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Hiking in Onondaga County
Enjoy the natural and historic aspects by walking the Charlie Major Nature Trail along Skaneateles Creek between Old Seneca Turnpike and Crow Hill Road. A rail line, known as the Skaneateles Short Line, helped to maintain prosperity in the community by serving the industries along the outlet. It also carried passengers from the New York Central Railroad at Skaneateles Junction to Skaneateles where they could board the steamboats for trips around the lake.
Skaneateles Short Line Railroad operated 3 miles of track between Skaneateles Junction and Skaneateles, NY under several slightly different names from 1840 until 1981.
The first Skaneateles Railroad operated from September 30, 1840 until August 1850, and the second Skaneateles Railroad was incorporated on April 17, 1866 and opened on October 1, 1867. The second Skaneateles Railroad operated until 1940, ceasing carrying passengers in 1932.
On October 15, 1940, the Skaneateles Short Line Railroad Corporation incorporated and began operations on April 17, 1941. In 1970, the railroad abandoned the tracks from Skaneateles Falls to Skaneateles.
In 1974, the Stauffer Chemical Company acquired the railroad.
The railroad discontinued operations on July 15, 1981 and was later abandoned.
Today, the rails are gone and a serene path follows Skaneateles Creek for part of its journey. There is a nice area to picnic along the creek at the north end near the Crow Hill Road bridge (the Mottville Trailhead). There is also a nice playground at the Mottville Trailhead for the kids to enjoy.
This 0.8 mile pathway, known as the Charlie Major Nature Trail, still has the relics from a time long gone as you walk or ride this path. Look closely and you'll see remnants from the days of the railroad.
Look below for a trail map from our hike, plus a few pictures and a video of part of the Charlie Major Nature Trail. This hike is one of many featured in the book "Take Your Bike - Family Rides in New York's Finger Lakes Region".
Bridge on the Charlie Major Nature Trail
Ruins along the trail
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