Tuesday Evening Hike: Excelsior

Tuesday, April 18, 2017  •  5:30 pm

 Note later start time at 5:30 this week only 

  • Hike rating: Distance - 3 miles; Terrain - Difficult; Pace - Moderate; Overall rating - Strenuous
  • Event/Trailhead location: Shoulder parking on Middle Rd. 2.2 miles west of the hamlet of Burdett. (click for map).
  • Contact: Gary Mallow   garymallow2004@yahoo.com   607-339-5131

This week's short hike takes us to the Finger Lakes Trail as it traverses Excelsior Glen near Watkins Glen. Excelsior is a lovely little natural area which boasts at least three dramatic waterfalls.  

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

Excelsior is privately owned. The Finger Lakes Trail on either side of it is road-walk, so we will confine our hike to just the glen and a short road-walk on little-used Jolly Road. Coming back up the glen is an adventure in aerobics, with a gain in elevation of about 700 feet, so be prepared to catch your breath. Should be plenty of time to stop to identify wildflowers, such as Indian Pipe, check out some skunk cabbage and marvel at a shale outcropping that we hike underneath. We may get a glimpse of ravens, gulls coming off Seneca Lake, and hawks. If the trees have not leafed out, we'll get a glimpse of the lake. This shortie will get us in and out of the woods well before sunset.

Dress in layers for the weather, bring waterproof hiking boots and water.
Starting and end point are the Middle Rd. trail-head of the Finger Lakes Trail. From Ithaca, drive west on State Route 79 through the hamlets of Bennetsburg and Burdett for about 25 minutes. In Burdett, turn right on Factory Street, which becomes Middle Road, and continue heading south for 2.2 miles. Trail-head is obscure, difficult to identify, and on the left. Look for parked cars and hikers gathering. Or you can meet the hike leader at EMS and carpool.
For those unsure of navigation to the trail-head, meet Gary at Eastern Mountain Sports, 722 South Meadow St., Ithaca, promptly at 4:45 p.m. Drivers who come to EMS will be expected to carpool and carry passengers to reduce our environmental impact. Passengers may offer to defray the cost of gas if they wish, but this is not a requirement.

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