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North Country Trail
Kershener Hill, Pucker Bush Overlook,
Bristol Hills Trail & Mitchellsville Creek Gorge
This great section of the North Country Trail begins as the trail leaves Sand Pit Road near Bath, NY. Most of the trail in this section is located on PRIVATE PROPERTY. There is no camping or fires allowed anywhere along this section of trail, except at the Hickory Hill Lean To. There are numerous fantastic views. This stretch of the NCT coincides with the Finger Lakes Trail and is featured on map M12 from the FLTC.
The trail ascends up Kershener Hill as you leave dirt Sand Pit Road behind you. There are views almost immediately as you ascend. Better views to follow as you walk along the edge of a cornfield after 0.65 miles of hiking (see panorama below). You'll pass a small pond on your right and then come to an opening at 1.55 miles, which is a trail that leads steeply 0.7 miles to Hickory Hill Campground.
More views soon after going under power lines as you walk briefly in a field. Soon after a right turn reach the Hickory Hill Lean To on the right at 1.75 miles. This lean to was built in 2011 and features a privy, picnic table, and fire ring. After 2.55 miles reach a trail register and reminders of no camping/fires along this section of trail. There are some views about 50 feet from the trail as you skirt a corn field. Then you'll skirt by a "pit" before starting to descend toward Robbins Road along an old road.
After 3.05 miles reach dirt Robbins Road and a parking area. The trail follows the dirt road for 0.3 miles before veering into the woods at the bend in the road. You'll pass near a home as you ascend along the trail before entering a large field at 3.9 miles. Soon the views open up as you walk along the edge of the field. At 4.35 miles there is are two perfectly placed stone benches that allow you to rest and enjoy the spectacular view that engulfs you (see panorama above). It's just a short walk before you enter the woods at a trail register and the "Pucker Bush Overlook".
At 4.7 miles the trail reaches the rough seasonal dirt Ferris Road and at 5.0 miles reach the junction of the southern terminus of the 50+ mile Bristol Hills Trail on your left. The trail briefly follows an even rougher seasonal dirt Newton Road before ascending a hill before steeply descending toward County Route 13. The trail crosses County Route 13 into a field before crossing a stile next to a gate then entering the woods and the start of the Mitchellsville Creek Gorge section.
The trail will gently drop over 600 feet in elevation over the next 2.2 miles as you walk in this scenic, relatively unknown gorge. The trail walks along the rim of the gorge and has numerous views of waterfalls. You have the sound of Mitchellsville Creek as you hike along the gorge. There are views of the gorge as you hike.
The trail briefly follows the old railroad track of the Bath & Hammondsport Railroad. The Bath & Hammondsport Railroad was officially born in 1872 when approval was given to operate a railroad between the two towns. The proposed railroad would be be a total of 9 miles in length, connecting with the Erie Railroad in Bath, and Keuka Lake in Hammondsport. Construction was completed in 1875.
Today the B&H is still in business, however this nine mile original track is not in service. The Finger Lakes Trail / North Country Trail takes you along the old tracks briefly as you make your way toward the Keuka Lake Inlet.
The trail re-enters the woods and crosses Keuka Lake Inlet on a footbridge. You'll walk along a vineyard prior to reaching County Route 88 and good parking along the side of the road. This section ends as the trail crosses busy NY 54 and skirts the Vinehurst Motel, which is a popular stop for thru hikers. There is also the Pleasant Valley Inn located at the corner.
Look below for a couple of pictures, videos, maps and a detailed description of this section of the trail. Parts of this section are included as "Best of the NCT in New York".
Hiking the white blazed FLT/NCT on Kershener Hill
Pond along the FLT/NCT
Bridge over Keuka Lake Inlet
Mile Elevation Description (Follow white blazes) 0.0 1245 ft
This section starts as the trail turns left off Sand Pit Road. Follow white blazes. Hiking on PRIVATE PROPERTY. Ascend. Parking along shoulder of road. GPS N42 21.275 W77 20.110 There is NO CAMPING or FIRES allowed on this section of trail. except at the Hickory Hill Lean to.
0.1 1341 ft
Trail turns left. Soon views to your left.
0.65 1551 ft
Entering edge of corn field. Follow edge of field. Soon great views to your right and behind you.
1.1 1662 ft
1.5 1632 ft
Pass pond on your right.
1.55 1626 ft
Opening. Blue blazed (hard to see blazes) trail on your right leads 0.7 miles steeply to Hickory Hill Campground.
1.65 1620 ft
Pass under power lines.
1.75 1671 ft
Trail turns right, enters field, reaches Hickory Hill Lean To and then re-enters woods.
2.0 1690 ft
Trail turns left.
2.55 1801 ft
2.65 1769 ft
View 50 feet left of trail in corner of corn field. Soon enter edge of "pit" before descending on old road.
2.95 1612 ft
Trail veers right along old road. Look for old wall on your right prior to turn.
3.05 1525 ft
Reach Robbins Road. Parking. GPS N42 23.198 W77 18.880 Turn left and follow dirt road.
3.35 1583 ft
At bend in road, trail goes straight into woods following old woods road. Limited parking on side of road.
3.9 1773 ft
Trail enters field. Trail follows edge of field, then dirt road along edge of field.
4.1 1820 ft
Views start. Continue to follow dirt road along edge of field.
4.35 1915 ft
Stone benches. Spectacular views.
4.4 1910 ft
Pucker Bush Overlook. Trail Register. Last of the views.
4.7 1798 ft
Reach seasonal dirt Ferris Road. Turn right and follow dirt road. Parking only possible 0.6 mile to the west on the corner of Clark Hill Road. GPS N42 24.076 W77 19.988
5.0 1676 ft
Junction with orange blazed Bristol Hills Trail on your left.
5.4 1496 ft
5.7 1656 ft
Turn right on rough seasonal dirt Newton Road. Poor parking. Very rough road, especially from the south.
6.1 1560 ft
Trail turns left off Newton Road. Steeply ascend.
6.4 1801 ft
Top of hill. Follow ridge with some views through trees.
6.95 1681 ft
Trail turns right and steeply descends hill toward County Route 13.
7.2 1416 ft
7.4 1411 ft
Cross County Route 13. Enter field. Parking along side of road. GPS N42 24.148 W77 17.432
7.5 1421 ft
Cross stile next to gate. Enter woods. Start of the Mitchellsville Creek Gorge section. Descend. Over 600 foot elevation change in 2.2 miles to Kueka Lake Inlet and County Route 88. Popular section of trail.
7.8 1346 ft
9.25 821 ft
Turn left on old railroad tracks, then real soon right off tracks.
9.4 812 ft
Cross Kueka Lake Inlet on footbridge. Trail will soon go thru vineyard to County Route 88.
9.7 816 ft
Turn right on County Route 88. Parking. GPS N42 23.379 W77 15.554
9.9 824 ft
Reach NY 54 and the end of this section. Trail crosses road. Parking. GPS N42 23.291 W77 15.626 Vinehurst Motel next to trail.
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