Rob’s Trail – Directions

Rob’s Trail is located near the top of Bald Hill between Springwater and Hemlock NY.

From Springwater:  Take Rt 15A north.  Bear Right on Old Bald Hill Rd South 2.7 miles north of the Springwater light.  The parking lot is on the right just before Old Bald Hill Rd rejoins 15A.

From Hemlock: Take Rt 15A south.  There is a sign for Rob’s Trail on the left at the top of the Hill.  Just after the sign (4.8 miles south of the rt 20A East intersection), bear left onto Old Bald Hill Rd South.  The parking lot is immediately on the left.

NOTE: For those of you unfamiliar with Old Bald Hill Rd, there are two roads off of Rt 15A called Old Bald Hill Rd.  The northern version starts at the north end of Hemlock lake and rejoins Rt 15A 1.6 miles south.  The southern version starts 2.5 miles south of the exit of Old Bald Hill Rd North, and rejoins Rt 15A another 3.2 miles south just past Johnson Hill Rd and a half mile north of the Hemlock Lake south boat launch.

One thought on “Rob’s Trail – Directions

  1. Today I received the following email from Don. As a result, these directions have been updated.

    Hello Mark:

    I think the suggestions for “directions” enclosed would be helpful for folks not familiar with Rob’s Trail.

    …but first a story behind the suggestions… If nothing else, the story will go to show how events and coincidents can compound, and you may be amazed by or get a chuckle out of a comedy of errs.

    1) I read the directions posted on the Springwater trails website, for our Dec. 9, 2012 Rob’s Trail hike but did not write them down or print a copy to take with me when heading to Rob’s Trail. I generally remembered the directions but not the specific detail, and figured with an area map, the help of the usual Springwater Trails sandwich board sign, and probable grouping of parked cars along the roadway – I could relatively easily find the site of the trail-head and hike. (What I did not know was that a number of factors which would compound while I was enroute would greatly complicate that. Certainly having the directions in writing would have helped, rather than only partial directions in my memory.) I had read the routes the various 4 hiking level groups were doing, and had decided to be either a tourist or climber of the 4 groups – and planned to decide once I got to the start site.

    2) After finding an I-390 exit not as I interpreted it (on an older map I was using), thus missing my best exit, and then after having to make an unplanned gas stop (remember I have to travel quite a distance to get to the Hemlock/Springwater area), because I decided it was not a good idea to trust fate that I might have enough gas to make it to the hike site and back to a gas station after the hike, – which consumed time that I had not planned on and threw a monkey wrench into my plans – Coming from the north through Hemlock – I got to Old Bald Hill Road and traveled the entire road, finding no trail head nor the “iconic” Springwater trails sandwich board sign usually displayed at the hike location, and no grouping of parked cars. I doubled back on Old Bald Hill Rd. and asked two separate people along the road about Rob’s Trail Hiking trail. The first was not of much help, the second suggested that perhaps the hiking trail/trail-head was on South Old Bald Hill Rd. not Old Bald Hill Rd., but he was not familiar with any trail-head or Rob’s Trail in the area. He said South Old Bald Hill Road Hill was further south off Rt 15A.

    In looking at my map I could see the location of South Old Bald Hill Rd. further south. (a note here – working against me was that the stock folding of the map I was using was just a bit south of Hemlock, such that Old Bald Hill Rd, laid north of the fold, and South Bald Hill Rd. laid south of a double fold of the map, definitely a complicating factor when looking for an overall view of the area – especially if trying to quick check the map while driving and having the need for reading glasses due to the “over 40 need for reading glasses thing”. I had used the stock fold for folding the map in use that day since it naturally wanted to fold there, so I had not seen the “bigger picture” of the area when looking at the map quickly as folded.

    3) I progressed further southward on Rt.15A and as I approached the road I was suspecting might be S. Old Bald Hill Rd., I had traffic close on my tail and had just passed some opposing northbound traffic and had more traffic yet to be approaching. So while driving I was trying to get into view the street name on the sign, and was assessing both how I could make the turn if this was the correct road or continue on southward on Rt 15A if it was not the road I was looking for, both without slowing traffic down much and frustrating drivers behind me. As it turned out this was S. Old Bald Hill Rd. so I quickly made the turn onto the road giving attention to the curve, the rising hill which it appeared I may need to drive, and the speed with which I was executing my driving and perhaps any obvious Springwater Trails sandwich board sign that might be nearby, before I started to travel further uphill on the road looking more carefully for indicators of a trail head.

    Unfortunately, I had passed a driveway that led to the parking lot for the trail-head, and had missed both permanently placed signs for Rob’s trail because I was busy trying to read the street sign and concentrate on driving at speed in traffic, check traffic behind and in front, and adjust after my turn-off. Had I had no traffic behind me and slowed very substantially for the road that I was suspecting may be S. Old Bald Hill Rd. (as I would have without the traffic) I probably would have been able to take in the sign for Rob’s trail and would have realized I should be looking for the trail-head just a bit more quickly than I did, which was the second driveway on the left of S. Old Bald Hill Rd. (The parking lot driveway had been the first driveway on the left, that I had passed while I had still been adjusting from the quick turn I had made off Rt.15A. and started up the hill of S. Old Bald Hill Rd.)

    I progressed southward on S. Old Bald Hill Rd. for quite some distance probably well over a mile. As the road was by then continuously downhill I guessed I was past the trail-head which I was expecting to be close to the top of the hill. I stopped and asked a man who as good fortune would have it was quite familiar with Rob’s trail, and based on his direction, (as I had suspected) I needed to turn around and head back uphill. When approaching the driveway to the parking lot for Rob’s Trail, I saw the sign for Rob’s Trail and now understood why I did not see cars along the road with a trailhead nearby —-because there is actually a set back from the road parking lot and a driveway to get to it, thus making for the cars to be out of sight when one drives by the driveway. I would have expected an open view parking lot, i.e. visible from and immediately adjacent the road (not removed from the roadway by a driveway and yet further out-of-sight due to trees and bushes etc.) I still found no Springwater Trails sandwich board sign though.

    So to wind up my story – too many factors each in succession lent to a substantially more difficult time in my getting to the trail-head than would have been in different circumstances. I took it all in stride, and after having safely arrived late did eventually catch-up with the group as you know.

    One never knows what factors may come up when traveling, so I advocate taking out some uncertainty by clarifying directions as much as possible. One also never knows how far out of the area folks may travel from, or how directionally challenged some folks may be.

    —> So, at minimum – in the directions I suggest that you specify/clarify — 1) South Old Bald Hill Rd. (not the further north lying Old Bald Hill Rd.) 2) Clarify that both of those roads separately intersect Rt15A at start and end points (essentially forming two separate crescents off Rt. 15A and each paralelling Rt.15A between respective start and end points. 3) Clarify that the driveway for the set back parking lot is the first driveway south of the northern jct of South Old Bald Hill Rd and Rt 15A.

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