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Hiking at Robert G. Wehle State Park

Dancing Gypsy Loop

Park Trail Map

 

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Robert Wehle State Park, with nearly twenty miles of trails to explore, gives hikers numerous opportunities to create loop hike options inside the park.  The Dancing Gypsy Loop is one of our favorite hikes in the park and can be enjoyed by most members of the family, except for the sheer cliffs located along part of the trail that may not be suitable for young children.  This loop hike of 2.3 miles has a minimal elevation change.

Our description of this loop hike starts from the main parking area heading toward the visitor center.  If the weather is cold, you may decide to do this loop in the opposite direction in order to finish the hike at the visitor center.  The park visitor center also doubles as warming hut.  The building has flush toilets as well as a community room with a couch, table and chairs.  Located nearby the VC is a drinking fountain and a faucet with a dog bowl.

From the main parking area, follow the gravel trail past the kiosk toward the Visitor Center.  In front of the VC are statues of a few of the dogs that once lived on Mr Wehle's property.  There is also a dog cemetery that is fenced off to the right of the service road.  This hike starts off to the right of the dog cemetery on the yellow marker Snakefoot Trail.  The trail takes you around the park tennis court and potty building.

After following the edge of the woods briefly, at 0.3 miles into this hike, the trail turns toward Lake Ontario.  At 0.4 miles you'll reach the junction of the Dancing Gypsy Trail.  The Snakefoot Trail turns left here and in about 50-75 feet reaches a nice overlook with picnic tables on the right (if you want to check it out).  Be careful here as there are cliffs of about 30 feet or so above Lake Ontarios at the picnic area.  No grills are located at this picnic area.

This loop hike turns right onto the Dancing Gyspy Trail (or straight ahead from the picnic area/overlook).  There are views of Lake Ontario as you walk along the mowed trail.  Be careful as there are, at times, cliffs on your left.  At 1.0 miles you'll reach a park service road.  Turn left and soon pass by an enormous old artillery wall from World War II when this property was owned by the US Army.  A few feet further is an open area on your left with a small concrete pill box on the top of cliffs, about 150 feet above Lake Ontario. 

View from the Cliffside Overlook

If you explore this area, be careful as the cliffs are sheer and dangerous.  A spectacular view of Lake Ontario and Stony Island from this Cliffside Overlook.  The open area looks to be a very nice spot to lay down a blanket and have a picnic.  The trail turns right off the service road back into the woods on the mowed path.  At 1.3 miles you'll pass an unmarked trail (mowed path) on your right.  There are over two miles of unmarked trails in the park.

At 1.4 miles the main Dancing Gypsy Trail veers to the right as an unmarked trail heads off to the left.  This trail loops back to the main trail, bypassing a wet area.  There are a few wet spots ahead, but nothing too bad.  At 1.6 miles reach the junction of the purple marked Knickerbocker Trail on your right.  This trail also leads back to the open area near the main parking area.

Continuing along the Dancing Gypsy Trail you'll reach a four way junction at 1.9 miles.  To the left is an access trail that leads 0.1 miles to Parking Lot A for Robert Wehle State Park.  The trail on the right is another unmarked trail.  Soon the trail will enter an open area near the main parking area.  You should be able to see the entrance road on your left.  This last section can be very wet with water as deep as 3 - 5 inches as you head toward the parking area.

Looking back at a wet section near the parking area

All that's left to do on this hike is to walk along the open field back to the main parking area and your vehicle.  The Knickerbocker Trail comes in on your right (you may see the marker).  You've explored just a small corner of this beautiful state Park.  If you enjoyed this loop hike, then take a look at the Park Trail Map and start planning another adventure at Robert G. Wehle State Park.

I-81 to EXIT 40, NY 193 WEST.  Turn right on NY 3 EAST, then at blinking light at jct for NY 178, turn left on Military Road.  Take Military Rd to main park entrance.

 

Artillery Wall near the Cliff Overlook along the Dancing Gypsy Trail

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