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Hiking in Yates County

Keuka Lake
Outlet Trail

Seneca Mills Falls


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In the heart of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State lies the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail. The trail travels between the villages of Penn Yan on Keuka Lake and Dresden on Seneca Lake. The trail is built on the old bed of the Fall Brook Railroad (1884-1974), which actually follows the towpath of the historic Crooked Lake Canal (1833-1877) that once connected the lakes by dropping 270 feet over 8 miles through the ravine created by the Keuka Outlet Creek. The canal was kept separate from the creek by its towpath, and so today's trail runs between the old canal bed and the creek, except at Seneca Mills Falls where the trail drops into the canal bed and passes through old Lock #17.

The Keuka Lake Outlet Trail is currently 6.6 miles long. The trail's descent from Keuka Lake to Seneca Lake is gradual, and so the trail can be traveled in either direction with relative ease. From the Elm Street (NY 54A) ball fields to Cherry Street in Penn Yan, the trail has been paved with asphalt. This 1.3 mile section of trail is owned and managed by the Village of Penn Yan. From Cherry Street east to the western outskirts of Dresden, the trail surface is a combination of dirt, gravel, and ballast from the railroad bed; these 5.3 miles of trail are owned and maintained by the Friends of the Outlet, Inc., a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the lands and waters of the Keuka Lake Outlet Preservation Area.

The Keuka Lake Outlet Trail is a multiple use trail, free to the public year round between sunrise and sunset for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing as well as for bicycling and horseback riding. The creek may be fished and paddled. To help support this trail and get more information see the Friends of the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail website. Look below for maps of the whole trail, information for those looking to just explore Seneca Mills Falls and a short video featuring the section of trail to the popular Seneca Mills Falls.

Seneca Mills Falls

The 40 foot Seneca Mills Falls is easily the most popular destination along the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail. A small roadside parking area along Outlet Road, about 3.1 miles east of Penn Yan and a short 0.3 mile relatively easy walk along the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail makes this a great short hike for just about anyone. A picnic pavilion located along the trail near the falls is a great place for a family picnic. Beware of the old walls near the falls that are a straight 10+ foot drop to the fast moving water.

The GPS coordinates for the parking area is N42 39.873 W77 00.151 for those who have a GPS devise in their vehicle. From Penn Yan, take Elm Street east out of the town. Elm Street becomes Outlet Road. The paved parking area is on the right about 3.1 miles from NY 54.

Keuka Lake Outlet Trail near Seneca Mills Falls


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