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Photo Credit: Le Oemcke, Fulton Area Snow Travelers

Chautauqua County Getaway Guide

Sponsored by:

Fairway Suites Fairway Suites’s Chautauqua County is an experience to treasure!

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By Paul Weatherlow

Located in the southwestern corner of New York State between Buffalo, New York and Erie, Pennsylvania, Chautauqua County has grown in popularity over the years with snowmobilers. Boasting an average snowfall of over 235 inches, with easy access from Buffalo, Pennsylvania and Ohio via 1-86 and I-90, passionate riders cruise the 450 plus miles of trails with great enthusiasm. They love the variety of experiences available, across wide open farm fields, along abandoned railroad beds, through wooded trails, and down fire break roads in state forest lands.

All trails and junctions are well signed and well-groomed by a combined fleet of 25 large Class A groomers. Two seasons ago we added signs at every junction. All maintenance is performed by 100% all-volunteer club members.

The beautiful blue lakes in the Summer and the tons of fluffy white snow in the Winter are the biggest seasonal attractions.

Summertime: Cruise the lakes by boat, dock right at many eating establishments. Attend the Chautauqua Institution’s educational forums or amphitheater entertainment consisting of world renown groups and entertainers. Golf any of the smaller courses or the larger 18 and 36 hole courses at places like Chautauqua or the Peek’n Peak Ski Resort. Lucyfest, Bemus Bay Pops, and lots more.

Wintertime: WinterFest, Super Snowmobile Weekend, All Club Ride- In, Poker Runs, Ice Castle Weekend with Fireworks, Weiner Roast, dinner rides, ECR Snowcross, etc. There is something happening every weekend during the snowmobiling season. Alternate activities include skiing or tubing at the Peek’n Peak Ski Resort, ice fishing, cross country skiing, and again the Ice Castle Weekend with fireworks.

Plenty of places to stay, trailheads to park and unload, convenience stores for gas and snacks, restaurants and taverns for your “snowmobile stories”. Every membership with any of the five clubs includes a copy of our county-wide paper map.

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Chautauqua County receives snowmobilers from Buffalo, Cleveland, and Pittsburg every weekend. Snowmobilers from all over western New York, western Pennsylvania, and Ohio come here to ride. We are hours closer than upper Ontario, upper New York, or Quebec.

Paper Trail Maps: The Chautauqua County Snowmobile Trail Map is 24x36 inches on heavy glossy paper. 90 advertiser ads are on the back or surrounding the map. All 90 locations are marked with different symbols for food, fuel, dealers, lodging, and other. All are symbol coded and numbered to match the ad. Plus 20 trailheads marked with a TH symbol. Great signage and a trail map makes it hard to get lost, a plus when you are new to the area. With 15+ lodging locations, 38+ food & drink establishments, 12+ gas stations, and all the major snowmobile dealerships either on the trail or just a short drive by car, we are truly the accessible wilderness. For when you come, here are just a couple of the 20 trailheads on the map:

  • • at any of our motels, or bed & breakfasts (for guests)
  • • Bemus Point: near the Bemus Point Golf Course
  • • Cassadaga: behind Shurfine
  • • Findley Lake: just off the I-86 exit
  • • Mayville: at old depot, Lakeside Park, and clubhouse
  • • Sheridan: across from Aunt Millie’s restaurant
  • • Sherman: behind the main street businesses

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My Favorite Places to Ride

By Paul Weatherlow

Chautauqua Sunset

It’s difficult to name just a favorite trail or just one favorite place to stop. I mostly think of the scenes in my head from all the previous rides. The late-at-night ride with my 2 kids when we stopped on a large hill in an open field and looked up at all the stars against a pitch black sky. Off in the distant where the tall pines were there was a little black hole where we were to continue riding into the forest. They both still remember it all these years later.

I will always remember Cherry Creek’s Million Dollar View of Chautauqua County. The old trolley line and the little sign indicating a dividing line. Water to the left of the sign runs down to Lake Erie, goes over Niagara Falls, through Lake Ontario, along the Saint Lawrence River and finally into the Atlantic ocean. Water to the right of the sign runs down into Chautauqua Lake, empties out by Jamestown, eventually passes Pittsburg, down the mighty Mississippi, and finally into the Gulf of Mexico.

Riding down from the Ellery Center area and stopping to look at Chautauqua Lake in the distance, quite scenic on a sunny day.

The long hill across from my Daughter’s place where a dozen sleds riding in line were disappearing into the distance...

Paul Weatherlow
Paul Weatherlow

“Stop once in a while and make your own favorite memories on any of the trails in Chautauqua County!”

Rent a Sled! With so many other winter activities available, this area is a great place to take family members who don’t ride, and to easily introduce your sled-less friends to the sport! The following business has snowmobile rentals, guided tours, trailside service and recovery.

Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Services
P.O. Box 181 Bemus Point, NY 14712
Phone (716) 581-LAKE (5253)

For more information about visiting and riding in Chautauqua County, contact the Chautauqua County Tourism Bureau, PO Box 1441, Rt. 394 Chautauqua, NY 14722, or, or phone (866) 908-4569. Their website has lots of information regarding: what to do, where to stay, where to play, what to learn, where to dine, and where to shop in Chautauqua County

Covered Bridge Challenge decal

Enter to win the 2nd Annual
Covered Bridge Challenge!

Covered Bridge Challenge bridge Once again, riders are challenged to brave the elements and either ride or trailer to five Covered Bridges found on two routes spanning the eastern and western sides of New York State! As luck would have it, the covered bridge on the Ellery Sno Cruisers’ trails in one of the bridges! Receive your 2016-7 Winner's Decal by riding across each of the 5 bridges on either route, posting a selfie of you, your sled and the bridge you have just crossed! Sponsored in part by the Chautauqua County Visitor’s bureau.

Happy Trails! Download your brochure at and plan your ride!

Use our FAQ page...

LEARN HOW-TO find club trails, trail ID’s, trail conditions, webcams, parking, club houses, businesses (where to stop), snowfall, intersections, PLAN routes, SAVE routes (to your own private account, or to make public), PRINT ROUTES, import routes to your free no-reception-needed “Snowmobiling NY” trail app on your smartphone, and more! How-To Videos also available.

Chautauqua County FAQ Map