CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Our 2010 Hikes Cuyler Hill State Forest FLT/NCT in Cuyler Hill State Forest Chippewa Falls Trail
Our 2010 Hikes - July 22

Cuyler Hill State Forest
Chippewa Falls


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Date:  July 22, 2010

Length of hike 3.3 miles round trip

Location:  Cuyler Hill State Forest near Cuyler, NY

Trailhead:  Stoney Brook Road at entrance of state land

Trailhead Coordinates:  N43 29.002 W75 19.707

Name of Trails:  North Country Trail, Onondaga Trail, Finger Lakes Trail and Chippewa Falls Trail

Hike Difficulty:  Moderate

Hike Elevation Gain: 619 feet

Trail Conditions:  Some overgrown sections, well marked trails

Features:  Views, waterfalls (although dry on this day)

Links: Chippewa Falls Trail

We actually attempted this hike on Monday 7/19 during the mid afternoon.  Just prior to starting I could hear and see a thunderstorm rolling in (see panorama above).  After waiting out the storm, another storm was approaching in the distance and after checking out the radar, a third storm was taking aim on the area.  Needless to say, we decided to postpone our hike until Thursday 7/22.

Second storm approaching us on Monday

The trail to Chippewa Falls was once part of the main Finger Lakes Trail until the loss of permission from a land owner closed the trail at the falls.  This has created the "Cuyler Gap" in the main FLT as the trail now has to follow the Onondaga Trail/North Country Trail briefly as well as a long road walk to reach the next off road section in Mariposa State Forest.

The main Finger Lakes Trail travels 550 miles from the NY/PA state line in Allegany State Park to the Catskills.  It is the longest continuous trail in New York state at this time (the future North Country Trail when finished will be longer at around 600 miles).  The Finger Lakes Trail also has branch trails and other trails as part of the 900+ mile Finger Lakes Trail System.  The old Finger Lakes Trail to Chippewa Falls has become part of the Finger Lakes Trail System as the orange blazed Chippewa Falls Trail.

View from the small parking area along Stoney Brook Rd

We started our hike at the small parking area at the entrance of Cuyler Hill State Forest along Stoney Brook Road across from a yellow Finger Lakes Trail sign.  This is actually the blue blazed Onondaga Trail / North Country Trail.  Did you notice the views behind you as you drove up Stoney Brook Road?  Be sure to walk a short distance back down the road to enjoy the views. 

Your following the blue blazed Onondaga Trail into the woods along an old woods road, but soon turning right into the forest off the old woods road.  On the day we visited there were numerous sections where the brambles were taking over the trails.  Be sure to watch your steps in the high grass/weeds as there are "deadfalls" or fallen trees that were just left over the trail, which can make one trip easily.

We actually stopped, cut and removed a fallen pine that was across the trail with a hand saw I carry in my backpack.  With this wet/hot summer we're having, I can see how easily the grass/weeds/brambles can get out of control.  I'm sure I've mowed our lawn more times this year than last year.  I also know the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) - Onondaga Chapter are looking for volunteers to help in maintaining the 100+ miles of trails they oversee.  Check out their website at to get more info on how you can volunteer and help.

After 0.2 miles reach "Three Trails Junction" and a trail register on your right.  To the right is the white blazed Finger Lakes Trail and to the left is the orange blazed Chippewa Falls Trail.  This is the southern terminus of the blue blazed Onondaga Trail.  Turn left here to follow the orange blazed Chippewa Falls Trail.

Three Trails Junction in Cuyler Hill State Forest

At 0.5 miles the trail merges onto an old logging road, which is now just a grassy lane.  This part was very overgrown when we visited.  Parts of the trail were over grown with brambles and parts were great.  There are no major turns or other trails that intersect with the Chippewa Falls Trail, so it's easy to follow the orange blazes.  The trail will leave the old logging road eventually.  You may notice a home as the trail passes along the yellow paint for the state land boundary.

At 1.65 miles you'll reach Chippewa Falls.  Watch your step around the edge!  I didn't notice a triple blaze to mark the end of the Chippewa Falls Trail.  There is a nice view a short ways down on the trail.  I wouldn't go to much further, since much of your hike back is ascending!  Retrace your steps back to Three Trails Junction at 3.05 miles, but this time stay straight on the white blazed Finger Lakes Trail and then turn right on dirt Stoney Brook Road at 3.1 miles.

A dry Chippewa Falls in July 2010

Simply follow the dirt road back to your vehicle and your finished with this hike at 3.3 miles with an elevation gain of 619 feet.  If you plan to do this hike, hike it during spring snow melt or after a lot of rain!  Look below for a video (coming soon) plus a map of this hike.  Go to the Chippewa Falls Trail web page for more pictures and information on this trail.

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