst the Ithaca and Binghamton University crowd) is the delicious sounding Buttermilk Falls State Park. Just as pretty as Watkins Glen State Park and distinctly less crowded, the 811 acre park boasts a small lake, woodland and gorge-side hiking trails, a natural pool and camping.
There are several trails to choose from, but the prettiest and most popular of the hikes is the Gorge Trail which runs down the bottom of the gorge alongside the river. There are beautiful waterfalls and colored pools to admire on the walk. Some hikers even take advantage of the shallow river water to wade along the banks!
This trail can be continued across the street to the woodsy Bear Trail and even further to the Lake Treman Trail, which unsurprisingly circles Lake Treman and connects to the much more arduous Finger Lakes Trail. Alternatively, one can turn back on the Rim Trail to get back to the parking lot for a shorter hike. The trails can be pretty steep- especially the Lake Treman trail which hauls up and down the cliff surrounding the lake for the best views- but are ultimately well traveled and provide an excellent day for inexperienced and more practiced hikers alike.
The variety of environments on the hike vary depending on which trail one chooses to take, but keep in mind that the farther trails do require a quick hop across the road so be mindful of passing cars.