CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Hiking in Cortland County NCT:Maxon Creek State Forest Maxon Creek State Forest
Hiking in Cortland County
Maxon Creek State Forest

Irish Hollow


If seclusion is what your after, then Irish Hollow is for you.  Located in the 908 acre Maxon Creek State Forest, which is already a difficult state forest to access, any visit to Irish Hollow is a challenging hike. However, it is worth the effort to explore this special place.

There are two ways into Irish Hollow utilizing established trails.  Both ways the hike starts off on private property along the North Country National Scenic Trail and then to the Irish Hollow Trail.  The short, scenic Irish Hollow Trail is part of the 900+ mile Finger Lakes Trail System.  This section of the North Country Trail follows the Onondaga Trail, a major branch trail of the Finger Lakes Trail System.

The first way is via the blue blazed North Country Trail from NY 13 near Cuyler and hiking 2.2 miles to the orange blazed Irish Hollow Trail.  This is the longer of the two options and the most difficult.  This would be a round trip hike of six miles to Irish Hollow waterfalls and back.

The shortest option is also via the blue blazed North Country Trail, however you start your hike from Midlum Hill and descend down the NCT to the orange blazed Irish Hollow Trail.  Although the spur trail is only one mile away, this creates a climb back of over 700 feet in elevation.

The Irish Hollow Trail can be challenging to follow at times.  At the "bend" where the trail turns left to begin following Maxon Creek, there is not only a gap in blazes, the blazes go from orange to blue and there are even some old white blazes still around.  Don't let that stop you from exploring this special, scenic place.  Below is some info on hiking into Irish Hollow from Midlum Hill.

Park at the end of Midlum Hill Spur Rd (don't block driveways).  Head toward the mowed path.  Views and you'll see a North Country Trail emblem on the mowed path.  Descend quickly on mowed path that will eventually become an ATV trail, which is actually an old road.  You are on PRIVATE PROPERTY and the land owner requests that hikers are quiet from October 1 to December 31.  Did you notice the deer stand as you hiked down the mowed path?

At 0.4 miles the trail veers left off the rutted ATV trail/old road and travels along a slope.  Soon you'll start hearing the sound of a stream in the distance.  It is so quiet in this forest, except for the birds and chipmunks.  After crossing the stream, then climbing back above stream, you may notice some cascades below at 0.9 miles.

At 1.0 miles reach the orange blazed Irish Hollow Trail on your left.  Right way the trail descends steeply.  As you descend look toward the stream to see some small waterfalls.  The trail is at times hard to follow.  Make sure you see the next blaze ahead of you for now.  You will cross the stream numerous times as well as go above the stream.

At 1.25 miles the trail crosses an old woods road and veers right to descend back to the stream.  Not well blazed here.  At 1.3 miles the trail hugs a small part of slope along the stream, heads toward Maxon Creek and the orange blazes end at a double blaze near the creek (as of 6/15/2010).  By the way you are in Irish Hollow.

Look toward your left and you should notice a trail up the slope.  There are two trails here.  One that goes straight up a slope (I guess because no one see's the switchback trail just a short distance away).  You'll start to notice old blue blazes (as of 6/15/2010).  Follow these and you may even encounter even older white blazes.  The trail will make it back toward Maxon Creek. 

Your rewarded with some small waterfalls as the trail gets closer.  The better waterfalls are just a bit further up the trail.  They come into view at 1.5 miles.  What a scenic spot for a break!  The Irish Hollow Trail continues a bit further and ends at a double blaze at 1.6 miles.  Simply turn around and retrace your steps to return back to your vehicle on Midlum Hill.

Just remember to turn RIGHT when you reach the North Country Trail junction on your return trip!  This 3.2 mile round trip hike is moderate for the hike into Irish Hollow and difficult on the return trip with an elevation gain of 725 feet for the hike.

You can help support this trail by purchasing official Onondaga Trail maps from the Finger Lakes Trail Conference. This section of trail is on map O1.  Look below for a few pictures, a video and a map.

Directions:  From Truxton take NY 13 north to Cuyler.  Turn right on Lincklaen Road and then right on Cuyler Hill Road.  Turn right on Midlum Hill Road, go around bend and soon right on Midlum Hill Spur Road.  Drive to the end of the road.  Park without blocking any entrances.

Irish Hollow

Series of small waterfalls on Maxon Creek

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