Trail Conditions

As the winter winds down and snow melt turns trails into a muddy, slushy mess, I thought I’d create this thread for local trail runners to post updates on conditions and closures.

Monkey Run: Two days ago (March 12) I ran the Monkey Run 8-mile loop. Except for a short 100m stretch, all the snow at ice were gone. There was slick mud in all the usual spots and the rest was dry. I ran at a pretty good clip in semi-agressive trail shoe (the Topo Terraventure) and had no issues with traction. I skipped the railroad bed section on the southeast side but that’s probably dry too.

Abbott Loop: I ran the 8-mile loop in Danby State Forest yesterday (3/13). No ice, snow, or slush anywhere to be seen. Some spots had standing water, the stream crossings were deeper, and the swamp (west of Michigan Hollow Road) was a mess like it always is. The loop is runnable, but be prepared for wet feet. Some sporadic muddy patches were a bit difficult.

Hammond Hill: I haven’t been here for awhile, but heard from @esambo via Strava on 3/12 that the Hammond trails are full of ice, slush, and mud. The higher elevation area at Hammond’s north end tends to melt slowly.

Trail Closures: The gorge trails at Buttermilk, Treman, and Cascadilla are all still closed, as well as Treman’s Red Pine Trail. The Treman Lake Trail at upper Buttermilk is blocked by the dam, but there’s no barrier on the end by Comfort Road.

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I ran on Hammond Hill last Sunday, reverse 1/2 Bugliosi and then the green trails on the north slope. Plenty of snow but not deep, melting (it was a warm day) and not slippery, I could run in normal trail shoes. I overtook a skiier who could barely move through the glop. Some areas under trees were snow-free and the needle fall also makes that good footing. Down on the N slope (truck/handicap access trail) the snow was much deeper. I suppose with one week of fairly mild weather much of the snow has melted by now. P.s. if you run on Y1 overlooking the big field looking west, don’t miss the nice stone bench dedicated to our long-time member Tob de Boer (father of Yvette) by the Nordic Ski Club.


Up on Hammond Hill yesterday, starting from the north Roy Park Preserve parking lot (by the boardwalk) on Irish Settlement Road, up the red trail to the Bugliosi parking lot, then Y1 to Y6 to B1, crossed Hammond Hill Rd. at the top of the first Bugliosi hill, then the B1 loop to the west, bushwacked on abandoned log trail to the active logging trail that comes out farther down Hammond Hill, back along that road past the Bugliosi start to the parking lot and back down to Park preserve. Almost no snow, only a few patches in very sheltered positions. Only a few wet/muddy spots, pretty surprising considering how much snow had been on the ground. Much less mud than a typical Thom B. Good conditions all around. The usual deep pools along Hammond Hill Rd. at the top were filled with icy water and a few “ice floes” (these last a long time) but the bypasses were easy and dry.

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Thanks for the update. I’m looking forward to getting back up to Hammond.

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What’s the status of the South Hill Rec Way? Sometimes, that ice gets so packed that it’s sketchy far longer than one would expect.

I ran there today. It was totally dry west of where the path splits at the playground. I’d safely assume the eastern end is dry too.

Thom B loop was pristine this morning, no snow and only a little mud!
Has anyone been down to the Fingerlakes Trail between Gulf Rd and Connecticut Hill? Wondering how much mud wading and snow still remains there.

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FLT from Harford-Slaterville road up into Robinson Hollow State Forest, + plenty of bushwacking and snowmobile trails… soggy and muddy! If you like muddy wet feet this is for you.

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The same can be said for the FLT on private land between Comfort and Gunderman (but without the snowmobile trails).

Today FLT from Robinson Hollow Rd. (very steep climb to start!) and then bushwack on old logging roads to find the snowmobile trail, followed it down to the bottom through newly-acquired FLTT land to Pacific Rd. (Tioga County side of Caroline), back up, then snowmobile trail back north almost to the top (saddle), then some more logging roads to find the FLT and back to the start. Quite dry, good footing; only a few spots with water running in the trail or logging road. Barely any mud on my legs. Now that the vegetation is not yet out is a good time to go exploring and get off the beaten path (well, the FLT in this section is not so well-beaten…)

The Finger Lakes Land Trust trails accessible from Ellis Hollow Creek Road (and the relatively hidden trails bounded by Hickory Circle, Turkey Hill Road, and Mount Pleasant Road) are largely dry as well. There are a few wet, muddy spots where streams go through, but they’re easily avoided.

And I agree about this being the best time to explore off-trail, Truck. I was out hiking up there with a friend, and several times we just cut across the grain in the direction we knew we wanted to go. Once the brambles grow up and the leaves come, that won’t be nearly as easy.

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Out to Hammond Hill this afternoon Saturday 25th April – nice weather and the first infestation of mountain bikers. The intersection of Canaan and Star Stanton was full of cars with bike racks, not much social distancing as a group took off right behind each other down Y3 (part of Thom B). Trails have the usual mud and wetness for this time of year and the bikers are not helping that any. So I retreated down the hill to the ATV/Handicap Access trail (nice initiative of the DEC, although I’ve never met a handicap vehicle there) and ran that up through some private land (no notice on the other side of the sign, as Woody Guthrie says) to the notch, then bushwacked back to Blue2/Blue1 on old logging roads. Plenty of fresh mud and rough going, the higher positions are dry. But at least no bikers. Only met one person, a hiker with a small dog, just near the end of Blue 1 coming back to Star Stanton Road.

I ran the Abbott Loop in Danby today and was happy to come across a volunteer from the Cayuga Trails Club building a new foot bridge over the first stream crossing on the Down & Dirty course. (This is the large crossing two miles into the race. In October there’s always enough water that you’re guaranteed to get wet; sometimes it’s like a foot deep.) It looks the bridge will be complete sometime this summer. I may look into organizing a trail work day to help the CTC maintain the trails used in the DD&D, once the pandemic subsides and it becomes safe to assemble in larger groups.

I also found a raccoon on the side of the trail a mile later, in that swampy ravine area. The poor guy was out in broad daylight and appeared to be sick or injured with no signs of rabies.

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A few “gorgeous” trail updates:

The Gorge Trails at Treman and Buttermilk are both open now, but limited to one-way traffic. Both parks have signage telling people that in order to best maintain physical distancing, the Gorge Trail is for descending traffic only, and the Rim Trail is for ascent only. Of course this doesn’t stop a lot of people from ignoring the rules entirely. The few times I’ve been on these trails it appeared they have no way of enforcing it.

The Fillmore Glen Rim Trails are fully open, but I’ve confirmed the Gorge Trail will be closed for the season (due to damage from snow and ice, just like it always is :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:).

I’ve heard all Taughannock trails are open but haven’t had a chance to check it out. The Cascadilla Gorge remains closed for now.


First Hammond Hill run since 24-May, in between runs I was at my other home in Arnhem (Netherlands) and enjoying some mild ups and downs on ridges left over from two glaciers ago. Yes I am quarantining, only communing with myself out on the trails. Quite the change from the last run 9 weeks ago. The drought doesn’t seem to have affected the forest vegetation, and has left the trails almost all dry. Y1 to B1 to snowmobile trail to the DEC logging area west of HH Road, then down logging trails (some old, some newly cut) to Six Mile Creek in the 600, then bushwack back up a side gorge to eventually come out on HH road close to the B1 crossing, then down that killer hill from the start of Thom B. This run and the break in between reminded me of how much the change of seasons gives such variety to our running.

There is now a new footbridge on the Backbone Trail in the Finger Lakes National Forest and the previously closed section of trail is reopened. This replaces the washed out bridge on the Backbone about a mile south of the trailhead at Ball Diamond Road (the location of Aid Station 5: The Morgue on the FL 50s course.)

I ran the 50s loop over the weekend and the trails are still very dry.

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Thank you to Michael Ludgate and the Friends of Hammond Hill for working with the DEC to publish an up-to-date trail map for Hammond Hill State Forest. Hammond Hill is an easy place to get lost if you’re not overly familiar with the forest and this new map looks a lot more accurate than the old DEC map.

Up on Hammond Hill yesterday 08-Nov. Trails all dry, covered with leaves so for some of the less travelled section pay close attention. Just up the hill from the Connections camp on the Thom B finisher connector are two huge trees, blown down across the trail. Nice to see a good number of people out, all on foot except two horses, no bikes during my run.

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I was up there early in the morning and saw several familiar faces on the trails.

BTW the new trail map for Hammond Hill shows the renamed ex-“Red Man Run” (the one leading up to the parking area near the two aid stations of Thom B), appropriately renamed Ganowatchgerage Rd. – that was the Native name for W Branch Owego Creek which has one of its sources on the S face of Hammond Hill. I hope a Cayuga speaker will tell us how to pronounce it correctly.