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Hiking in Tompkins County
North Country Trail

Potato Hill
State Forest


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This 3.6 mile section of the  North Country Trail starts off Level Green Road in the 915 acre Potato Hill State Forest. This state forest is located in the town of Caroline in southeastern Tompkins County.  It is popular for recreational activities such as hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, camping, bird watching, mountain biking, informal horseback riding, and snowshoeing. The white blazed Finger Lakes Trail coincides with the North Country Trail during this section.

At 1.15 miles the trail reaches Blackman Hill Road.  From here you have a choice depending on the time of year.  A new 2.4 mile section of trail was opened in 2009 on PRIVATE PROPERTY that is CLOSED for hunting from May 1-31 and October 1 - December 20.  If the trail is not closed, turn right for 0.1 mile and then left onto PRIVATE PROPERTY.  If trail is CLOSED for HUNTING, turn left and follow blue blazed HUNTING BYPASS. 

At first your walking along the side of a driveway before entering a field.  Soon there are amazing views to your right as you walk along the trail in the field.  Your on Blackman Hill (see panorama above).  After 0.1 mile of views the trail turns left into the woods.  As you hike toward NY 79 there are some steep descents.  At 3.2 miles you'll enter land owned by Cornell Plantations and the trail will hug along a steep slope.

You'll leave the woods and enter a wet area blamed on beavers.  The trail crosses this wet area first on a footbridge and then on puncheons.  There is a short climb toward a kiosk and busy NY 79.  There is good parking at the snowplow turnaround (from May to end of October).  The trail follows roads for about 0.6 miles to Robinson Hollow State Forest.

Look below for pictures, a video, map and description of this section of the trail.  This stretch of the FLT/NCT is featured on map M18 from the FLTC.

DIRECTIONS - From Ithaca, NY 79 EAST.  See map below for trail crossings at roads.

Mile Elevation Description
0.0 1574 ft

Enter woods from Level Green Road.  Shoulder parking.  Potato Hill State Forest.

1.15 1775 ft

Reach Blackman Hill Road.  Shoulder parking.  Turn right and follow road.  Leaving Potato Hill State Forest.

1.3 1782 ft

Trail turns left off road and onto PRIVATE PROPERTY.  NOTE:  This section to Cornell Plantations is CLOSED for HUNTING from May 1-31 and October 1 - December 20.  Follow white blazes along driveway and then into field.

1.45 1806 ft

Great views to your right for next 0.1 mile!

1.55 1797 ft

Trail turns left into woods.

2.05 1775 ft

Beginning of a sometimes steep descent.

2.65 1431 ft

Trail climbs briefly.

2.8 1503 ft

Descend again.

3.05 1292 ft

Cross small stream.

3.2 1357 ft

Entering land owned by Cornell Plantations.  Trail goes along very steep slope.

3.5 1267 ft

Cross wet area by footbridge and then puncheons.

3.6 1241 ft

Reach kiosk and then NY 79.  Seasonal Parking at snow plow turn around from May 1 to October 31.  FLT/NCT turns right and follows NY 79.  See Robinson Hollow & Hammond Hill State Forests for a continuation of the trail. 


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