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Hike Option #2
Hogsback Overlook, Mt Morris Dam and FLTC Service Center
Here's an easy one way 1.1 mile hike along the northern section of the Letchworth Trail that gives you views and a chance to see the Finger Lakes Trail Conference Service Center and the big mile post sign. Although this hike is very easy, you will pass close by the sheer cliffs of Letchworth Canyon. If you don't like heights, this hike may not be suitable for you.
This hike starts out from the Hogsback Overlook parking area, located off the Mount Morris Dam Visitor Center Road. The hike ends at a wooden post with a yellow blaze near the back of the FLTC Service Center Building. From the Overlook, you immediately see the views you'll have for most of this hike. There is a grill at the overlook, if your interested in a picnic (but no picnic table).
From the overlook, head past the grill and the lonely tree with a blaze. Walk along the edge of the woods until you see a Finger Lakes Trail sign. Enter the woods and follow the yellow blazes. You are hiking on the Letchworth Trail, which is part of the 900+ mile Finger Lakes Trail System. There is a short side trail to a ledge with a view. There are numerous views, especially with no leaves, of the canyon.
At 0.3 miles of hiking the yellow blazed Letchworth Trail goes right into pines and an orange blazed trail goes straight. You can take either path, straight is faster. You could catch the yellow side trip on your return trip. The yellow blazes come back after 0.45 miles of hiking. At 0.75 miles you'll reach the large parking area of the Mount Morris Dam.
The trail heads toward the visitor center and the road. Be sure to head over to the dam overlook to see the great view (see panorama above). You can also explore this area and learn about the history of the Mount Morris Dam. There are picnic tables available.
The dam was built at a cost of $25 million between 1948 and 1952 by the Buffalo District office of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The project was authorized by the US Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1944. Records showed that the Genesee River Valley and the City of Rochester had experienced flooding since 1800, with severe floods occurring every seven years between 1865 and 1950. In the years since the completion of the dam, it is estimated that more than $1 billion in flooding damages have been prevented.
During Hurricane Agnes in 1972, $210 million in damages was prevented, primarily to the city of Rochester. During this event the inflows exceeded the storage capacity of the reservoir and it was necessary to release water through the gates of the dam, causing minor downstream flooding. These releases were made to prevent overtopping of the spillway. Had the spillway overtopped, accumulated debris in the reservoir would have passed downstream, causing log jams and additional damages. Inflows of this magnitude are only expected to happen an average of every 300 years.
The Letchworth Trail now heads toward the large hiking mileage sign post located in front of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference Service Center. You can end your hike here and return or walk along the grass to the right of the Service Center. Follow the yellow blazes just a short way toward the back of the service center and end your hike at a main post with a yellow blaze prior to the trail ascending.
This 2.2 mile round trip hike is a great option if your looking to explore a part of Letchworth Canyon, that many people overlook. There is a map, a few pictures and a video of this hike below.
View from along Letchworth Trail
Finger Lakes Trail mileage sign post
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