CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Finger Lakes Trail FLT Eastern/Catskill Section Catskill Forest Preserve
Finger Lakes Trail

Bear Spring
Mountain WMA

 

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This section of the Finger Lakes Trail takes you through the 7186 acre Bear Spring Mountain WMA and on through Downsville. The Bear Spring Mountain WMA is known for its 24 miles of horse trails, however the multi use trails are also available for hiking and biking. This is the start of the stretch of the FLT where you won't see as many white blazes and will follow DEC plastic color discs. This is the last section of trail before entering the Catskills as this section of the FLT ends at the Downsville Covered Bridge. When you cross this covered bridge (see panorama above) over the East Branch Delaware River, you are officially in the Catskills.

There is a DEC run campground located in Bear Spring Mountain WMA. The FLT passes right by campsite 28 for those who want to camp here. The campground is usually open from mid May to Labor Day each year. The main office is located 3.5 miles to the north. The trail travels through Downsville and passes directly by the town Post Office. The Downsville Motel is located on the corner of River Road/NY 30 just off the trail (for thru hikers looking for a motel prior to tackling the main Catskill stretch of the Finger Lakes Trail.

The Finger Lakes Trail follows numerous horse trails in Bear Spring Mountain WMA. Many of these horse trails are grassy lanes that you'll be hiking through. When these are not mowed, this can be high grass your walking through. Be sure you take precautions to protect yourself from ticks. The crossing of East Trout Brook can be hazardous and we suggest walking down East Trout Brook Road to the bridge over the brook to be safe. Some of the trail lays on the ridge of Fork Mountain and actually follows the old Fork Mountain Road.

The official Finger Lakes Trail Conference website has up to date trail conditions as well as hiking maps you can purchase from them. This stretch of trail is featured on the FLTC Map M29. Below are a few pictures, detailed description and a couple of maps featuring this section of the Finger Lakes Trail. For a continuation of the Finger Lakes Trail see the Campbell Mountain section.

Finger Lakes Trail at West Trout Brook Road

Campsite 28 at Bear Spring Mountain Campground

Bridge over East Trout Brook

 

Mile Elevation Trail Description
0.0 2471 feet

Near end of Tower Road trail goes left off road. Soon reach a regiester. Very limited shoulder parking here.

0.1 2492 feet

Enter Bear Spring Mountain WMA. Following red horse trail discs.

0.4 2354 feet Turn left on Blue Horse Trail #7.
1.6 2359 feet Turn right and soon after cross seasonal dirt West Trout Road. Good parking. Trail register. Following Blue Horse Trail #5.
2.0 2481 feet A summit of Fork Mountain.
2.8 2414 feet A view to your right.
4.0 2279 feet Junction with Blue Horse Trail #4 on left. Continue straight. Continue long descent.
5.0 1479 feet Trail junction. Turn left.
5.3 1332 feet Register. Large DEC parking area. Cross road and enter campground, pass site #28 then left on Blue Trail #8.
5.6 1316 feet Here you'll ford East Trout Brook. We suggest walking along road and cross bridge over brook.
5.7 1336 feet Turn right on Blue Horse Trail #12. Ascending.
7.7 2145 feet Turn right onto woods trail that will soon become an old woods road. You are on private property. White blazes!
9.9 1095 feet Reach NY 30 and turn left, following the road.
10.0 1098 feet Some parking on right near transfer station.
11.2 1119 feet Turn right on Main Street. You are in the heart of Downsville. Soon pass Post Office on right.
11.5 1099 feet Turn right on Bridge Street.
11.6 1097 feet Village park on right with good parking. Downsville Covered Bridge over East Branch Delaware River is ahead. Once you cross the bridge you will be entering the Catskills. For a continuation of the Finger Lakes Trail see the Campbell Mountain section.

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