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Hiking in Schuyler County
Finger Lakes Trail System
Marsh Loop Trail
The Queen Catharine Marsh Loop Trail (QCMLT) was created by the Finger Lakes Trail Conference and is part of the nearly 1000 mile Finger Lakes Trail System. The QCMLT has become a popular loop hike in the Watkins Glen area. The QCMLT is 6.3 miles long and when you utilize a 1.2 mile stretch of the main Finger Lakes Trail you create a pleasant 7.5 mile loop hike. This hike is easy, mostly level walking that can be enjoyed by everyone.
The Finger Lakes Trail Conference features a special map with description that they sell on their website. They start the loop hike from Watkins Glen State Park parking area, which makes the hike 8.1 miles. There is a admission fee to park there. We start this loop hike from near the corner of Cass Road and NY 414. There is some safe roadside parking available. From here cross NY 414 and walk down Cass Road, following orange blazes. After 0.2 miles veer left onto the dirt Rock Cabin Road with Seneca Lake Inlet on your right.
At 2.2 miles turn right onto the old Airport Road. At 2.7 miles reach the junction with the 0.25 mile blue blazed Willow Walk Loop, which goes straight while the QCMLT goes right. This stretch of trail is called the Willow Walk, named for the many old willow trees here, some older than 200 years old. At 3.1 miles pass a footbridge on your right (do not cross), at 3.2 miles turn left and now following Montour Marina Drive. At 3.5 miles cross the bridge over the Catharine Creek diversion channel. Before crossing the bridge you'll see the blue blazed Willow Walk Loop trail on your left. This trail can be used to create a short, pleasant 1.0 mile loop.
Continue following Marina Road until you reach busy NY 14 at 4.0 miles. Turn right and at 4.1 miles turn right onto old railroad bed. The trail now coincides with the Catharine Valley Trail. At 4.2 miles the blue blazed Aunt Sarah's Falls Loop Trail is on your left and the return section is reached at 4.3 miles. At 5.6 miles the trail crosses Fairgrounds Lane and at 5.7 miles reach the Watkins Glen HS athletic fields. Follow a road on the right of the fields until you find the RR bed again at 6.0 miles. At 6.2 miles cross Glen Creek on old railroad bridge, then turn left on bank of creek and then right onto Magee Street.
At 6.3 miles reach the corner of Tenth Street and the end of the main QCMLT. You are now following the white blazes of the Finger Lakes Trail, which coincides with the North Country National Scenic Trail. At 6.6 miles reach busy NY 414 and turn right. At 7.0 miles cross bridge over Barge Canal and then turn left into Clute Park as trail follows near shore of Seneca Lake through the park. At 7.4 miles reach NY 414 and turn left. At 7.5 miles reach your vehicle and the end of the Queen Catharine Marsh Loop hike.
A very dry Aunt Sarah's Falls
Trail following dirt Rock Cabin Road
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