Hiking & Trail Running

Hiking & Trail Running

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Local Resources | 0 comments

Danby State Forest

Location: 9.5 miles south of Ithaca

Activities: Hiking, primitive camping (lean-tos available), trail running, fishing, hunting, xc-skiing

Trails: Finger Lakes Trail (Thru-hike), Abbot Loop (8 miles)


-Abbot Loop: Parking is available on Michigan Hill Rd at both the North and South ends of the loop

-Tamarack Lean-To: Park on Durfee Hill Rd, off 96b; cross 96b to trailhead

-Chestnut Lean-To: Park at junction of Bald Hill and Comfort Rd, access trail to north off of Bald Hill Rd


-The FLT runs through this forest, and between Comfort Hill Rd and 96b hikers can have a consistent backcountry experience with few road crossings. While the Abbot Loops offers the best views, rising up to the Pinnacles overlooking rural Danby and Ithaca, the entire FLT trail immerses hikers in a quiet, forested landscape. The northern half of the Abbot loop boasts large trees and trails, and the southern half more swampy (albeit enjoyable) hikes in wetter weather. Danby is a great location for those looking to try their hand at backcountry camping and backpacking.

For trail runners, the Abbot Loop provides technical trail and solid hill climbing, and is the location for the FLRC’s Danby Down n’ Dirty 10 and 20k.


Shindagin Hollow State Forest

Location: 15 miles south east of Ithaca, in Brooktondale

Activities: Mountain Biking, Hiking, primitive camping (lean-tos available), trail running, xc-skiing

Trails: Finger Lakes Trail (Thru-hike), Yellow Trail, Red Trail, Blue Trail

Parking at Bald Hill School Rd, Brailey Hill Rd (N. and S.), Shindagin Hollow Rd

Notes: A large forest with a wild-west feel, Shindagin offers the best mountain biking in central New York. Riders, runners, backpackers, and hikers can easily plan their own adventure from Shindagin’s many interconnected trail systems.

Hammond Hill State Forest

Location: 15. miles east of Ithaca, in Freeville

Activities: Mountain Biking, Hiking, primitive camping (lean-tos available), trail running, xc-skiing

Trails: Finger Lakes Trail (Thru-hike), Yellow Trail (5.6 miles), Blue Trail (1.4 miles), Red Trail (1.7 miles), Green Trail (1.7), Finger Lakes Trail (Thru-hike, 3.2 miles in area)

Access: Parking at junction of Star Stanton Rd and Canaan Rd

Notes: A favorite by local bikers and cross-country skiers. Access can be difficult in winter.

For more information, check out the DEC’s site.


South Hill Rec Trail 

Activities: Hiking, trail running, exploring gorges, playground

Trails: Main gravel trail way (3.3 miles), Blue-blazed trail (? miles)

Access: Parking at Juniper St. and Burns Rd. (Can be accessed by foot at Coddington and Hudson at the foot of Ithaca College and across from the elementary school respectively as well)

Notes: This trail system might not be deep in the backcountry, but once you get out into it you’ll never know you’re in the city. Wide packed gravel trails are accessible at Coddington rd, Hudson st, Burns rd, and Juniper Dr., and are favorite for local runners, bikers, and walkers; there are benches and picnic tables along this path as well. For those looking to get onto some single-track trail, several blue-blazed and unmarked trails will lead you on winding paths to and along winding creeks, waterfalls, and ponds. These trails can connect to the Mulholland Flower Preserve and Ithaca Natural Lands easily, turning what appears to be a small, urban trail into a sprawling single-track adventure.

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