View Full Version : Finger Lakes Trail

Baby Blue
09-15-2008, 15:26
Has anyone hiked this section of the NCT? Is the trail complete or is some of it road walking?

09-15-2008, 20:58
Have hiked many sections between PA (Alleghany) and Watkins Glenn. Havent's hiked anything Further east than the Glenn.
Have done all of the Conservation trail and the Bristol Hills Branch of the FLT several times as well.
Very little if any roadwalking. The FLT Club has done an excellent job of stewardship and working with landowners to move the trails from the roads.
I am not going to say there is no roadwalking, there are a few sections that might be between 1/4 and 1 mile, but nothing very long, as I recall.

09-17-2008, 08:28
I grew up hiking the FLT and still find myself there quite often. In fact I'm on an FLTC committee working on a special project for a spur trail.

The FLT has been "complete" in the sense of connected walkability for about 15 years now (the final opening was in my old home of Cortland County). However there are many segments on and off roads.

Between the Susquehanna River and the Catskill Park it's nearly all road walking (that's a ways east of where the NCT diverges). West of the Susquehanna River I don't think there's a day length roadwalk left but there are some fairly lengthy road stretches in the 5-7 miles class, such as the crossing of the Tioughnioga River just west of I-81.

There is a lot of fine off-road trail and more recently constructed stretches are to a very high standard.

The FLT Conference sells colorful (a major change from a few years ago...) and detailed maps with guide information on the back. If you order from the FLTC office they are printed on demand so you get the latest information when you order. http://www.fingerlakestrail.org/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=FLTS&Category_Code=MS

There are many shelters and an "End-to-End" guide in Excel format is downloadable from the web site, keyed to the maps. There are also many "no camping" areas and many private land sections are closed for spring and/or fall hunting seasons.

The variety is what draws me back to the FLT time and again. Unlike many trails, each mile on the FLT is not like the last one. Hiking the FLT with your eyes open reveals many different habitats and intriguing cultural remnants.

Robin Hood
09-25-2008, 13:36
how does the flt compare to the AT as far as shelters, number of hikers, remoteness, etc.? i'm not familiar with ny geography, but i'm thinking of trying a new trail (other than the AT). What about seasonally? would the flt make an appropriate winter section hike?

09-25-2008, 14:20
RH: :welcome to WB! Are you in SATC http://www.satc-hike.org or any of the other local clubs perchance?

As for the FLT questions:

Shelters - smaller, and often further apart than on the A.T. The FLT is about half on private land and there is no camping on most of the private lands. Generally, each of the public land parcels along the FLT is much smaller by itself than public land chunks along the A.T. Much on the FLT on private land exists by informal agreement so relocations are fairly common. Fortunately there seems to be a new off-road section for each closure of old path. It's quite a struggle to keep such a long path going dependent on private land without substantial government backing; of necessity the FLT Conference has evolved highly skilled volunteer techniques to manage these issues.

Number of hikers - less, to far less, than the A.T. Still probably more than on the "other" PA trails though.

Remoteness - The FLT often passes through or near farm country so evidence of current and former habitation is much more visible than on the A.T., even the mid-Atlantic A.T. Rarely does the FLT go more than about two miles without crossing a drivable road, and it often needs to follow a few of those, not usually for more than a mile or two each time. However the FLT is located in a region that is more remote from the larger cities and the larger Eastern mountain tourist meccas than is the A.T., and the secondary market for hiker information and services that the A.T. has, is pretty much absent along the FLT.

Etc. - FLT has a lot less rocky footway and more water availability than the mid-Atlantic A.T. It also has a lot more mud and bug potential than the mid-Atlantic, but less of those than Adks/VT/ME.

Winter hikability - The FLT country gets a LOT more snow than does southcentral Pennsylvania. Its location on the higher hills near the Susquehanna/St. Lawrence drainage divide keeps the FLT scratching out lake effect snow for quite a distance from the Great Lakes. Snow cover isn't as continuous as it seemingly used to be, even there. However one can be dealing with snow potentially from mid-October through mid-April, and freezing temperatures at night for another month either side. Some sections on the FLT are somewhat XC-skiable, but the hills do get steep and numerous even if not individually high from base level. Good snowshoes able to deal well with icy spots and uneven cross and running slope conditions are the friends of a winter FLT hiker. Need to plan access routes and parking spots very well in wintertime, fortunately the FLTC has pretty good and continuously updated information available on the official maps and the folks are very happy to answer specific questions.

I myself would like to do a winter FLT backpacking trip, PM me or post here if interested.

Robin Hood
09-25-2008, 16:24
thanks for the detailed, prompt response. sounds like the flt could be a lot of fun in the winter. i've never done a winter hike, only a solo AT section of about 400 miles this summer (Catawba-Boiling Springs). now i'm just gathering some research for a prospective winter hike, probably no more than two weeks long.

09-25-2008, 18:52
One thing that might be helpful to know is that many of the hills/valleys run N/S- They were formed either where the glacier and runoffs carved into the land or from large drumlins and eskers. Either way, there is a lot of smaller ups and downs as you travel these areas and in fall and winter, when there is not snow cover, the side-slab hills and very many oaks with their very waxy-slippery leaves can be tenuous at best to hike along at times.

09-25-2008, 22:56
This very interesting,never thought of hiking this until now. Thanks

09-25-2008, 22:59
This very interesting,never thought of hiking this until now. Thanks

Sorry,poor grammar :o,I meant This is very interesting....

09-26-2008, 10:53
The most complete FLT journal I have found is Sparrowhawk's 2004 one.
Here is the link:


You can't do a search for his name on the website. It doesn't come up anymore, I don't know why.

09-26-2008, 11:36
The most complete FLT journal I have found is ...

Now I remember that from the time. Thanks for sharing! I've often wondered why folks don't seem to do more long distance hiking between points meaningful to them, like Sparrowhawk did, rather than "doing a trail."

10-09-2008, 15:08
Sometime in the first half of 2009 it looks like I'm going to become unemployed. I've decided to clear my mind by going for a hike. The Long Path runs from New York City into the Catskills where I can pick up the Finger Lakes Trail. I'm going to hike the FLT west through southern NY and plan to continue across PA on the North Country Trail into Ohio. There a short section of the Buckeye Trail will get me to about 150 miles from my son's place. I'll have to find a bus or train to do that last bit.

My real problem is that there is no camping along the Long Path, except in Harriman State Park, south of the Catskills. While I wouldn't mind doing an occasinal motel I sure wouldn't want to do it every night along the Long Path. Anyone know of any solutions???

10-14-2008, 16:18
I would think that taking the alternate Long Path detour on the A.T.-Shawangunk Ridge Trail would help some, although my personal experience on that is very thin. You probably already saw this page and the links therefrom: http://www.nynjtc.org/trails/longpath/index.html