Saturday, April 16, 2016

Finger Lakes National Forest, NY

Finger Lakes National Forest - New York DEC
Backbone Ridge - Backbone Ridge History Group

GPS Coordinates 42.45399, -76.78603
Parking for 3-4 cars off of Mark Smith Road.

Finger Lakes National Forest - Backbone Ridge History Group

HIKE DISTANCE:  8.7 miles

This hike is from the book Five-Star Trails - Finger Lakes and Central New York.  We did not want the touristy, crowded, manicured state park hikes that are so popular in the Finger Lakes Region.  We wanted solitude and natural scenery and that is exactly what we got!
Granddog Sebastian and my son came along today.  My son's fiancee was sick so she could not come and we missed her!
From the parking area, cross straight over Mark Smith Road to the blue-blazed Gorge Trail.
Sebastian pooped almost immediately so they went to take the poop bag back to the car, which made for a better picture of the entire parking area.
The trail goes uphill then soon follows along the top of a scenic gorge.
At the first T-intersection, turn right on the orange-blazed Interloken Trail.
Camera Shy
It wasn't long before we both changed into shorts.  It was already warm when we started at 10 AM.
Downy Woodpecker.  There were woodpeckers everywhere on this hike.
At the next intersection, the orange-blazed Interloken Trail continues straight.  That would be our return route.  We turned right on the mostly not blue-blazed Burnt Hill Trail (which is so well-defined blazes really aren't necessary).  In retrospect, I wish we would have done this hike in reverse staying on the Interloken Trail and coming back on the Burnt Hill Trail - all of the views would have been ahead of us versus behind us that way.
But not knowing any better at the time, right on the Burnt Hill Trail.
About the only blue blazes I saw on this trail.
As you can see, a very well-defined trail.
I think this might be an immature yellow-bellied sapsucker - if anyone knows for sure, please comment!
He was posing so nicely for the camera I got a ton of pictures.
The Burnt Hill Trail crosses a road and while crossing we notice something white up ahead to the left  Could it be?  The son went to scout it out...
Yes, a patch of snow on this almost 70 degree spring day!
Back to crossing over the road...  Immediately after crossing go through a gate making sure to close it because in the summer cattle will be grazing on the pastures we will be going through.  There were no cows today, much to Shawnee's delight.  She loves horses but has always been terrified of cows.
Some scenery to the east starts to come into view.
Coming out onto the meadow where cattle will be grazing soon.
It's easy to see the trail here, too, cutting across the meadow.
At the far end, another gate.
And break time.
We went off trail for a bit through a section of barbed wire fence that was missing to ...
... a nice view to the east.
Back on the trail.
The very wet trail follows along outside the barbed wire fence.
Views east from the trail.
Looking back, the views would have been more easily visible going the other way.
The Burnt Hill Trail ends at a parking lot on Picnic Area Road.
Turn left for a very scenic downhill road walk. OK, in the opposite direction, this part would have been uphill and not so scenic.
After about a mile of road walking, turn left at the Ravine Trail parking area and continue on to the blue-blazed Ravine Loop Trail.
It's VERY steep here.
The creek down below.
A couple blow downs make it a little tricky to get to the creek crossing.
Climbing up out of the ravine.
Time for another break.
At Burnt Hill Road it's a little unclear where to go with no signs or markings visible but turn right...
... and after a few steps turn left on to the continuation of the Ravine Trail.
At the end of the Ravine Trail, right on the orange-blazed Interloken Trail.
What could Sebastian be wanting?
Shawnee totally has him turned on to the chicken jerky break concept.
There are some boardwalks in this area but often you have to wade through mud to get to them!
Now crossing the pasture ...
... with views to the west over Seneca Lake which is out of sight down below.
I think that might actually be Seneca Lake to the left right above the treeline.
One lonely little apple tree at the far end of the meadow.
Leaving the meadow ...
... and crossing the road.
Back at the intersection with the Burnt Hill Trail, continue straight across and retrace back to the Gorge Trail.
Thankful for an opportunity to rinse all of that mud off before getting back into the car.
Down below, Mark Smith Road...
... and the parking area.
Because it was a 4-hour drive and a long hike, the dogs were served dinner in the car.  Then two hours later when we stopped for gas...
Anyone want a burger?
Two happy, tired hikers wishing there were more burgers.


  1. I love your pictures...especially the remarks. Had to laugh at the last photo of the two tired hikers wishing there were more burgers.:) I've been up to the finger lakes area and it is beautiful! Not hiking just driving. Thanks for sharing! Joanne

    1. Yes, it is a very pretty area. Thanks!