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Hiking in Cortland County
Kennedy State Forest
Finger Lakes Trail System
This moderate 4.1 mile circuit hike within Kennedy State Forest utilizes the whole Dabes Diversion Trail and 1.3 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail to create a loop. This is just one of many loop hikes possible in this forest. This moderate loop hike does have an overall elevation gain/loss of 709 feet.
This is a popular hike in the area, however don't let that stop you from exploring even on a weekend. On one of our visits on a nice Saturday in June, we did not see anyone. We suggest making a visit the Foxfire Lean To, which is located a few hundred feet west of the rock pile view point. This is a great spot for lunch or just a break.
Park along the side of Bleck Road just past Hauck Hill Rd (see directions below). Start your hike by entering the woods near the green Finger Lakes Trail sign and then pass a yellow Finger Lakes Trail sign on a tree. Your following the orange blazes of the Dabes Diversion Trail. The Dabes Diversion Trail is part of the 900+ mile Finger Lakes Trail System.
Your descending toward a stream and will cross the stream at 0.15 miles. Now your gently climbing as you follow along the stream for 0.1 mile before veering left away from the stream. The trail continues to climb as you cross a logging road at 0.4 miles. Do you notice the recent logging above you on the right? The trail levels briefly. Look on your left for quite a drop off. The trail is well worn here.
At 0.7 miles the trail begins a slight ascent, reaching the highest point along the Dabes Diversion Trail of 1964 feet at 0.85 miles. The trail will now descend toward the Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail. At 1.2 miles the trail passes along the remains of an old wall. At 1.4 miles the trail approaches and crosses an impressive old stone wall.
At 1.6 miles you reach the white blazes of the Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail at a large rock pile. A short side trail leads to the open field with a nice panoramic view. If your interested in visiting the Foxfire Lean To, head west for a few hundred feet to reach the lean to. This loop hike now heads east (left from Dabes Diversion Trail end) following the white blazes of the FLT/NCT.
The trail descends, first following near the state forest boundary near a stone wall and then steeply toward a stream. At 1.9 miles the trail crosses a stream. This is the same stream you crossed earlier in your loop hike. The trail now ascends and crosses Bleck Road. The trail continues to climb after crossing the road.
The trail levels off briefly and soon passes the southern terminus of the 0.7 mile Kuzia Cut Off Trail. This blue blazed trail can be used to shorten this loop or create other loop hikes in the area. The Kuzia Cut Off is also part of the 900+ mile Finger Lakes Trail System. The FLT/NCT now descends and crosses rough seasonal Cortwright Road. The trail continues to descend as you walk along a steep ravine with the stream below that you will cross shortly.
At 2.25 cross the stream. This crossing can be tricky during times of high water. The trail turns and follows the stream briefly before heading further into the woods ascending. At 2.7 miles cross a small stream. At 2.8 miles reach a blue blazed trail on your right that leads 0.1 mile to a secluded campsite. When we visited the campsite in June 2010, it looked a bit overgrown. The FLTC plans to take down the sign and black out the blazes sometime in the future.
At 3.0 miles reach "Four Corners" at an old woods road. This is where the Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail meets the Virgil Mountain Trail (heading east, orange blazes) and the Dabes Diversion Trail (heading west, orange blazes). This is the center of the nine mile "figure 8" loop hike possible in this state forest. The FLT/NCT goes straight. You will turn left here and follow the Dabes Diversion Trail to continue this loop hike.
Your now descending down an old washed out woods road. At 3.15 miles reach seasonal dirt O'Dell Road and cross a stream over a culvert. At 3.25 miles reach Hauck Hill Road and turn right following this dirt road. The dirt road straight ahead is Cortwright Road. Still following orange blazes on the dirt road as you ascend up the rough seasonal road.
At 3.65 miles you reach the northern terminus of the 0.7 mile blue blazed Kuzia Cut Off Trail on your left. At 3.7 miles pass a yellow gate on your left that leads to a few primitive campsites. The road begins to level off and the last 0.4 miles is a pleasant woods walk to your vehicle. Reach Bleck Road and the end of this loop hike at 4.1 miles.
We have a map, a few pictures, video and detailed description of this hike below.
Directions: From Virgil, NY --> NY 392 East, then a right on Van Donsel Road. Turn right on Bleck Road. Just past the intersection with Hauck Hill Rd, park on the right along the shoulder of the road. You will see the green Finger Lakes Trail sign. The GPS coordinates are N42 29.310 W76 10.632 for those who have a GPS devise.
Following the orange blazes of the Dabes Diversion Loop Trail
Stone wall along the Dabes Diversion Loop Trail
Crossing a stream on the white blazed Finger Lakes Trail
Rock Pile view point along the FLT/NCT at the end of the Dabes Diversion Trail
From along Bleck Road at the corner of Hauck Hill Rd. Follow the orange blazed Dabes Diversion Trail into woods.
Cross old logging road.
Highest point along Dabes Diversion Trail
Pass by remains of old stone wall.
Trail crosses over an impressive old stone wall.
Reach FLT/NCT. Turn left and follow white blazes. Straight is view. Right is Foxfire Lean To.
Cross dirt Bleck Road.
Junction of blue blazed Kuzia Cut Off Trail on your left.
Cross rough seasonal dirt Cortwright Road.
Cross stream. Can be tricky and dangerous crossing during high water.
Cross small stream.
Blue blazed trail on left leads 0.1 mile to a secluded campsite (overgrown).
Reach "Four Corners". Turn left and descend on the orange blazed Dabes Diversion Trail along old road.
Turn left onto seasonal dirt O'Dell Road.
Turn right onto seasonal dirt Hauck Hill Road and ascend following dirt road.
Junction of blue blazed Kuzia Cut Off Trail on your left.
Yellow gate on left leads to a few primitive campsites. Road levels off.
Reach Bleck Road and the end of this loop hike.
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