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Hiking in Onondaga County
New York State Parks
Loop Hike #2
From the parking area head back toward the ticket booth, walking past the Nature Center. At the Picnic Shelter you will see a sign "stairs to lake". This is where you want to go. Walk steeply down the stairs until you reach the bottom and turn left on the Lake Trail (green blazes). Soon you will walking right next to the lake, with some nice vantage points for pictures for the next 0.2 miles. As you leave the lake you will begin to gently climb. There are no trail junction markings, but veer left and continue up following green blazes. Over the next 0.5 mile you will gain most of the elevation you lost going down the stairs. During your ascent you will reach a major trail junction (not marked), but take a sharp left unto the Cliff Trail and continue to ascend. Continue straight at the junction for the Saddle Back Trail. At 0.9 miles begin to have views from the trail on your left. There are numerous points to stop, take a break and enjoy the views.
At the next trail junction, turn right on the Long Trail (red blazes). Immediately you will be walking on huge boulders that make up the trail and then climb down a short drop off. At the next trail junction turn right on the Pulpit Rock Trail (yellow blazes). The pulpit Rock trail will veer sharply to the left at one point and at 1.5 miles you will climb up 45 feet to the top of "Pulpit Rock". At the next trail junction, continue straight ahead on the Long Trail, then turning left at the next juction (staying on the Long Trail). You will gently ascend until you reach the Mildred Faust Trail. Turn left here and make another left within 25 feet onto Big Buck Trail (white blazes).
Follow Big Buck Trail until you come to a "Y" and turn right unto Dry Lake Trail. This trail at the next junction becomes the Mildred Faust Trail (continue straight/not up the hill). Continue on the Mildred Faust Trail, past the next trail junction (Table Rock Trail) and soon see "Dry Lake" on your left. Cross a bridge and soon turn right onto the paved trail. This leads past the restrooms and the Parking Area at 2.5 miles. The total elevation change for this hike is 262 feet.
NOTE: There are numerous "unauthorized" trails in the State Park. Most authorized trails have signs at every trail junction & blazes.
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