CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Finger Lakes National Forest FLT Central Section NCT in Central New York

North Country Trail

Finger Lakes
National Forest

Excelsior Glen


 Follow CNYhiking on Twitter


This 10.6 mile section of the North Country Trail has it all. A walk next to one of the Finger Lakes (Seneca Lake). A walk through a scenic glen (Excelsior Glen) with waterfalls. A walk along an old railroad. A walk through a National Forest. And it even throws in some views. Get out and explore this great section of the NCT. This stretch of the NCT coincides with the white blazed Finger Lakes Trail.

This section of the trail begins as the trail turns off NY 414 in Watkins Glen after the canal bridge into Clute Park.  The trail follows near Seneca Lake in the park before coming back to NY 414.  The trail crosses NY 414 and heads into scenic Excelsior Glen and its waterfalls. The trail crosses Excelsior Creek, which can be a slippery crossing. Take care on this stream crossing. Soon reach dirt Jolly Road, which begins a 3.2 mile road walk to Burdett.  The trail reaches "Twin Tunnels" and enters private property along a private road. This section of the trail on private property to Finger Lakes National Forest is CLOSED during hunting season from May 1 - 31 and Oct 12 - Dec 17. Please respect the landowners request and stay off the trail during these dates.

The trail briefly follows the old Lehigh Valley Railroad before it enters woods and then enters an abandoned vineyard. The trail enters Finger Lakes National Forest, passes a trail register before crossing Satterly Road. There are great views here. The trail leaves the national forest briefly before crossing Logan Road and reentering Finger Lakes National Forest. The trail climbs along a stream, passing the South Slope Trail and turning toward Burnt Hill Road. The trail crosses the dirt Burnt Hill Road, where you'll find a trailhead parking area on the right and soon reaches the junction of the Interloken Trail. The trail passes the very old Dunham Lean To on the left which has a large camping area, fire pits, outhouse and even some views.

The trail reaches the parking area at Burnt Hill Road and the end of this scenic 10.6 mile section of the North Country Trail. 

Trailhead parking area sign off Burnt Hill Road

Here is some information about a special project completed at the Dunham Shelter in June 2013:

If you visit  the Tech rooms at DeWitt Middle School in Ithaca, NY after school hours, you would expect for it to be empty. But instead, the two rooms are filled with students that are a part of TSA (Technology Student Association). Some are coding and writing essays to compete at the International TSA conference in Orlando, Florida, while others are using CAD software or complex machinery to craft C02 dragsters and robots. One of the groups, probably the most community oriented is planning on reconstructing a handicap access ramp for the composting toilet at the Dunham Trail Shelter.

The Dunham Trail Shelter is located on the Interloken Trail, which is a part of the Finger Lakes National Forest Trail system and ultimately connects to the Appalachian Trail. The National Forest System is managed by the US Dept of Agriculture. It is their responsibility to ensure that all shelters comply with the Americans with Disability Act and provide reasonable handicap access. The Dunham Trail shelter and toilet has a ramp that is supposed to be handicap accessible, but it is so steep that it barely serves the purpose. The Dewitt TSA students advised by their teachers Mr. David Buchner and Mr. Bob Walters are reconstructing the ramp for a construction event. The project will be completed on June 23rd. At the National TSA conference in Orlando from June 28-July 2nd, the students will present their entire project plans and implementation steps and the final status to the judges and they will try to place higher than hundreds of teams from across the country and even as far as Peru and Germany.

We invite the media to publicize this project for the awareness of the Finger lakes area community and any hikers who use the Interloken Trails. For further details please contact the teamís media spokesperson Vaynu Kadiyali ( or the teamís advisor Mr. David Buchner (


Mile Elevation North Country Trail Description
0.0 447 feet

Trail turns left off NY 414 after canal bridge and enters Clute Park. Parking. GPS N42 23.115 W76 51.596

0.4 448 feet

Trail leaves park, follows NY 414 across bridge then follows along left side of road.

0.55 451 feet

Junction of the orange blazed Queen Catherine Marsh Loop Trail on right along with Cass Road.

0.8 491 feet

Trail leaves NY 414 and heads east along right side of Excelsior Glen. Soon Trail register. Some views through trees of Seneca Lake and then waterfalls. Unofficial side trails lead to better views (at your own risk). Ascend steeply at times.

1.3 854 feet

Cross Excelsior Creek.

1.8 877 feet

Trail turns left on Jolly Road and follows road downhill.

2.2 688 feet

Cross NY 79.

2.3 634 feet

Trail turns right on Middle Road and follows road.

4.3 993 feet

Trail turns left on NY 79 and follows road. Village of Burdett. Diner & Pub along road.

4.5 978 feet

Four corners. Straight on Willow Street.

5.0 945 feet

Twin Tunnels.  Trail turns left off road and follows private road. This section of trail is closed for hunting from May 1-31 and Oct 12 - Dec 17 from here to the National Forest Boundary. Some shoulder parking. GPS N42 25.624 W76 50.675


5.1 937 feet

Trail turns right and heads toward old railroad bed.

5.3 985 feet

Trail reaches and turns left on old railroad bed.

5.8 987 feet

Trail turns right off old railroad bed. Begin to ascend.

6.1 1206 feet

Trail turns left and goes through abandoned vineyards.

6.4 1287 feet

Entering Finger Lakes National Forest.

6.6 1323 feet

Trail turns right.

6.8 1387 feet

Trail crosses dirt Satterly Hill Road. Views. Shoulder parking. GPS N42 26.613 W76 50.639

7.6 1073 feet

Cross creek on bridge and enter private property.

8.2 1161 feet

Cross Logan Road (County Route 4) & enter Finger Lakes National Forest. Shoulder Parking. GPS N42 26.524 W76 49.818

8.9 1528 feet

South Slope Trail on your left.

9.2 1526 feet

Cross small stream.

9.5 1612 feet
Reach dirt Burnt Hill Road. Trailhead parking on the right. Cross road and continue in the forest.
GPS of parking area is N42 26.595 W76 48.806

9.6 1664 feet

Junction with Interloken Trail.  Continue straight.

9.7 1602 feet

Side trail on your left leads to Dunham Lean To and views.


10.2 1345 ft

Trail turns right. View.

10.6 1311 ft

Trail reaches Burnt Hill Road.  Parking area. GPS of parking area is N42 26.020 W76 48.987. End of this section.  For a continuation see Texas Hollow State Forest.





CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Finger Lakes Trail FLT Central Section NCT in Central New York

contact CNY HIKING by email at
(c) 2006-today CNY Hiking - All rights reserved.  Any use of information from this site without permission is strictly forbidden.