Welcome to the NCT in the Empire State!
The North Country Trail route begins at Crown Point, NY, near the bridge crossing Lake Champlain into Vermont. North Country Trail supporters have advocated for the Trail to connect with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Vermont. Supported by the Green Mountain Club and others, the feasibility study is under way to connect two of America’s great hiking trails, something that eventually will require Congressional approval.
Moving west from Crown Point State Park, it is about 5 miles to Adirondack State Park, where the route of the North Country Trail is now in the planning stages. Review the plans in the North Country National Scenic Trail Draft Adirondack Park Trail Plan/Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement. A temporary hiker route for the Adirondacks is coming soon. In the mean time, information on trails in the Park is available from the Adirondack Mountain Club.
West of the Adirondacks, the potential route of the trail begins to take shape at Forestport, where the Black River Feeder Canal begins and heads west to Boonville. The old towpath along the canal has always been considered as the route of the trail, though the route is open to snowmobiles, ATVs, and highway vehicles. South from Boonville, the Towpath Trail, Operated by BREIA (the Black River Environmental Improvement Association), is a well maintained cross country skiing and hiking trail extending along the towpath of the Black River Canal to beyond Pixley Falls State Park–a distance of 7 to 8 miles.
About a mile south of Pixley Falls, the towpath is no longer continuous, but local roads and Delta Lake State Park can get hikers south to the sidewalks of Rome. Trail users will find a stop at Fort Stanwix, located in the center of Rome, to be an educational experience. This completely recreated Revolutionary War era fort was the only fort that actually sustained a British siege without surrendering. There were other forts that didn’t surrender but, they were not under siege. Fort Stanwix is one of but a few sites of National Park Service land along this National Park Service Trail. Learn more about it.
More information about the area is available from the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce.
At the west edge of Rome, hikers will find Old Erie Canal Village a restored canal town. In addition to tours of the village, one can actually take a ride on an authentic canal boat. A towpath trail can be walked across the property. Just beyond the village is the eastern end of Old Erie Canal State Park. This linear park includes an existing trail that can be followed all the way to the point where the North Country Trail needs to head south to reach the Onondaga section of the Finger Lakes Trail. The Canal Path is a multiple use trail, surfaced with crushed rock. This route is scenic but does allow snowmobile use in the winter. Information on this segment can be found on the New York State Parks website.
The distance between Old Erie Canal State Park and the main Finger Lakes Trail is about 70 miles, and provides the official north- south route of the North Country Trail. Hikers will follow the NCT south (coinciding with the Link Trail for ~26-30 miles) to connect to the NCT/FLT-Onondaga Branch Trail (Blue blazed) in the Tioughnioga Wildlife Management Area. Hikers may also choose another north-south side trail by following the non-NCT portion of the Link Trail (Yellow blazes), which lies east of the Onondaga Branch, mostly in Madison County.
NCT/FLT-Onondaga Branch Trail carries the user to the main branch of the white blazed Finger Lakes Trail (FLT), they’ve reached the first of several long-established, well-developed trails that the NCNST overlays; the FLT is one of the best developed by private interests. From the Onondaga Trail junction, usable trail stretches southwestward nearly 460 miles. The majority of this trail is on New York’s Finger Lakes Trail System. The FLT is an east-west footpath system across the state from the Catskills in the east to the Alleganys in the west. It passes south of the Finger Lakes, and has several branches extending north of the main east-west route. The trail passes through some of the most varied and beautiful country in the east — forests, lakes, glacially sculpted hills and valleys, secluded glens and waterfalls.