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Hiking in Oneida County
New York State Lands
Rome Sand Plains Unique Area
All 16,000 acres of the Rome Sand Plains Unique Area are located within the city of Rome. It is one of only a handful of inland pine barrens in the country. This natural treasure consists of high sand dunes and low peat bogs, along with pine barrens and hardwood forests, meadows and wetlands.
There are multiple trails located in the Unique Area. The most popular is the 0.6 mile Wood Creek Trail off Hogsback Road. Just west is the Blue Trail 1.9 mile loop (DEC sign says 1.6 miles). Below is the DEC map for Rome Sand Plains Unique Area. We have info on a couple of trails we hiked and our own trail map. We also have included pictures of this truly unique area.
Look for a video of the Wood Creek Trail & Blue Trail below.
Wood Creek Trail
Follow this gentle 0.6 mile trail along the crest of a towering dune to the banks of historic Wood Creek. The trail begins off a small parking lot on Hogsback Road. Your greeted by two informational signs which describe the geological formation of the sand dunes and the history of the east-west navigation on Wood Creek. Be sure to sign in at the trail register.
The first part of the trail cuts through an open sandy area with scattered pitch pines and barren openings of moss and lichens. Then the trail winds through a variety of forest cover types. There are tall white pine, hemlock and oak on the trail where it cuts along the side of this outstanding example of a ancient sand dune. The trail then drops down to the shrubby flood plain of Wood Creek. Simply retrace your steps back to the parking area for a 1.2 mile round trip hike. See panorama above of Wood Creek.
There is an overall elevation gain/loss of 119 feet for this relatively easy and pleasant hike. There are some red DEC trail markers to assist in following the trail. If you like the smell of pines and the tranquility of the banks of a scenic creek, you'll love this hike.
Wood Creek Trail
The Blue Trail begins a few hundred feet down the road, west of the parking area for the Wood Creek Trail. There are a couple of DEC signs to mark the trailhead. The signs say "Blue Trail 1.6 miles" and this is true, the Blue Trail is 1.6 miles, however the overall loop hike is 1.9 miles (add 0.3 miles on your return). The trail basically follows old logging roads throughout the area. Be sure to follow the Blue DEC Trail discs carefully.
This is a pleasant hike through pines and is worth exploring. There is a total elevation gain/loss of only 25 feet for this easy loop hike. Look below for details of the hike:
0.0 miles - Hogsback Road. Soon veer left as Snowmobile Trail goes right.
0.3 miles - Loop Split and other old roads. Follow arrow sign and turn right and then a quick left. Follow blue discs.
0.45 miles - Turn right.
0.7 miles - below on your left is Beaver Creek floodplain.
1.2 miles - Turn right.
1.3 miles - Turn right.
1.6 miles - Reach Loop Split. Turn left to retrace your steps back to Hogsback Rd.
1.9 miles - Reach Hogsback Road and the end of this hike.
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