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Hiking in Cortland County
Finger Lakes Trail
North Country Trail
Kennedy State Forest
This is a very popular section of the Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail. This 15 mile section of the Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail features Havington Hill, Rowland Ridge, Kennedy State Forest, Foxfire Lean To, Babcock Hollow, Greek Peak and Virgil Mountain. This section begins along the Jim Schug Trail, which is a rail trail and follows the old Lehigh Valley railroad.
After a short road walk the trail enters private property (no parking), enters Cortland County and ascends Havington Hill. Please stay on the trail while on private property. There are views of Dryden Lake and the Dryden Valley along an open field that the trail follows (see panorama above). The trail ascends Rowland Ridge and will cross a power line right of way.
Soon you are on Cotton-Hanlon Lumber company land and this section of trail is closed for hunting from May 1-31 and October 1 - December 20 Please stay off the trail during these dates. Before reaching Daisy Hollow Road there is the junction of the Spanish Loop Trail.
After another road walk along Daisy Hollow Rd, the trail turns right and enters Kennedy State Forest. After ascending/descending a few times and crossing two seasonal dirt roads and Babcock Hollow Road the trail reaches Foxfire Lean-To (see panorama below). Shortly there is a view from the "rock pile" and the junction of the Dabes Diversion Trail. The trail then descends to first cross a stream and then ascends to cross seasonal dirt Bleck Road. There is some shoulder parking here.
You will see the blue blazed Kuzia Cutoff Trail on your left and then cross seasonal dirt Cortright Road. Turn left on this seasonal dirt road if water levels are high (high water bypass) in the upcoming creek. Soon the trail reaches an old woods road plus the junction of the Dabes Diversion Trail and the Virgil Mountain Trail at "four corners". The FLT/NCT will cross the stream one more time that you crossed earlier.
After a short road walk along O'Dell Road the trail turns right and begins ascending toward Greek Peak and Virgil Mountain. At 2132 feet, Virgil Mountain is the highest point in Cortland County. This is the highest point along the trail within 70 miles. There are some views along this section of trail. The trail follows power lines and reaches the junction of the Virgil Mountain Trail before veering left and beginning a steep descent toward Tone Road and the end of this section of trail. You'll pass an old boiler while on your descent.
There are many loop hike opportunities in Kennedy State Forest.
DIRECTIONS - From Dryden, take South Street at main four corners in town. Turn left on Lake Street, then right on Lake Rd. You will pass Dryden Town Park on the right (veer left on Lake Rd here). You will cross the main FLT/NCT twice on this road (first time just past a right bend). At Purvis Rd junction, turn left on Willow Crossing Road. There is limited parking for the Jim Schug Rail Trail (which the FLT/NCT follows briefly). This is the start of this section of trail.
FLT/NCT near Greek Peak
Foxfire Lean To along the Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail in Kennedy State Forest
FLT/NCT leaves Willow Crossing Rd following the Jim Schug Rail Trail. Parking. Follow white blazes. This section is the continuation of the trail from Hammond Hill State Forest.
Leave rail trail and turn right on Lake Rd.
Turn right just past driveway following white blazes. Entering PRIVATE LAND. Electric Fence ahead, use stile.
Entering Cortland County.
Havington Hill Summit
Views of Dryden Lake, follow edge of field.
Cross Bud Brook
Blue blazed trail on right leads 500 feet to a view at the edge of a field.
Enter Cotton-Hanlon Lumber Company Land. This section of trail is CLOSED for HUNTING during the whole month of May AND from OOCTOBER 1 to DECEMBER 20.
Cross power lines and soon leave Cotton-Hanlon Lumber Company Land. Views.
Cross Rowland Creek (difficult to cross when high water). Junction of Spanish Loop Trail on right.
Turn left on Daisy Hollow Rd. Parking.
Turn right off road on old logging road. Enter Kennedy State Forest. Limited Parking.
Junction of blue blazed Swedish Loop Trail on left before descent to cross stream.
Two Creek Bivouac on right as trail ascends from stream.
Cross an ATV Trail.
Cross Owego Hill Rd. Junction of Spanish Loop Trail on right (orange blazes). Soon Trail register.
Owego Hill summit. Soon begin descent down hill on switchbacks.
Cross Bell-Hilsinger Road. Junction of blue blazed Swedish Loop Trail on left (follows dirt road).
Start of a very steep descent
End of steep descent. Trail register.
Cross Babcock Hollow Road. Limited Parking.
Cross small stream. Side trail on left leads to Kells Bivouac.
Foxfire Lean-To is on your left.
Rock pile and views to the south. Junction of the Dabes Diversion Trail on the left.
After crossing stream, cross Bleck Road (parking).
Junction of the blue blazed Kuzia Cutoff Trail (leads 0.7 mile to Hauck Hill Rd).
Cross Cortwright Road, then descend steep bank to cross creek (warning creek not safe to cross in times of high water).
"Four Corners". Cross old road. Junctions of the Dabes Diversion Loop Trail (orange blazes) on left and Virgil Mountain Loop Trail (orange blazes) on right. There is a spring along the Virgil Mountain Trail.
Cross stream, ascend up bank and reach O'Dell Rd. Parking. Turn right and follow road. Leaving Kennedy State Forest.
Trail turns right off road and re-enters Kennedy State Forest.
Cross small stream
Cross Van Donsel Road. Season road --> Limited parking.
Virgil Mountain summit. Highest point in Cortland County. Highest point along trail within 70 miles.
National Grid high power lines. Views to left. Turn right and follow power lines.
Junction of the orange blazed Virgil Mountain Loop Trail. The Finger Lakes/North Country Trail veers left away from power lines.
Begin steep descent of over 700 feet to Tone Road.
Pass by an old boiler.
Reach Tone Road. Parking. Leave Kennedy State Forest. Trail turns left and follows Tone Road. For a continuation of the trail, see Tuller Hill State Forest.
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