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Hiking in Cortland County
Kennedy State Forest
Swedish Loop Trail
On June 24, 2010 the FLTC announced the creation of the 1.4 mile blue blazed Swedish Loop Trail in Kennedy State Forest as a new addition to the 900+ mile Finger Lakes Trail System. The Swedish Loop Trail begins off the main white blazed Finger Lakes Trail 0.9 miles east of the Daisy Hollow Road trailhead and loops back to meet the FLT further east, creating a 5.2 mile out and back hike.
The Swedish Loop Trail travels through many large and beautiful hemlock trees. A short 100 yard yellow blazed side trail leads to a high bank overlooking a stream. This moderate 5.2 mile hike has an overall elevation gain of 682 feet. This hike has a few minor stream crossings and the first 1.9 miles of this hike is a steady climb (for the most part).
There are other, shorter or even longer loop options utilizing the Swedish Loop Trail. The trail travels along seasonal dirt Bell-Hilsinger Road for a short while, as well as ending at the Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail crossing of this road. There looked to be a few parking spots along the side of Bell-Hilsinger Road. This would create a shorter 3.4 mile loop with the FLT/NCT starting from Bell-Hilsinger Rd.
The FLT/NCT as well as the Swedish Loop Trail also crosses seasonal dirt Owego Hill Rd. Parking is very limited, if not non existent near the trail crossings. Owego Hill Road looked very muddy and rutted at the Swedish Loop Trail crossing. The Spanish Loop Trail follows Owego Hill Road up to the FLT/NCT crossing. Owego Hill Road is a rough seasonal road and is not recommended to drive on.
One could also utilize the Spanish Loop Trail, Swedish Loop Trail and the FLT/NCT to create a long 7.2 mile loop. The information below is from our hike starting from the Daisy Hollow Rd trailhead. The FLTC asks that hikers park north of Carpenter Hill Rd along the side of Daisy Hollow Rd, which is just a few hundred feet from the trailhead. We did the 5.2 mile option of the Swedish Loop.
Look below for description, pictures, video and map of the 5.2 mile Swedish Loop hike.
Directions: From I-81 exit 11 take NY 13 south into Cortland. Follow NY 13, then take a left on NY 215. Take NY 215 into Virgil and go straight at 4-way stop sign onto NY 392 west. Soon turn left on Owego Hill Road. Turn right onto Daisy Hollow Rd. Stay straight at 3-way stop sign. After climbing hill reach Carpenter Hill Rd on right. Park along side of road before reaching Carpenter Hill Rd.
Finger Lakes Trail/North Country Trail and Swedish Loop Trail at Bell-Hilsinger Road
Park your vehicle along the west side of Daisy Hollow Rd, north of the intersection of Carpenter Hill Road and walk south along Daisy Hollow Road a few hundred feet to the FLT/NCT trailhead on the east side of the road. You will see the green Finger Lakes Trail sign near the road. Follow the white blazes and enter Kennedy State Forest.
The trail turns off Daisy Hollow Road onto an old logging road for a few feet before veering right up a steep embankment. The trail follows an old ATV track briefly before veering right into the forest. At 0.2 miles you'll notice Rowland Creek below you on the right. At 0.4 miles reach the first of three trail registers during this hike. At 0.6 miles cross a recently constructed logging road.
At 0.95 miles reach the western end/start of the blue blazed Swedish Loop Trail. See the North Country Trail emblem on the large tree in front of you? Continue straight, following the white blazes of the FLT/NCT and soon descend on earthen steps to cross a small stream. You'll cross a wet section of trail before climbing quickly and then turning left on top of the embankment. On your right is Two Creek Bivouac, which looks like it hasn't been used in years. Still looks like a nice camping spot.
The climbing becomes more evident as you cross an old ATV trail at 1.35 miles and reach the rough dirt Owego Hill Road at 1.65 miles. This is also the northern end/start of the Spanish Loop Trail. You'll see the map/sign for this popular loop trail and may even notice the triple orange blaze. Cross the road and continue following the white blazes of the FLT/NCT, reaching the second trail register in a few hundred feet on a broken tree.
The trail climbs one last time, reaching the top of this hill at 1.9 miles and the highest point along this loop hike at 2032 feet. The trail descends on several long switchbacks as it winds its way toward Bell-Hilsinger Road. At 2.7 miles pass a nicely built small rock wall along the trail at the end of the last switchback.
At 2.8 miles cross a small stream and soon after reach Bell-Hilsinger Road. Here turn left and follow the blue blazes on this seasonal dirt road as the Swedish Loop Trail coincides with the road briefly. At 3.3 miles the blue blazed Swedish Loop Trail veers left off the road into the forest. At times you'll notice yellow boundary paint as the trail follows close to the state forest boundary.
At 3.4 miles the trail crosses a rough, wet and muddy Oswego Hill Road. At 3.5 miles reach a trail register for the Swedish Loop Trail. There is information in this register about the trail steward, who happens to be the person who built the trail (as well as the Spanish Loop Trail and Irvin Trail). Be sure to sign the register!
The trail descends to a stream crossing at 3.8 miles. At 4.0 miles reach the junction of a yellow blazed trail that travels a few hundred feet to a bank high above a scenic stream. A nice spot to sit and relax for a few minutes. Retrace your steps back to the blue blazed Swedish Loop Trail and turn left. At 4.2 miles reach the end of the Swedish Loop Trail at the junction of the white blazed Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail. Turn right and retrace your steps 0.95 miles to your vehicle.
This is a well marked, maintained trail that includes a popular section of the FLT/NCT.
Pictures from the Swedish Loop
Finger Lakes Trail sign at Daisy Hollow Rd
West end of Swedish Loop Trail
Two Creek Bivouac
FLT/NCT in Kennedy State Forest
North end of Spanish Loop Trail at Owego Hill Rd & FLT/NCT crossing.
FLT/NCT at Owego Hill Rd
Little stone wall
FLT/NCT at Bell-Hilsinger Rd
Blue blaze of the Swedish Loop Trail on Bell-Hilsinger Rd
Near where trail leaves road
Muddy Owego Hill Rd at Swedish Loop Trail crossing
Trail register along Swedish Loop Trail
Stream crossing along Swedish Loop Trail
Swedish Loop Trail
Start of yellow blazed trail that leads to bank above stream
Swedish Loop Trail at yellow trail jct
End of yellow trail at bank above stream
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