Stid Hill Multiple Use Area is a DEC-managed property consisting of two tracts – one in Bristol and the other just down the road in South Bristol. It is an area that was used for pasture and reverted to forest after transportation and refrigeration made it uneconomical for agricultural use, so we will see rock piles, ruins of stone fences and some large old trees that might have been left in the pastures for shade.
WARNING: Stid Hill is presently accessible from the north, only, as Rte 64 is currently closed, due to road work, just south of Bristol Mountain. If coming from the south or west you will need to follow Rte 20A east through the hamlet of Honeoye, then Bristol, to the intersection with Rte 64, then turn right onto Rte 64 and head south.
Directions to Stid Hill are available by clicking here.
We will hike the North tract and meet at the parking lot on SR64 1.4 miles North of the Bristol Mountain Ski area entrance. If coming from the North it is a little over three miles south of the Bristol town center at the intersection of SR64 and CR32. Look for the DEC sign on the East side of the road; parking lot is just beyond it. The parking lot is adequate but not overly large so park with that in mind. There is a Stid Hill South parking lot near the intersection with CR34 which is not where we will be, so don’t go there.
As the name implies, it is a hill. The whole trail has roughly a thousand feet of elevation change, but a well designed system of switchbacks was developed by mountain bikers which makes it a relatively easy climb. There is also a part of the trail system that is an old road of some kind, which is steeper. The access trail is not immediately marked by blazes but is clearly defined by use. At the first important fork on this access trail two colors of blazes appear, Yellow and Blue. This year’s hike will be a bit different from the one we did last year, as we will be exploring trails further south and west within the north tract which include a pine forest and running stream.
Climbers/Tourists and Naturalists will hike up the Yellow switchbacks to the intersection of the Yellow trail and the Blue trail, which cross at an important landmark part way up the hill that I call the Crossroads. Naturalists will then follow the Blue trail downhill to the left, heading back towards the parking area. After walking downhill for a while, the trail levels off some then starts to head downhill again. At this point, on the left-hand side, is a trail through the woods that leads back to the parking lot. The entrance to the trail is marked by a broken tree that has one end on the ground and its top end shoved onto the limb of another tree, apparently quick thinking by Marty who forgot tags and improvised. Recently, someone also added a water bottle, which is stuck onto a broken branch of the tree. If you miss all this, there is a tiny white, circular trail tag attached to the tree. As you walk, eventually, you will see white blazes on the trees which mark the trail. Naturalists also have a variety of additional options including exploring the meadows and meandering creek down below. Climbers/Tourists will take Blue uphill and continue following this trail - along the way an enormous shale rock on the left-hand side of the trail will provide a landmark for the route. We will continue until we see and pick up the Yellow trail which is on the right-hand side and marked by yellow blazes on two trees directly across from each other. Upon reaching a fork where Yellow goes to the right and an unmarked trail goes to the left, those who wish to head back will bear left on the unmarked trail, passing an old pickup truck off to the right, then bearing to the left and picking up the Blue trail which is unmarked at this point but defined by a downed, twisty tree across the trail. Those who wish to continue for a stroll through the picturesque, serene pine forest will follow the Yellow trail through the pines to a stream, then turn around and head back, eventually bearing right on the unmarked trail across from the spot where the two groups separated. Blue leads back to the Crossroads. Everyone will then continue past the Crossroads on Blue and go down the steeper and shorter route that the Naturalists previously took back to the parking lot.
Length of hikes are approximately 1 hour roundtrip for Naturalists; 2 – 2 1/2 hours round trip for Climbers/Tourists. This is based on my pace, which I would describe as moderate. A social will be held at Locks, Stock and Barrel one-half mile south, on the right-hand side of Route 64.