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Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge

Finger Lakes Region, New York

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Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge

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  • A short portion of the trail runs along the top of an old railroad bed complete with trail marker hash marks on the railroad ties. Loads of meadowland flowers -- goldenrod, jewelweed, and more -- grow high on both sides.- Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
  • Large swaths of moss, like this pincushion moss, line portions of the pine and hemlock forest floor along the trail's upper elevations. 
- Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
  • This spiral stile marks the turnaround point for 5-mile, there-and-back hike.- Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
  • Vineyard along the FLT with a glacial drumlin in the background. - Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
  • The vineyard portion is marked with a wide grassy path. - Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
  • The trail runs along an old railroad bed for a short distance.- Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
  • Ripe grapes are tempting, but respect the vineyard and resist eating them. - Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
  • Look for trail markers indicating the Finger Lakes Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail.  The NCT is a 4,600-mile footpath extending from New York to North Dakota. - Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
  • Emerging from the mixed hardwood forest to the old railroad bed in a small meadow.- Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
  • After the vineyard, the path gently wanders through a mixed hardwood forest.- Finger Lakes Trail: Mitchellsville Gorge
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy access. Pretty views. Unique trail.
Cons: 
No amenities. Portions transect private property.
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Region:
Finger Lakes Region, NY
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
1,420.00 ft (432.82 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
520.00 ft (158.50 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall, Spring
Total Distance: 
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Total elevation gain: 
520.00 ft (158.50 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
900.00 ft (274.32 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

This easy-going hike delivers an assortment of the natural terrain and ecosystems that make up the Finger Lakes. It's a two-for-one trail, as this portion is part of the Finger Lakes Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail. Plus, you get to walk through a vineyard, which is a unique experience.

The hike is pleasant with an elevation change of just over 500 feet. However, the trail follows a plunging ridgeline with the Mitchellsville Creek below where you’re treated to dynamic views of waterfalls, pools, and riffles. Take care to stay on the trail; portions of it meander through private property, to which the owners have graciously granted pedestrian access.

Park on the grassy space along County Route 88/Hammondsport-Pleasant Valley Road and look for the FLT signage. As far as trailheads go, this one is unusual. The trail begins in a vineyard. It’s more of a grassy lane with some of the vineyard’s outbuildings nearby. Just stay on the grass and head for the vines. Follow the FLT signs and white hashtags marked sporadically at the end of the vineyard rows. 

At the end of the vineyard portion, the trail turns right and descends into a mixed hardwood forest. At this point the trail ambles alongside Mitchellsville Creek. It's a lively creek, and a moderately deep, albeit small, pool of water under a short waterfall might entice you in for a dip on hot days. The trail meanders through the forest and then pops out onto an old railway bed for about 100 yards. From there it goes right and slowly begins its climb. Before you know it, the creek is far below in a gorge and you'll be walking a fragrant path in a pine and eastern hemlock forest. The turnaround point is marked by a spiral style where the FLT continues on for thru-hikers. Using the stile as a turnaround point, the there-and-back trail logs 5 miles. 

Seasonal notes: In the summer the trail is shady and not too buggy. While pleasant in the summer, it's spectacular in autumn where you’re immersed in the Northeast's celebrated autumn foliage. In early autumn the grapes are ripe. Refrain from eating them off the vine. You can purchase some at the vineyard’s fruit stand located on Fish Hatchery Road about a half mile from the trailhead up the road to your right.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

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