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Hiking in Cortland County
North Country Trail

Baker School House
State Forest


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This short 4.3 mile section of the North Country Trail travels through Baker School House State Forest with some of trail traveling through PRIVATE PROPERTY. The last 0.8 miles of trail near NY 41 is CLOSED as of 9/22/2017. This stretch of the NCT coincides with the Finger Lakes Trail and has white blazes.

There is no good parking at the start of this section as the trail crosses Underwood Hill Road and continues into PRIVATE PROPERTY. There is no camping on private property and hikers should stay on the marked trail. At 0.7 miles cross McGraw Marathon Road. There is no parking at this road crossing as well. You are still on PRIVATE PROPERTY. Soon cross Smith Brook. This can be a dangerous crossing during times of high water. At 1.3 miles the trail turns left and enters Baker School House State Forest. There is a view to the NW.

Prior to reaching Baker School House Road, pass an old circular stone pool built by the CCC back in the 1930s. At 1.9 miles cross Baker School House Road with limited shoulder parking. The trail continues to meander in the state forest and at 2.8 miles cross a seasonal DEC Forest dirt road. At 3.0 miles reach a high point on Nottage Hill (1881 feet) and begin a sometimes steep descent, entering PRIVATE PROPERTY at 3.5 miles. THIS STRETCH OF TRAIL IS CLOSED.

Directions: From Syracuse take I-81 south to Exit 10. Turn right on NY 41 to McGraw. In the village turn right on Clinton Street, then veer right onto Spring Street. Spring Street will become McGraw-Marathon Road. Turn left on Baker School House Road. Drive 0.9 miles to where the NCT crosses the road. There is a yellow Finger Lakes Trail sign at the trailhead. The GPS coordinates are N42 34.479 W76 01.566 for those who have a GPS devise.

North Country Trail in Baker Schoolhouse State Forest

Mile Elevation Description
0.0  1650 feet  Cross Underwood Hill Road. No parking available here. Trail on PRIVATE PROPERTY.
0.7  1374 feet  Cross McGraw Marathon Road. No parking available here. Trail still on PRIVATE PROPERTY.
0.8  1370 feet  Cross Smith Brook. Crossing can be dangerous during times of high water. 
1.3  1669 feet  Trail turns left. Entering Baker Schoolhouse State Forest. Views to the SE.
1.9 1528 feet

Cross Baker School House Rd. Limited shoulder parking. GPS coordinates are N42 34.479 W76 01.566

2.8 1773 feet Cross seasonal DEC Forest Road
3.0 1881 feet Reach high point on Nottage Hill. TRAIL IS NOW CLOSED.


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