Hey Darren. It would be hard to beat Allegheny (both the state park and the national forest) for local hiking material - you know, close to home. And the only mountains in the state are the Adirondacks, definitely worth the drive - especially the High Peaks. It's the most vertical you will find, unless you want to drive to New Hampshire and try out the White Mtns.

For day hikes close to Ellicotville, there is a network of trails kinda south of the ski area. If you go to a local bike shop in town, I bet they'd have a map of the area and good directions for how to get there. The Western NY Mtn Bike Association (WNYMBA) does a lot of trail-work there.

A little further out of town, and to the north is an Erie County Park named Spraguebrook that has a few nice, day-hike trails (also kept up by WNYMBA).

Happy Trails...

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