Tuesday Evening Hike: Abbott Loop North

Tuesday, May 23, 2017  •  5:00 pm
  • Hike rating: Distance - 4.8 miles; Terrain - Difficult; Pace - Moderate; Overall rating - Strenuous
  • Event/Trailhead location: Park on the shoulder at the yellow-blazed Abbott Loop crossing on Michigan Hollow Road, about 3.5 miles south of Route 96B in Danby (click for map). Look for orange blazes, not white blazes.
  • Contact: Gary Mallow   garymallow2004@yahoo.com   607-339-5131

Our destination this week is the north section of the Abbott Loop. We will start at Diane's Crossing, just off Michigan Hollow Rd., hiking a steep 400 foot incline on our way to The Pinnacles, which features a beautiful panoramic view to the north and west. Then it's downhill through a pine plantation, mixed hardwoods, and back to Michigan Creek and another pine plantation.

There is a muddy section, about a mile long, along the creek, which is known for wildflowers and also known to be inundated by floodwaters. So come prepared with sturdy hiking boots and gaiters if you have them. This hike is strenuous with steep pitches. If you are a novice hiker or struggle climbing hills, you may want to join us another time.

The Abbott Loop was created in the early 90's by Cayuga Trails Club and it is now one of the most popular trails in our area (it might rank second after the Cayuga Trail). The Loop would not exist without the persistence and hard work of Cliff and Doris Abbott over several years. The Abbotts were avid hikers and very active in local and regional hiking organizations, serving as Officers and in several other roles. They thought the northern section of Danby State Forest would be prime real estate for a hiking trail, but the DEC Foresters of that era were less than enthusiastic. A compromise was reached when Doris flagged a route that ran for some distance along the Forest's borders, and used old logging roads, for much of the trail. When a route was finally approved, then the real work began. The Abbotts cut and blazed much of the 8.8 mile trail themselves, with help from other volunteers. The Abbotts also contributed to the quality of local hiking by setting a higher standard for trail maintenance, blazing standards, and trail-head signage.
This hike is a loop. We will park cars where the Abbott Loop crosses Michigan Hollow Rd. (south crossing) and shuttle to Diane's Crossing.
Bring sturdy, broken-in waterproof hiking boots or shoes, gaiters, water, and insecticide to ward off ticks.
Directions to trail-head: From Ithaca, take Route 96B South past Ithaca College. Go through the hamlet of Danby. As you leave the hamlet, look for Michigan Hollow Rd., a right turn. Turn right on Michigan Hollow Rd. Go approximately 3.5 miles, until you reach the south crossing of the Abbott Loop, which is blazed orange. Look for cars and hikers gathering.
You will pass the white-blazed trail-head and parking area, which is the main FLT. Keep driving another 1.6 miles past it and find the yellow-blazed trail-head.

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