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Conservation Trail

NY 39 to US 20A


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From the FLTC --> 4/18/10 Map CT6 ---> A reroute is in progress from Access 2 to Access 3, Matteson Corners Rd. to Warner Gulf Rd. From Access 2 follow existing trail north for 0.9 mile, then turn right (east) following orange flagging tape 0.8 mile to Warner Gulf Rd. Turn left (north) on Warner Gulf Rd. for 0.8 mile to Access 3, which then turns right (east) leaving Warner Gulf Rd.

This 29 mile section of the Conservation Trail begins off NY 39 just north of Hecht's Bridge in Erie County.  Part of this section goes through what is sometimes referred to as the Holland Ravines Section, where the CT travels through twelve ravines.  The birthplace of the CT is also located on this section.

The trail follows Van Slyke Rd before turning right following a power line right of way.  Following the orange blazes the trail turns left off the power line ROW at Hyler Creek and enters the woods.  The trail crosses Middle Road and enters Erie County Forest.  Camping is not allowed in any of the Erie County conservation parks, including in Erie County Forest.

Conservation Trail turns into woods where powerlines go over Hyler Creek (picture courtesy of Kirk Doyle)

While hiking in Erie County Forest, the CT follows a nature trail as well as a snowmobile trail.  It is very important to follow the orange blazes.  Just past an old cabin the CT crosses Hyler Creek.  You will also cross Dresser Creek on a bridge and just south of Genesee Road you will cross a footbridge.  After crossing the road you will reach a picnic area and bathrooms (when unlocked).

Bridge in Erie County Forest along the Conservation Trail (picture courtesy of Kirk Doyle)

The CT leaves Erie County Forest and crosses Dresser Creek.  The trail follows the creek upstream before veering right and eventually following power lines to Allen Road. The section between Allen Road and Matteson Road is closed for hunting from Oct 1 to Dec 22.  Soon after crossing Matteson Road the trail crosses a stream and reaches a trail register.  Be sure to follow the trail closely now as there are numerous turns plus a snowmobile trail in the area that also has orange blazes.

Trail register near Matteson Corners Road (photo courtesy of Kirk Doyle)

The CT follows Warner Gulf Road for 150 feet before turning back into the woods.  Next the trail reaches Savage Road and follows the road for 0.4 mile before turning right off road.  The trail now crosses very busy NY 16 (very poor parking), a ravine and then an active railroad track.  In another mile reach Vermont Street.  The trail is CLOSED for hunting from Vermont St to Humphries Road from May 1-31 and Nov 1 - Dec 20.  Crossing a lot of ravines.  This section is sometimes referred to as the "Holland Ravines Section".

Switchback in one of the Holland Ravines (photo courtesy of Kirk Doyle)

Once you reach the top of a major ravine the trail levels off.  You are on the section of the trail that is dedicated to Mabel James.  This is the birthplace of the Conservation Trail.  A blue blazed "Beckers Nature Trail" loop leads 0.3 mile to a pond, bench (dedicated for a boy scout) and a sign for the 1962 dedication site of the Conservation Trail.  There is a bivouac area as well as a picnic table, known as the Mabel James Campsite.  There are no open fires allowed at this campsite.  In just past a mile beware of the sap lines and take care not to break them.

Art & Olga Rosche Memorial Section of the CT (photo courtesy of Kirk Doyle)

As you pass by Humphries Road, you now enter the section of the CT dedicated to Art and Olga Rosche.  They were the founding members of the Foothills Trail Club.  The trail reaches Carpenter Rd and now follows roads for the next 3.8 miles until you reach Hunters Creek Conservation Park.  This park has numerous trails and you can easily take a wrong turn if your not following the orange blazes. 

Hunters Creek Park is a 750 acre park located in the Town of Wales, NY. It was designated in 2003 by the Erie County Parks Master Plan as a “Conservation Park”.  It contains a deep gorge, a shale bottom creek, many tributary ravines, ancient and second growth forests, and open meadows. The park is accessed primarily from the parking lot on Centerline Road, just east of Vermont Hill Road.  There is also a parking lot on Hunters Creek Road in the northern section of the park that is best used only in mid summer or winter.  For more information and a park brochure see this pdf from the park website.

The trail leaves the park, turns left and follows Hunters Creek Road before turning right on NY 78.  The trail follows this busy road for 0.7 mile, then turns left on Woodchuck Road and at the top of the hill the trail turns left off the road.  Soon you will cross a stile and then reach US 20A at Camp Aloha.  This is the end of this section.

Volunteers from the Foothills Trail Club built and maintain the Conservation Trail.  The Foothills Trail Club was founded in 1962 by a few hikers and outdoors enthusiasts who wanted to build a trail from Allegany State Park to Lake Ontario.  This is the Conservation Trail.

You can purchase official maps and guides directly from the Finger Lakes Trail Conference website. Look below for a map and a description of the trail.  Many of the pictures below are courtesy of Kirk Doyle.  There are hunting closures along this section of trail to be aware of prior to hiking

Miles        Description

0.0        Turn right on Van Slyke Road from NY 39.

0.6        Turn right off road and follow power line right of way.

1.5        Cross Middle Road, turn left and walk to large gate.  Entering Erie County Forest.

2.0        Pass cabin and cross Hyler Creek on bridge.

3.9        Cross Genesee Road.  Picnic Area, bathrooms, water, parking area.  NOTE:  This section up until Matteson Corners Road is CLOSED for HUNTING from Oct 1 to Dec 22.

5.9        Turn right and follow Allen Road briefly before entering woods. 

7.8        Cross Matteson Corners Road.

8.0        Trail Register.

10.4       Turn right on Warner Gulf Road and follow road for 150 feet before turning left into woods.

12.1       Turn left and follow Savage Road.

12.5       Turn right off road.  There is no parking here.

12.8       Cross NY 16.  Poor parking.

12.9       Cross active railroad track.

13.9       Turn right on Vermont Street and follow road for 40 feet before turning left into woods.  NOTE:  Trail from here to Humphries Road is CLOSED for HUNTING from May 1-31 and Nov 1 to Dec 20.

14.7       Top of ravine.  Junction of 0.3 mile blue blazed nature loop trail that leads to a pond, bench and dedication plaque.  This section of trail is dedicated to Mabel James.  This area is the birthplace of the Conservation Trail.  Soon reach a picnic table and bivouac area.  Now follow trail closely.

18.2       Humphries Road.  Please do not park in front of the homes on the road, but closer to Vermont Hill Road.

20.2       Turn right and follow Carpenter Road.

21.1       Turn left and follow Vermont Hill Road.

22.7       Cross Warner Hill Road.

23.8       Turn right on Centerline Road.  Hunters Creek Park parking area on left.

24.2       Turn left off road into Hunters Creek Conservation Park.  Do not park here, use lot 0.4 mile to west.

25.3       Mossy Point Overlook.

26.0       Cross Gas Line.

27.0       Turn left on Hunters Creek Road.

27.4       Turn right on busy NY 78.

28.1       Turn left on Woodchuck Road.

28.3       At top of hill, turn right off road.  Soon cross stile.

28.8       Reach US 20A at Camp Aloha.  End of this section.

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