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Hiking in Upstate NY
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Evan Parker
(ecp12) - F

Locale: Upstate NY
Hiking in Upstate NY on 03/29/2011 09:29:31 MDT Print View

Hi guys,

I'm still relatively new here but I'm running into trouble trying to find places near my home town to exactly hike. I'm sure it's an experience thing, but I can't seem to find much. When I say Upstate NY, I mean around Ithaca/Corning, which can be confusing since most people associate New York with NYC, and the rest of the state is hence termed "Upstate". I have found only two potential hikes so far; I found Buttermilk falls in Ithaca (which is relatively short) and the Finger Lakes Trail which doesn't seem really regulated too well. So, I guess if you guys could help me find some stuff and tell me exactly where you looked, I will be a better man because of it! Thanks so much in advance, and if this is in the wrong discussion, sorry!


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Hiking in Upstate NY on 03/29/2011 11:07:59 MDT Print View

Well, Ithaca is now my home town and has been for the last 12-13 years. That said, I agree that there is a shortage of good hikes in the immediate area. Anything within a half hour drive is pretty much very tame. Some of the state forests are available for hiking and back-woods camping. Mostly, just forest terrain. Hammond State Forest is pretty good. And there is also the Interlocken Trail, but this is a bit further out. There is always the Finger Lakes Trail, but this is partially road hiking, badly urbanizied, and not in the same caliber as the ADK's. I quickly did these hikes over the first summer, again the second summer, and once again with my daughter...well, anything within about an hour and a half...there are some nice sections. Lots of day hikes, not too many overnight or deep woods hiking.

I usually head into the ADK's for most of my hiking. Usually leaving about 0400 in the morning and getting to a trail head about 0900. Quite a few in that range...hundreds, literally. Many are geared to canoes. Many are geared for hiking.
My thoughts only . . .

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
WNY on 03/29/2011 21:46:25 MDT Print View

Surprisingly, there's some pretty good terrain here in the leftmost tip of the state. Long-distance epics are in short supply but Allegany has some good hiking, Zoar Valley and Letchworth Gorge provide some pretty spectacular scenery (Zoar in particular is a lot more rugged with more "adventure" potential, due to the unfortunate touristization of letchworth) and the obscure, trailless gorges of chautauqua county are beautiful; Arkwright gorge is relatively smaller but offers some great knife-edge mossy ridge hikes and unusual waterfalls, Chautauqua gorge has some spectacular cliffs and ridges, great swimming holes and a steep tributary canyon that features nice waterfalls every 25 feet or so (requires some climbing), and twentymile creek is supposedly the most rugged and least-visited of the bunch. I will be making my first visit(s) this summer.

There are also some gorges above silvercreek I've been meaning to check out.

Given all this as well as Ithaca's "gorges" reputation I really suspect that for mid/western NY, gorge-exploring is really where it's at. Climbing cliffs, scaling waterfalls, splashing in remote swimming holes, and quixotic quests to "find the source" are the delights to be found here; horizontal mileage, not so much.

That said, I've got some ultra-minimalist high-mileage stuff in mind for this summer, for example a trek from fredonia (my hometown) up the arkwright gorge to a rural roadwalk to a swim across lake chautauqua to another roadwalk to a trek down the chautauqua gorge to the lake, then a hike across the lake and back up the canadaway to fredonia, done in 4 days. It's not traditional backpacking fare, but it should be a heck of an adventure! Once one really knows an area the possibilities for outdoor adventure, even where none was previously apparent, come to seem endless.

Extra tip: scan around your area with google maps set to the "terrain" view. When you see deep squiggly lines in the terrain, you're looking at a gorge. Often these gorges, despite having absolutely no reputation as good places for hiking, turn out to be fantastic places to explore. Many of my best experiences in the area came about this way. Sometimes these may involve sneaking onto private property, so ymmv dependent on your personal ethics with regard to that.

Edited by er1kksen on 03/29/2011 21:49:56 MDT.