CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Finger Lakes Trail FLT Central Section NCT in Central New York

North Country Trail

Finger Lakes
National Forest

Excelsior Glen


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This 10.5 mile section of the North Country Trail has it all. A walk next to one of the Finger Lakes (Seneca Lake). A walk through a scenic glen (Excelsior Glen) with waterfalls. A walk along an old railroad. A walk through a National Forest. And it even throws in some views.  Get out and explore this great section of the NCT. This stretch of the NCT coincides with the white blazed Finger Lakes Trail.

This section of the trail begins as the trail turns off NY 414 in Watkins Glen after the canal bridge into Clute Park.  The trail follows near Seneca Lake in the park before coming back to NY 414.  The trail crosses NY 414 and heads into scenic Excelsior Glen and its waterfalls.

The trail crosses Excelsior Creek, which can be a slippery crossing.  Take care on this stream crossing.  Soon reach dirt Jolly Road, which begins a 3.2 mile road walk to Burdett.  The trail reaches "Twin Tunnels" and enters private property along a private road.  This section of the trail on private property to Finger Lakes National Forest is CLOSED during hunting season from May 1 - 31 and Oct 12 - Dec 17.  Please respect the landowners request and stay off the trail during these dates.

The trail briefly follows the old Lehigh Valley Railroad before it enters woods and then enters an abandoned vineyard.  The trail enters Finger Lakes National Forest, passes a trail register before crossing Satterly Road.  There are great views here.  The trail leaves the national forest briefly before crossing Logan Road and reentering Finger Lakes National Forest.

The trail climbs along a stream, passing the South Slope Trail and turning toward Burnt Hill Road.  The trail crosses the dirt road and reaches the Interloken Trail.  The trail passes the Dunham Lean To on the left which has a large camping area, fire pits, outhouse and even some views.

The trail reaches the parking area at Burnt Hill Road and the end of this scenic 10.5 mile section of the North Country Trail. 

Here is some information about a special project completed at the Dunham Shelter in June 2013:

If you visit  the Tech rooms at DeWitt Middle School in Ithaca, NY after school hours, you would expect for it to be empty. But instead, the two rooms are filled with students that are a part of TSA (Technology Student Association). Some are coding and writing essays to compete at the International TSA conference in Orlando, Florida, while others are using CAD software or complex machinery to craft C02 dragsters and robots. One of the groups, probably the most community oriented is planning on reconstructing a handicap access ramp for the composting toilet at the Dunham Trail Shelter.

The Dunham Trail Shelter is located on the Interloken Trail, which is a part of the Finger Lakes National Forest Trail system and ultimately connects to the Appalachian Trail. The National Forest System is managed by the US Dept of Agriculture. It is their responsibility to ensure that all shelters comply with the Americans with Disability Act and provide reasonable handicap access. The Dunham Trail shelter and toliet has a ramp that is supposed to be handicap accessible, but it is so steep that it barely serves the purpose. The Dewitt TSA students advised by their teachers Mr. David Buchner and Mr. Bob Walters are reconstructing the ramp for a construction event. The project will be completed on June 23rd. At the National TSA conference in Orlando from June 28-July 2nd, the students will present their entire project plans and implementation steps and the final status to the judges and they will try to place higher than hundreds of teams from across the country and even as far as Peru and Germany.

We invite the media to publicize this project for the awareness of the Finger lakes area community and any hikers who use the Interloken Trails. For further details please contact the teamís media spokesperson Vaynu Kadiyali ( or the teamís advisor Mr. David Buchner (


Mile Elevation North Country Trail Description
0.0 447 ft

Trail turns left off NY 414 after canal bridge and enters Clute Park.

0.4 448 ft

Trail leaves park, follows NY 414 across bridge then follows along left side of road.

0.55 451 ft

Junction of the orange blazed Queen Catherine Marsh Loop Trail on right along with Cass Road.

0.8 491 ft

Trail leaves NY 414 and heads east along right side of Excelsior Glen.  Soon Trail register.  Some views through trees of Seneca Lake and then waterfalls.  Unofficial side trails lead to better views (at your own risk).  Ascend at times steeply.

1.3 854 ft

Cross Excelsior Creek.

1.8 877 ft

Trail turns left on Jolly Road and follows road downhill.

2.2 688 ft

Cross NY 79.

2.3 634 ft

Trail turns right on Middle Road and follows road.

4.2 993 ft

Trail turns left on NY 79 and follows road.  Village of Burdett.

4.4 978 ft

Four corners.  Straight on Willow Street.

5.0 945 ft

Twin Tunnels.  Trail turns left off road and follows private road.  This section of trail is closed for hunting from May 1-31 and Oct 12 - Dec 17 from here to the National Forest Boundary. 


5.1 937 ft

Trail turns right and heads toward old railroad bed.

5.2 985 ft

Trail reaches and turns left on old railroad bed.

5.8 987 ft

Trail turns right off old railroad bed.  Begin to ascend.

6.1 1206 ft

Trail turns left and goes through abandoned vineyards.

6.3 1287 ft

Entering Finger Lakes National Forest.

6.5 1323 ft

Trail turns right.

6.7 1387 ft

Trail crosses dirt Satterly Hill Road.  Views.

7.6 1073 ft

Cross creek on bridge and enter private property.

8.1 1161 ft

Cross Logan Road (County Route 4) and enter Finger Lakes National Forest.  Parking.

8.8 1528 ft

South Slope Trail on your left.

9.1 1526 ft

Cross small stream.

9.3 1612 ft

Reach dirt Burnt Hill Road.  Turn right and follow road. 

9.4 1604 ft

Trail turns left back into forest, pass kiosk.

9.5 1664 ft

Junction with Interloken Trail.  Turn right.

9.6 1602 ft

Side trail on your left leads to Dunham Lean To and views.


10.1 1345 ft

Trail turns right. View.

10.5 1311 ft

Trail reaches Burnt Hill Road.  Parking area.  End of this section.  For a continuation see Texas Hollow State Forest.




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