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Finger Lakes Trail
North Country Trail

Hoxie Gorge &
Underwood Hill


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This 4.7 mile section of the Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail begins off of Hoxie Gorge Road and enters Hoxie Gorge Nature Preserve.  The Hoxie Gorge Nature Preserve, located in Cortlandville, N.Y., consists of 170 acres of abandoned farmland and woods. The property was purchased in 1965 by the State University of New York College at Cortland and has been used for field studies by many classes and for research by faculty and students.

The trail briefly with the McDermott Nature Trail, a trail by SUNY at Cortland.  There is a bivouac area and a lean to located in the Nature Preserve along and near the FLT/NCT.  Currently there is no marked trail that leads from the main FLT/NCT to the Hoxie Gorge Lean To.  The lean to seems to be popular more with SUNY at Cortland students than thru hikers.  The gps coordinates for the Hoxie Gorge Lean To is N42 32.780 W76 04.346 for those who are interested in the lean to.

Hoxie Gorge Lean To

This is a great, scenic section of the FLT/NCT as you begin at the North Country Trail Kiosk at Hoxie Gorge Road.  The trail takes you near the edge of the gorge, looking down into the gorge you'll see beautiful Hoxie Gorge Creek.  Then you'll climb down into the gorge and cross Hoxie Gorge Creek a couple of times before ascending back out of the gorge.  There is a nice camping (bivouac) area just after crossing the old wagon road near an old culvert. 

The trail enters Hoxie Gorge State Forest for a brief time before entering private property.  When you reach the orange blazed hunting bypass trail prior to the main trail turning left into the main open field, remember that the FLT/NCT ahead is CLOSED for hunting from October 1 to December 31.  Please respect the landowners request and stay off this section of the trail during these dates.

As you ascend Underwood Hill in an open field there are panoramic views toward the east.  There is a picnic table perfectly placed to rest and enjoy the spectacular view.  When you reach the edge of the field, turn left and follow the edge of the fields for a while.  The trail goes in and out of the woods and passes through a few more open fields that allow for a few more views.

This 4.5 mile section of the trail is a moderate hike with an overall elevation gain of nearly 800 feet. This stretch of the FLT/NCT is featured on map M20 from the FLTC.

NOTE: The FLTC announced a new reroute on 11/11/2014. From the FLTC announcement -->

The trail has been rerouted between West River Road and Hoxie's Gorge, SUNY Cortland. This change improves the road walk, although not much shorter it is mostly on dirt roads now, and the small section still on Route 11 is in an area with a wide shoulder, behind a guard rail. It also adds 5.5 of new trail. Special Thanks to Alley Cat Crew #3 for getting it done.
To follow the new trail, at West River Road turn Right and follow it South to Route 392, about 4 miles. Turn Left on to 392, follow Route 392 East 1/2 mile, over the river to Route 11. Follow Route 11 south for a 1/2 mile to Steve Russell Road. Stay on the Right (west) shoulder, there is a wide flat area behind the guard rail (and a family of bald eagles is nesting in the area just downhill). Careful not to miss Steve Russell Road, its a single lane dirt road on the left. Follow Steve Russell Road up hill under route 81, past 81 bear left to stay on Steve Russell about 1 mile, enter the woods on the left at the border of State Forest Land. The trail heads north through Hoxie Gorge State Forest, traversing 3 gorges, before crossing Freetown Hoxies Gorge Road in about 4 miles. The trail continues north before intersecting the existing trail at the stone bridge on SUNY Cortland property.
The old main trail from Hoxie Gorge Road to the stone bridge has been reblazed as a Blue access trail. 

Directions:  From Syracuse take I-81 south to exit 10.  Turn left on US 11 south, then left on Hoxie Gorge Road.  Veer left and continue on Hoxie Gorge Road until the FLT sign.  There is parking along the side of the road.  The GPS coordinates are N42 32.839 W76 04.812 for those who have a GPS.

Hoxie Gorge Creek

Trail traveling through an open field on Underwood Hill
Mile Elevation Trail Description (follow white blazes)
0.0 1299 feet

Trail heads into the woods off Hoxie Gorge Road at the FLT sign and North Country Trail Kiosk.  This is the Hoxie Gorge Nature Preserve owned by SUNY Cortland.

0.1 1301 feet

Junction with blue blazed trail on left that leads to McDermott Nature Trail and a parking area.

0.35 1338 feet

Leave McDermott Nature Trail, descend and cross Hoxie Gorge Creek twice, then ascend back out of gorge.

0.7 1324 feet

Cross old wagon road and enter Hoxie Gorge Bivouac Area.

0.9 1403 feet

Enter Hoxie Gorge State Forest.

1.0 1432 feet

Cross stream.

1.5 1478 feet

Leave Hoxie Gorge State Forest, enter PRIVATE PROPERTY.

1.6 1504 feet

Homemade bench on right next to stream.

2.1 1690 feet

Trail follows edge of field.

2.2 1737 feet

View to your right at opening along edge of field.

2.4 1781 feet

Orange blazed hunting bypass trail on your right that leads 0.2 mile to Stone Road.  Trail turns left.  This section of trail is CLOSED during hunting season from 10/1 - 12/31.

2.5 1787 feet

Views open as you walk in the open field.

2.6 1799 feet

Picnic Table and the best panoramic views from Underwood Hill.

2.7 1763 feet

Trail turns left and follows edge of field.

3.0 1783 feet

Enter woods and turn right.

3.1 1779 feet

Leave woods, trail turns left.  Views as you descend through open field.

3.25 1781 feet

Trail turns right.

3.45 1755 feet

Trail turns left and descends.

3.55 1699 feet

Trail crosses small stream/culvert.

3.65 1732 feet

Trail veers left.

3.95 1746 feet

Trail crosses open area, view on your left.

4.4 1829 feet

Trail register.  Highest point along trail in this section.

4.7 1653 feet

Reach Underwood Hill Road and end of this section.  For a continuation see Baker Schoolhouse State Forest.  End of section closed for hunting.


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