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Our 2010 Hikes - April 19Perkins Pond Lean To
and Kopac Loop
Pharsalia WMA, McDonough State Forest
and Bowman Lake State Park
Date: April 19, 2010
Length of hike #1: 1.7 miles
Length of hike #2: 4.1 miles
Location: near Pharsalia, NY
Trailhead #1: Church Hill Road at FLT crossing
Trailhead #1 Coordinates: N42 38.708 W75 44.007
Trailhead #2: Sherman Road at Kopac Pond Parking Area
Trailhead #2 Coordinates: N42 30.847 W75 41.931
Name of Trails on Hike #1: Finger Lakes Trail, Perkins Pond Lean To Trail
Name of Trails on Hike #2: Finger Lakes Trail, Kopac Trail, Whaley Lake Trail
Hike #1 Difficulty: Easy
Hike #1 Elevation Gain: 83 feet
Hike #2 Difficulty: Easy
Hike #2 Elevation Gain: 191 feet
Trail Conditions: Wet & muddy sections along the Kopac Trail & Whaley Lake Trail
Features: Lean To, old walls, Kopac Pond, Bowman Lake, Whaley Lake, we saw an eagle soaring above us at Whaley Lake.
Links: FLT - Pharsalia WMA and Kopac Trail
Hike #1 on 4/19/2010 --> Perkins Pond Lean To
We decided on two hikes on Monday with the first a short leg stretcher to Perkins Pond Lean To and the second the Kopac Loop Trail. Both of these hikes are located in Chenango County and are easy. Our first stop was South Otselic to Church Hill Road and Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area. After reaching the crossing of the Finger Lakes Trail, we carefully parked the car along the side of the seasonal road where we weren't in mud and off the road. You'll see the yellow FLT signs on both sides of the road.
Church Hill Road at the FLT crossing
We've done this section of the FLT a few times. If you head north (descend) there is a waterfall about 0.4 miles away when there is water. Something to think about if your looking for more hiking from this spot. We headed south on the trail following the white blazes and climbed gently from the road. After hiking just over 0.1 miles you'll reach a trail register.
Trail register along the Finger Lakes Trail
At 0.25 miles of hiking the trail travels next to an old wall before crossing the wall. In another 0.2 miles reach the junction of the blue blazed Perkins Pond Lean To Trail at an old woods road. Turn right and follow the blue blazes. This trail isn't as well worn as the FLT, so it's important to follow the blazes. The trail follows the boundary of Pharsalia WMA and Perkins Pond State Forest briefly before entering the state forest.
Hiking next to an old stone wall
As you wind toward the lean to, the trail crosses a small stream before reaching the lean to after 0.85 miles of hiking. The Perkins Pond Lean To was built in 2005 and is a real nice looking lean to. There is a fire pit and privy available.
Scrappy hangs out in front of the Perkins Pond Lean To
There is a dedication plaque inside the lean to that reads:
Lean To built in memory of Rufus B. Perkins
18 JUL 1919 - 2 JAN 2004
Builder and maintainer of the Finger Lakes Trail
4th hiker to complete FLT, 29 SEP 1990
Simply retrace your steps to your vehicle for a pleasant 1.7 mile hike. If you decide to visit the waterfall you'll have a nice 2.5 mile hike total in this scenic place. Look below for a map and video. Further below is information on our second hike of the day, the Kopac Loop (under construction).
Hike #2 on 4/19/2010 --> Kopac Pond Trail, Kopac Trail & Whaley Lake Trail
Our second hike had us exploring the Kopac Trail, part of which travels through Bowman Lake State Park. You can park in the state park, however we chose to park and start our hike from the Kopac Pond Trail DEC small parking area on Sherman Road. This signed, small parking area with a kiosk, is located west of the main state park entrance. HINT... You'll skip the park entry fee if you park here. You are in McDonough State Forest.
The DEC parking area on Sherman Road
The Kopac Trail is part of the 900+ mile Finger Lakes Trail system and is marked with blue blazes. The Kopac Pond Trail is an accessible DEC trail that loops 0.2 miles from the parking area and includes a stop at an observation deck on Kopac Pond. The Kopac Trail technically begins off the Kopac Pond Loop Trail. You'll see the blue blazes of the Kopac Trail off the DEC trail and the Kopac Trail "split" is immediate. It's worth the short side trip to Kopac Pond.
Observation Deck on Kopac Pond
We decided to do the loop counter clockwise and "veered" right on the Kopac Trail at 0.2 miles, after our visit to Kopac Pond. Cross over an old stone wall and enter Bowman Lake State Park. The park's lake trail heads north and you'll also cross an old road, which is used for snowmobiling. At 0.75 miles you'll reach the dam for Bowman Lake and a great view of the lake as well as the park area.
Following the dam along Bowman Lake
At 0.85 miles the Kopac Trail turns left and will soon pass by a picnic table/grill. Be sure to follow the blue blazes and not the "trail" signs. The trail will soon follow along the shoreline of Bowman Lake and pass another picnic table. At 1.0 miles the white blazes of the Finger Lakes Trail comes in from the right. The FLT and Kopac Trail will coincide briefly.
Kopac Trail coincides with the Finger Lakes Trail briefly
The trail leaves the shoreline. First you'll travel past the park concession stand on your left and then at 1.15 miles you'll see the main beach on your left. Soon the trail crosses through the edge of a parking area. You'll see the familiar yellow Finger Lakes Trail sign as you hike at the edge of the parking area. The trail travels past camp site #156 before reaching the split of the Kopac Trail / Finger Lakes Trail at 1.3 miles. A few feet on the FLT is a mileage sign worth checking out.
Passing camp site 156 in Bowman Lake State Park
The Kopac Trail turns left into the woods. Soon you'll cross a stream on a footbridge and thereafter the park's lake trail splits left away from the Kopac Trail at 1.5 miles. Follow the blue blazes as the Kopac Trail ascends as it makes its way further away from Bowman Lake. This section will be popular with those who enjoy seeing old stone walls as you will encounter many old stone walls.
Old stone wall along the Kopac Trail
At 2.0 miles the Kopac Trail reaches yet another old stone wall and old road. The Kopac Trail turns left here. Going right on the old woods road will take you to the Finger Lakes Trail. In a few hundred feet the Kopac Trail will cross an old road and use puncheon through a wet area. At 2.3 miles, as you pass through another wet section on puncheons, reach the junction of the yellow blazed Whaley Lake Trail on your right.
Approaching Whaley Lake Trail on puncheons
The Whaley Lake Trail leaves the Kopac Trail on puncheons and travels 0.4 miles to Whaley Lake. Its worth the side trip to the dam to take a break or picnic while enjoying the beauty of the lake. We saw an eagle soar above us while we visited on this day!
Whaley Lake from the earthen dam
The Whaley Lake Trail ends prior to reaching the open area of the earthen dam and there is a wet section leading to the dam. Its worth making your way to the open area of the dam. We stopped just in front of the scenic island in the lake at 2.75 miles. Simply retrace your steps back to the Kopac Trail and turn right toward the "Kopak" Trail sign to continue your loop hike.
Kopac Trail sign near Whaley Lake Trail
The trail comes close to Kopac Creek at 3.75 miles and soon you'll see Kopac Pond through the trees. Watch for the blue blazes carefully in this area. At 4.0 miles you'll reach the Kopac Trail split as well as the DEC accessible Kopac Pond Trail. Follow the ADA trail back to the parking area at 4.1 miles. Except for the wet and muddy sections (it is mud season), this hike should be enjoyable for all members of your family. It is a fairly easy and pleasant hike. The trail is well marked and is easy to follow for the most part.
We have a map and video below of this great hike.
Directions: NY 23 to Pharsalia. Take County Route 10 to East Pharsalia. Turn right onto County Route 8 at the Balsam Inn. Turn left on Sherman Road. At weird intersection, veer left to continue on Sherman Road. The DEC parking area will be on the left.
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