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Finger Lakes Trail

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Link Trail


Guide to Hiking the Link Trail
3rd Edition (2014) - Only $5

Guide to the 40+ mile Link Trail with description, pictures and maps of the trail. The guide comes to you as a pdf file, meaning you print just the pages you need, when you need it. Use the buy now button below and we'll email you the file usually within 24 hours.

The Link Trail was originally created to connect the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) with the Old Erie Canal Trail. The Link Trail goes north-south in Madison County, east of Syracuse, NY. The Link Trail is currently 40.3 miles long with sections still under construction. This number does include some road walks, but not a 2.1 mile dead end section. The Link Trail is maintained by the volunteers from the North Country Trail Association - Central New York Chapter.

Part of the Link Trail coincides with the North Country National Scenic Trail.  The NCT reaches the Link Trail in Tioughnioga Wildlife Management Area at the junction/northern terminus of the 41 mile Onondaga Trail. The North Country Trail, once completed, will travel 4600 miles from North Dakota to Crown Point, NY. The Link Trail is blazed with yellow blazes, although some of the trail is also blazed with blue blazes on the section that coincides with the North Country Trail. There are parts of the trail that is only blazed blue during the NCT stretch of the Link Trail.

The Link Trail northern terminus is in the village of Canastota at the junction of Canal Street and the Old Erie Canal Towpath Trail.  The Link Trail has a brief road walk in the village heading south on NY 13, before turning right on NY 5 and then left on Mount Pleasant Street near Aldi's.  The trail reaches Mount Pleasant Street and veers right off the road but staying parallel to the road.

At Mount Pleasant Cemetery the trail veers right into the woods and private property.  There is parking at the trailhead in the cemetery.  The trail winds toward Canastota Ravine and enters the ravine following a fantastic wooden stairway which includes a bench. You are now in Shied Park, a new state park.  Once at the bottom of the stairway the trail follows the ravine to Canastota Creek.  The trail crosses the creek on a well built footbridge.

Now the trail ascends up to and then follows the old Lehigh Valley railroad bed.  The trail crosses Nelson Rd, Harp Road and then Cottons Road.  The railroad bed crosses through private yards, a cow pasture and close to homes as it crosses Quarry Road, then skirts an old quarry.  The trail veers away from the old railroad bed and reaches Quarry Road at the corner of Ingalls Corners Road.  Another road walk follows before the trail starts up again off Freber Road along the old Lehigh Valley Railroad.

The trail reaches the village of Cazenovia and passes an old railroad depot before reaching a hardware store parking lot and US 20.  The trail now follows roads in the scenic village of Cazenovia, turns off US 20 at the Linklaen House and follows Chenango Street for 0.7 miles before turning left off the road at a parking area with a Kiosk.  There have been recent trail relocation in this area.

The trail winds through woods and skirts a field before entering the woods again for its ascent up Stone Quarry Hill.  After a climb the trail reaches Stone Quarry Art Part with its unique sculptures.  Before leaving the park there is a spectacular view to the south and east toward Kinney Hill, Highland Forest & Morgan Hill.

Now you have another road walk before the trail turns left at the parking area and kiosk at Nelson Swamp Unique Area.  The trail follows an old railroad bed through the swamp and crosses Chittenango Creek on a footbridge.  The trail crosses a stile and enters private property again, veers off the old railroad bed before reaching Hardscrabble Road and another road walk.

The trail leaves Irish Hill Road at a bend in the road with parking and enters Tioughnioga WMA.  After passing a trail register the trail turns left onto the abandoned section of Holmes Road.  Shortly on your right you will see the newly blue blazed Onondaga Trail.  The North Country Trail now leaves the Link Trail and follows the Onondaga Trail on its journey to the Finger Lakes Trail, then eventually North Dakota.

The Link Trail continues to follow the abandoned road, crossing Damon Road before reaching seasonal dirt Corkinsville Road and turning left past a DEC gate along a grassy lane.  The trail turns right off the DEC road and makes its way to Dugway Road.  At Dugway Road, while the trail continues across the road, it dead ends in 2 miles due to the loss of permission of a private landowner.

To continue on the Link Trail you must do a road walk of 4.6 miles along Dugway Road and NY 80.  The trail turns off NY 80 and ascends into private property toward Muller Hill State Forest.  The trail leaves Muller Hill State Forest along Wood Road.  Another road walk to Crumb Hill Road and then the trail turns right into Maripossa State Forest. 

The trail reaches its southern terminus at the junction of the white blazed Finger Lakes Trail. Turning left will take you to Bucks Brook State Forest and eventually to the Catskills, the Long Path and if you wanted to, the Appalachian Trail.  Turning right will take you to Cuyler Hill State Forest, the junction of the North Country Trail, to Pennsylvania and eventually if you wanted to, all the way to North Dakota.

One could create a long backpacking loop hike of over 100 miles by utilizing the Link Trail, Onondaga Trail and the Finger Lakes Trail.  We are calling this the Onondaga Finger Link Loop. Look below for a map and description of the Link Trail.  For a closer look at sections of the Link Trail use the links above to choose the section your interested in. There is also a complete map and description of the entire trail below. 

Miles from Northern Terminus Elevation Description
0.0 427 feet

Northern terminus of Link Trail. Junction of Old Erie Canal Trail at Canal Street and NY 13. Follow NY 13 south, following blue blazes.

0.7 476 feet

Turn right on NY 5.

0.85 459 feet

Turn left on Mount Pleasant Street.

0.9 463 feet

Trail veers right off the road.

1.2 491 feet

Reach Mount Pleasant Cemetery. (Parking)  Trail turns right into woods.

1.4 545 feet Trail turns left onto old woods road
1.55 542 feet Turn left off old woods road and back onto a footpath.
1.9 541 feet

Trail Register.  Soon reach stairs to descend into "Canastota Ravine".

2.0 528 feet

Cross Canastota Creek on footbridge.

2.1 567 feet

Reach old railroad bed and turn right, following the old railroad bed. The trail to the left travels 0.2 miles to a small parking area off Oxbow Road.

3.45 684 feet

Trail Register.

3.6 702 feet

Cross Nelson Road.  (Parking)

4.4 732 feet

Cross Harp Road.

4.6 741 feet

Cross Cottons Road. (Parking) 

5.3 781 feet Cross Driveway.  Trail follows along front yards.
5.4 794 feet Leave front yards. Soon pass a back yard.
5.5 804 feet Enter through a gate into an active cow pasture. Close & secure gate behind you.
6.0 835 feet Leave cow pasture through gate.  Be sure to close gate behind you!
6.2 856 feet Cross driveway. Old RR sign. Views.
6.8 915 feet

Cross Quarry Road. No parking.

7.25 966 feet

Old stone building on your left.  Views on your right.

7.45 972 feet

Power Lines, old abandoned home on your right.  Entering old quarry area.

7.6 982 feet Leaving old quarry area.
7.7 1006 feet

Trail veers left away from old railroad bed. DO NOT CONTINUE ON OLD RR BED.

8.15 1107 feet

Trail reaches Quarry Road. Turn right and follow road.

8.75 1083 feet

Turn right on Perryville Road. Walking through hamlet of Perryville.

9.45 1111 feet

Turn left on Irish Ridge Road.

10.15 1258 feet Turn right on Freber Road.
10.6 1160 feet

Trail turns left off Freber Road. (Parking) The trail begins again along old railroad bed.

11.15 1114 feet

Cross farm lane.  Nice view a few feet on the right on farm lane.

11.45 1097 feet A nice view on the right about 15 feet off the trail. Crossing over huge ravine.
12.0 1073 feet Take wooden staircase into ravine, cross small stream then ascend back to old railroad bed.
12.1 1079 feet

Cross Carry Hill Road. (Parking)

13.0 1054 feet

Cross Emhoff Rd. (Parking)

13.4 1037 feet

Cross Bingley Rd, ascend up stairs.

15.7 1172 feet

Cross Clark Street. Kiosk. (Parking)  Now in village of Cazenovia.

16.0 1181 feet

Cross Williams Street. (parking)

16.2 1191 feet

Pass by hardware store.  Reach US 20 and turn right following US 20. 

16.4 1222 feet

Turn left on Chenango Street at light.

17.1 1219 feet

Turn left at trailhead parking area. Register & Kiosk. Follow blue and yellow blazes into woods.

17.5 1245 feet Cross small stream.
18.1 1328 feet

View to the right.

18.3 1320 feet Cross small stream on footbridge.
18.7 1534 feet

Trail register, entering Stone Quarry Hill Art Park. Soon turn right.

18.9 1554 feet Turn right on park trail. Trail circles around passing a bird hut.
19.0 1582 feet

Turn right and soon spectacular views. Trail will turn right and then left. Benches.

19.4 1554 feet

Turn right and follow dirt park exit road.

19.5 1554 feet

Turn right on Stone Quarry Rd.

20.5 1427 feet

Four corners, stay straight. Road now called Constine Bridge Rd.

21.0 1395 feet

Reach Nelson Swamp Unique Area parking area. Turn left following yellow & blue blazes. Kiosk & register.

21.1 1392 feet Junction of Nelson Swamp Nature Trail on the right.
21.3 1385 feet Junction of Nelson Swamp Nature Trail on the right.
21.6 1390 feet

Cross Chittenango Creek on footbridge.  Soon enter PRIVATE PROPERTY.

21.8 1386 feet Cross stile. Entering PRIVATE PROPERTY.
22.0 1402 feet Farm gates. Leave gates as they are.
22.2 1405 feet Entering State Lands again.
22.4 1409 feet Trail turns right off old railroad bed.
22.7 1458 feet

Reach Hardscabble Rd.  Turn right on road. 

22.9 1487 feet

Turn left on Irish Hill Road.

23.9 1689 feet

Trail enters woods at bend of road. (parking)  Enter Tioughnioga WMA.

24.5 1668 feet

Trail register.

24.6 1649 feet

Reach old dirt/abandoned Holmes Rd. Turn left and follow old road.

24.7 1672 feet

Junction of blue blazed Onondaga Trail on your right.  The North Country Trail now follows the Onondaga Trail.  Link Trail continues straight.  Now you're following just yellow blazes.

25.4 1640 feet

Cross Damon Road. (shoulder parking)

26.1 1800 feet

Reach Corkinsville Rd (seasonal/dirt) (parking).  Turn left past gate following old DEC road.

26.8 1949 feet

Turn right off old DEC Road, following yellow blazes.

27.5 1970 feet

Trail register. Trail soon descends.

28.1 1739 feet

Reach Dugway Road.  Parking.  The Link Trail across the street will dead end in 2 miles.  To continue, turn right on Dugway Road. Road walk for the next 4.6 miles.

30.6 1439 feet

Reach stop sign and NY 80. Turn left on NY 80.

32.7 1560 feet

Trail veers right off NY 80. Then trail turns right and heads uphill.  Limited shoulder parking. 

33.2 1727 feet

Reach an area recently cleared and turn right.  Following old logging road.

33.4 1820 feet

Trail register

33.9 2022 feet

High point along main continuous trail.

34.4 1929 feet

Trail turns left. Follow yellow boundary paint on trees.

34.7 1916 feet

Reach Muller Hill State Forest Boundary. 

35.3 1942 feet

Junction of spur trail to Carpenter Rd (0.6 mi).  Turn left for main Link Trail.

35.7 1691 feet

Reach non drivable section of Chapman Road. The dirt road received major damage during the storms of 2011 & 2012. Turn left and follow eroded road then turn right off road in 100 feet. Then cross Tioughnioga Creek. This whole area was devasted from flooding.

36.4 1823 feet

Reach dirt Muller Hill Road.(parking)  Turn left, then quick right onto dirt Wood Road (Bundy Road).

36.8 1792 feet

Seasonal dirt Wood Road (Bundy Rd) becomes an abandoned road, follow old road.

37.9 1853 feet

Reach drivable Wood Road. (Parking)  Continue down Wood Road.

38.6 1662 feet

Reach Crumb Hill Road. Turn left and follow road.

38.7 1663 feet

Turn right off road into woods following yellow blazes. Now in Mariposa State Forest

40.3 1790 feet

Southern Terminus. JCT of white blazed Finger Lakes Trail. 

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