Tuesday Evening Hike: Lick Brook Preserve and Buttermilk Spur

Tuesday, May 16, 2017  •  5:00 pm
  • Hike rating: Distance - 5 miles; Terrain - Difficult; Pace - Moderate; Overall rating - Strenuous
  • Event/Trailhead location: The DOT parking lot off of the northbound lane of NY Route 34/96 in the NY Route 13 and 34/96 interchange, about about 4 miles south of Ithaca (click for map). If coming from Ithaca, go through the interchange on Route 34/96 toward Spencer and then use the marked U-Turn to go back north. The DOT parking lot is on the right, just before the bridge over Enfield Creek.
  • Contact: Gary Mallow   garymallow2004@yahoo.com   607-339-5131

This week's hike destination is the Finger Lakes Trail in the beautiful Sweedler Preserve at Lick Brook, Cornell's Babcock Preserve, the Thayer Preserve, and the Buttermilk Spur, a spur trail of the Finger Lakes Trail. Lick Brook cascades down a steep sided shale gorge and becomes one of the most beautiful and dramatic waterfalls in the area, 140 feet high. The shale gorge that the creek traverses is the major natural feature of the Lick Brook and Thayer preserves. There are also a fair number of very tall, very old sycamores, hemlocks and oaks at Lick Brook.

This is a strenuous hike with a change in elevation of 700 feet; we climb up and then down the hill. Not recommended for novice hikers. If you struggle on steep uphill pitches, you might want to join us another time.

Sweedler and Thayer preserves are two of over 30 preserves and over 18,000 acres owned and managed for their protection, conservation, and preservation by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. The Finger Lakes Trail is routed through three Land Trust preserves in our area, and most of the preserves are open to hikers, with maintained and blazed hiking trails. For more, go to fllt.org.

The Buttermilk Falls Spur is a part of the Finger Lakes Trail system. The spur has rough, brushy areas and a boggy area that will get your boots muddy if we've had rain. Wear sturdy, broken-in waterproof hiking boots. Bring water and dress for the weather.

For those unsure of navigation to the trail-head, email Gary. As a last resort, Gary will meet you promptly at 4:30 p.m. at Eastern Mountain Sports, 722 South Meadow Street, Ithaca to guide you.



Parts of this hike will qualify for the Hike 100 Challenge with the North Country Trail Association. Mileage will be calculated at the hike.



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