Late Fall trail scouting trip.
The North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) is a premier footpath that stretches for about 4,600 miles linking communities, forests, and prairies across seven northern states. Already, more than 1,800 miles have been certified off-road. Additional miles follow shared paths, and some road walks remain. When completed it will be the longest off-road hiking trail in the United States.
The North Country National Scenic Trail follows existing trails whenever feasible—in New York State, the Finger Lakes Trail, the Link Trail, and the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park Towpath Trail to Rome are utilized. Within the City of Rome, planning is underway to provide a trail northward to Lake Delta along the Mohawk River route. Further north, the NCNST follows the BREIA trail from Pixley Falls to Boonville, with additional segments carrying the NCNST to Forestport. Think of this as two highway routes occupying the same roadbed for a distance.
The Link Trail was designed to connect the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) with the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park Towpath Trail. While those two trails run east-west across New York’s Southern Tier, the Link Trail goes north-south in the central part of the state, east of Syracuse.
The Link Trail was also designed to connect natural, cultural, and historic resources and to establish links between disconnected public lands. From its south terminus, it traverses Chenango – Madison 9 State Forest, Muller Hill State Forest, Three Springs State Forest, Tioughnioga Wildlife Management Area, Dugway County Forest, the Nelson Swamp Unique Area, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park near Cazenovia, the Village of Cazenovia with its historic homes, shops and restaurants, Lorenzo State Historic Site, Chittenango Falls State Park (via a future side trail) and the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park at Canastota, NY.
Note: there are two “gaps” in the trail where a road walk is currently necessary:
Link Trail Roadwalks
Since the Link/NCTA trail stretches north to south across Madison County, it necessarily crosses private as well as public lands. Permission from private landowners is required and has not always been able to be obtained. Therefore, there are several sections where road walks bridge the gaps in this woodland trail.
The two longest road walks on the Link Trail are:
In the northern half: From Freber Rd (the old Hodge Rd) to the intersection of Ingalls Corners and Quarry Road (approximately 3 miles). The former Lehigh Valley Railroad (LVRR) right-of-way through this section no longer exist. The land is privately owned and used for agriculture and other purposes. The connecting road walk utilizes Freber, Irish Ridge, Seidenbaum, and Quarry Roads as it goes through the town of Peterboro.
In the southern half: At one time the trail was complete, traversing over a beautiful section of hillside between Rt 80 and Dugway Road. However, a 0.8 mile section of privately owned land in this section changed ownership and permission to keep the trail there was lost. Until an alternate option is secured, this short gap now necessitates a 4 mile road walk into and out of the town of Sheds to re-acquire the trail. Hikers must use the roads and not trespass on private property in this trail section.
Other road walks on the trail include the following shorter segments (starting from the south):
Crumb Hill and Wood Roads (south of Muller Hill)
Irish Hill and Hardscrabble Roads (southeast of Cazenovia)
Constine Bridge and Stone Quarry Rds (south of Cazenovia)
Chenango St and Rt 20 (in Cazenovia… this is all sidewalk rather than road)
Main St plus several residential side streets in Canastota (note: this will be re-routed in the near future due to a new village plan, and will likely use Rt 5 and Peterboro Rd. to bisect the heart of downtown Canastota)
Note: The trail is open from Cazenovia to Freber Road (aka Hodge Road). From the Ingalls Corner trailhead, the trail is open to the downtown section of the Village of Canastota. The northern terminus of the Link Trail is at the Canal Museum on North Canal Street in the village.
The North Country Trail Association is the nationwide non-profit organization that works in partnership with the National Park Service to build, maintain and promote the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST), which is also referred to as the “North Country Trail” (NCT). In New York State, the Central New York Chapter North Country Trail Association is responsible for the North Country Trail from the now established junction with the extended Onondaga Branch of the Finger Lakes Trail. to the “Blue Line” of the Adirondack Park. Blue Line. In addition, to enhance recreational opportunities on the North Country Trail in this area, the CNY Chapter also accepts the noted responsibilities for that portion of the Link Trail which provides a direct connection between the North Country Trail and the main Finger Lakes Trail in Chenango County.
Summer "work" hike.
Summer along the trail.
The Link Trail
North Country National Scenic Trail