This week’s hike continues our Letchworth Branch series. For those of you who have been following this series, you may be looking forward to lots of creek crossings and the associated scrambles up and down the creek banks. But this week will be a bit calmer, with much of the hike follows the old Genesee Valley Canal, and the seasonal portion of River Rd.
The hike will start at the Parade Grounds. All hikers should park at the Parade Grounds, just off the East Park Rd. The branch trail is a short walk down hill on the road from the parking area.
Weather note: Rain is expected Sunday morning, so trails will be wet, and poles and traction footwear are recommended, especially for Climbers. Naturalist and Tourist routes are fairly flat, but Climber route includes some hills and small stream crossings.
The Climbers and Tourists will turn right onto the FLT Branch trail (See the green line on the map [click the map to enlarge]) At this point the Genesee Valley Greenway and the FLT Branch are the same trail and are marked with yellow blazes. The trail follows the old canal for 1.8 miles to River Rd. Turn left onto River Rd (the Greenway continues straight across the road heading toward Nunda). River Rd is seasonal on this section – it is officially open for traffic but likely we won’t meet many cars. Stay on River Rd for a mile – you may note two park trails (8A and 9) leaving the road to the left. Look for yellow blazes where the Letchworth Branch enters into the woods on the left. At this point, the tourists should continue straight on River Rd to our staged cars at Dygert Rd. The tourist hike is about 3.5 miles.
Meanwhile, the Climbers will turn left to stay on the branch trail from River Rd. In a bit less than a mile, turn right onto the blue access trail to hike out to Dygert Rd (you can’t miss the turn, because the main trail heads up a step hill with only a narrow path (that we climbed last month). The Climber hike is about 4.2 miles.
Back at the East Park Rd intersection with the Branch Trail, the Naturalists will turn left on the branch trail and walk to the middle falls. There is a sign at the start of this trail announcing that it is closed in a half mile. The Naturalists will follow this trail to the Middle Falls. In half a mile when you come to a fence, turn around and return to the road. At this point there are three options:
- Continue straight along the branch trail for another half mile. Turn around at 3:30 and return to the cars.
- Turn left and walk down the road a half mile, to a point opposite the lower falls, then turn around and return to the road and climb back up to the cars.
- Turn right and return to the parade grounds. A brief walk around the parade grounds will complete the hike.
Following the hike, everyone is invited to join us for a pot luck picnic at the Parade Grounds shelter. Bring a dish to pass and your own beverage (or make a small donation to the social fund). Perhaps someone who just doesn’t have the time to make a dish to pass will stop at a grocery and bring hotdogs and buns. John will bring a grill.
Since this hike is a one-way hike for Climbers and Tourists, we need to stage some cars at Dygert Rd. If you would like to participate in this effort, please meet at Dygert Rd at 1:30PM. If you can’t make it to Dygert before 1:40, please go directly to the Parade Grounds.
To the Parade Grounds from Springwater, Wayland and Dansville: In Dansville, take Ossian St (NY-36N) west from Main St. Continue straight onto NY-436W. Follow NY 436 for 18.3 miles through Nunda. About 4.3 miles past the light in Nunda, turn right into the Letchworth entrance – there are two roads at this intersection, take the sharp right through the gate. Parking is about half a mile down on the left.
To the Parade Grounds from Mt Morris, Geneseo and I390: Take exit 7 from I390 and head south-west on NY-408. In Mt Morris, 408 jogs one street to the left at Main St. Continue on NY-408 south from Mt Morris for 9.2 miles. Turn right onto Wildey Rd, then (in 1 mile) turn left onto Short Tract Rd. At the end, turn right onto NY-436. In 2.1 miles turn right into the Letchworth entrance – there are two roads at this intersection, take the sharp right through the gate. Parking is about half a mile down on the left.
To the Dygert from Springwater, Wayland and Dansville: Follow these directions if you can leave your car at Dygert Rd before 1:40. In Dansville, take Ossian St (NY-36N) west from Main St. Continue straight onto NY-436W. Follow NY 436 for 15.2 miles through Nunda. About 1.5 miles past the light in Nunda, turn right onto Oakland Rd. Continue straight at the stop sign at Short Tract Rd and take the next left onto Dygert Rd. Park on the south side of the road at the tee with River Rd.