Hiking in Chenango County FLT Central Section Kopac Trail
Hiking in Chenango County
Finger Lakes Trail

McDonough State Forest
Bowman Lake State Park
Berry Hill Fire Tower & Bowman Lake


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This section of the Finger Lakes trail begins off dirt Tower Road just south of the Berry Hill Fire Tower. Be sure to check out the fire tower if you're in this area for the views (see panoramic picture above), however the gate is sometimes closed & locked for access to the tower. The views reach all the way to the foothills of the Catskills.

The trail enters McDonough State Forest then soon passes a trail register and then goes across Tower Road. The trail turns left, then soon crosses dirt Preston Road and then another trail register. Just prior to the trail turning right there is a connector trail on your right that leads to the Kopac Trail. The trail crosses a stream on a couple of bridges, enters Bowman Lake State Park and heads near some campsites in the park.

The trail meets the northern terminus of the Kopac Trail, then passes close to the beach parking area.  There is a summer concession stand here, then you'll pass a summer water tap and soon the Nature Building on your right.  This building is used as a warming hut for cross country skiers in the winter.  Pass the southern terminus of the Kopac Trail then follow the park road past the ticket booth.

The trail leaves the state park on Sherman Road before turning off the road and reentering McDonough State Forest.  The trail crosses Bowman Creek on a bridge, then follows Bowman Road to get to the small hamlet of East McDonough and NY 220 (see short video below).  The Outpost Restaurant and their famous hamburgers is located a quarter of a mile to the east of the trail on NY 220.

The trail leaves the small hamlet by going through a playground, then follows an old road uphill and reenters McDonough State Forest.  The trail follows the old road, then another to the crossing of Short Cut Road.  The trail enters the forest and then crosses Chestnut Road.  When the trail reaches Hogan Road it marks the end of the trail described for this section.

This 7.3 mile section of the FLT is easy to moderate hiking and is a popular section of the trail, especially in the state park.  This stretch of the Finger Lakes Trail is featured on map M24 from the FLTC.

Berry Hill Fire Tower

Bridges along the FLT in Bowman Lake State Park

Sign in Bowman Lake State Park
Mile Elevation Trail Description (follow white blazes)
0.0 1823 feet

The trail turns left off Tower Road and enters McDonough State Forest.  Parking. 

0.45 1805 feet

Cross dirt Tower Road.  Limited shoulder parking.

1.3 1786 feet

Cross dirt Preston Road.  Limited shoulder parking.

2.0 1663 feet

Cross stream on bridge.

2.1 1711 feet

Enter Bowman Lake State Park.

2.2 1732 feet

Orange blazed trail on your left.

2.5 1633 feet

Junction of the blue blazed Kopac Trail on your right.

3.0 1670 feet

Junction of blue blazed Kopac Trail on your right.  Trail follows park road.

3.3 1684 feet

Park ticket booth.  Bowman Lake State Park is open year round.

3.4 1671 feet

Turn right on dirt Sherman Road.

3.5 1664 feet

Turns left off dirt road and reenters McDonough State Forest.

4.0 1530 feet

Cross Bowman Creek on bridge.

4.2 1549 feet

Turn left on Bowman Road.

4.9 1523 feet

Cross NY 220.  Trail goes through a playground, then uphill on old road (left corner of playground).

5.6 1683 feet

Cross under power lines.

5.9 1703 feet

Trail veers right on another old road.

6.1 1739 feet

Cross Short Cut Road.  Some parking.

6.7 1677 feet

Cross Chestnut Road.  Parking.

7.3 1632 feet

Reach Hogan Road and the end of this section.  For a continuation see Ludlow Creek State Forest.

Autumn at Bowman Lake

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