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Best of the North Country
Trail in NY
Lehigh Valley Railroad
A pleasant walk along an old railroad bed next to Willseyville Creek makes this one of the best of the North Country National Scenic Trail in all of New York. This 2.9 mile round trip hike has very little elevation change and can be enjoyed by all members of your family.
This whole section of trail is located on private property and hikers should not wonder off the main trail. At the parking area located off Ridgeway Road there is a picnic table and plenty of parking. You can locate the parking area with the distinct yellow Finger Lakes Trail sign on a tree. It may be easier to locate by looking for where the power lines cross the road.
From the parking area, head toward the power line trail and a lonely tree. Turn left into the woods following the white blazes. It is important to follow the white blazes as there are numerous side paths criss-crossing the main trail. Parts of this section of trail can be wet. After 0.65 miles of hiking you'll reach the old railroad bed of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.
The Lehigh Valley Railroad was one of a number of railroads built in the northeastern United States primarily to haul anthracite coal. You are walking on a section of trail rich in history.
It was incorporated in 1846 as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company. In 1853 the name was changed to Lehigh Valley Railroad. It was sometimes known as the Route of the Black Diamond, named after the anthracite it transported. At the time, anthracite was transported by boat down the Lehigh River. The railroad was meant to be a faster means of transportation.
In 1970, Penn Central declared bankruptcy. Penn Central owned the Lehigh Valley Railroad at that time. Many sections of this great railroad can still be enjoyed today as a "rail trail". This is one of those sections. Turn right onto the old railroad bed and begin to imagine what it was like to be on a trail through this scenic area. If you look hard enough you'll find remnants of the old tracks.
Views open up on both sides of the trail at many points along the railroad bed. Willseyville Creek is first on your left until just prior to the trail veering left off the bed after 1.25 miles of walking, the creek flows under the railroad bed and is on your right. Follow the white blazes as the trail travels along the edge of a field as it makes its way toward White Church Road at 1.45 miles and the end of this special section of the North Country National Scenic Trail. There are views of the hills surrounding the valley as you approach the road.
Simply turn around and retrace your steps to return to your vehicle. Look below for pictures, a video (coming real soon), a map and a detailed description of this "Best of the NCT in NY" section of the North Country Trail. Check out this hike and find out why it's one of the best along the NCT.
Directions: From Ithaca, take Coddington Road and make a left on Ridgeway Road. The parking area is located 0.1 mile from Coddington Road on the right where the power lines cross the road. The GPS coordinates are N42 20.264 W76 23.780 for those who have a GPS devise.
Mile Elevation Description 0.0 1058 feet
From the parking area off Ridgeway Road, the trail turns left into woods as the power line trail goes straight.
0.65 968 feet
Turn right onto old Lehigh Valley rail bed. Looks for views on both sides of trail as you walk.
1.25 966 feet
Turn left off old railroad bed. Follow white blazes to the edge of field. Follow along field. Views.
1.45 1039 feet
Reach White Church Road. Turn around and retrace your steps.
Pictures from along the North Country Trail
Puncheons in a wet area
North Country Trail following the old railroad bed