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Hiking in Cayuga County
Hiking in Wayne County
Northern Montezuma WMA
Howland Island is a popular destination for visitors to the Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area. The 3500 acre island is surrounded by the Seneca River and the Erie Canal and has been under NY State ownership since 1932. Today, Howland Island contains a rich mix of woods, grasslands, agricultural fields and managed marshes. These habitats are on topography that rises from low-lying flood plains to gently rolling drumlins and are easily explored with the many dirt roads on the island.
These dirt roads are easily used as hiking or biking trails that allow visitors to explore all parts of the Island and permit the birdwatcher, hunter, hiker, biker, angler, horse rider, skier or naturalist to thoroughly enjoy Howland Island. Access (non-motorized only) to Howland Island is from Carncross Road just outside of the small hamlet of Savanah. A bridge over the Seneca River takes visitors to a large parking area with a kiosk. The GPS coordinates for the bridge is N43 04.706 W76 42.261 and the parking area GPS coordinates are N43 04.720 W76 41.374 for those who have a GPS devise in their vehicle.
You can create your own adventure at Howland Island, utilizing the many dirt roads. Loop hikes of any distance can be easily created with the roads. You can also bike the many roads. We have included a description as well as a map below of the "long loop" of 6.6 miles that we did utilizing the outer roads. There are a few pictures, maps and a video that you'll find below to assist you in planning your adventure at Howland Island.
Here is a brief description of the 6.6 mile Howland Island Long Loop:
From the parking area head downhill on the main dirt road from the parking area heading east. Soon the road will begin to climb and reach a four way intersection at 0.3 miles. Turn left and follow the dirt road. This road will follow a field briefly and then become more of a grassy lane in the woods. At 1.5 miles veer right following the grassy lane. At 1.75 mile the grassy road veers right and begins to climb. Soon you'll cross an open field.
The road descends and soon veers left with a view of the large Breeder Pond on your right at 2.2 miles. On your left will be Cook Pond. At 2.3 miles another dirt road comes in on the right. At 2.4 miles reach a junction and turn right. At 2.7 miles reach another junction with Black Duck Pond on your right. Turn left and climb the hill. At 2.8 start descending and veer right at 3.0 miles, still descending. At 3.1 miles reach Wood Duck Pond.
Now your climbing again, although gently, before descending again. A road is on the right at 3.5 miles, keep straight. At 3.6 miles reach Gander Pond. At 3.9 miles a road comes in on your right, continue straight. At 4.25 miles you'll pass Lost Pond on your right. At 4.65 miles reach a four way intersection (you will be going straight if you don't go check out the bridge). On your left is the old bridge over the Erie Canal. It's a short 0.1 mile side trip to explore the old bridge and enjoy the views of the canal.
After exploring the bridge, turn around and head back toward the four way intersection. Turn left at the intersection to continue your long loop hike. At 4.9 miles reach Coot Pond on your right and soon climb. After descending again you reach Loosestrife Pond at 5.6 miles. Another climb as you skirt Eagle Hill on your left. At 6.3 miles reach the first four way intersection you first encountered. Here you turn left to return to the parking area, reaching your vehicle at 6.6 miles.
Old bridge over Erie Canal
Wood Duck Pond
Map from the DEC kiosk at Howland Island
Trail next to Gander Pond
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