CATHARINE VALLEY TRAIL:
HORSEHEADS-WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 4, 2016
Length: Catharine Valley Trail;
Difficulty: Easy. Flat stone-dust rail trail.
To Start from Watkins Glen High School (Watkins Glen); From the junction of Routes 14 & 414 in Watkins Glen travel south on Route 14 & 414 to 12th St. Turn left, pass by the HS and turn right on S Perry St. Turn left into the parking lot and follow right to the trail head.
To start from the S Genesee St parking lot (Montour Falls); From the junction of Routes 14 and 224 in Montour Falls head south on Route 14 for 1.6 miles. Turn right on S Genesee St, cross the river and the parking lot is on your right.
To start from the Morris Hill Rd parking lot (Millport); From the center of Millport (Route 14) follow Crescent St west to Maple St. Head left to Morris Hill Rd then left again to the parking lot.
The Catharine Valley Trail follows the rail bed of the former Northern Central Railroad, as well as, the former Chemung Canal towpath from Horseheads north to Watkins Glen, which is located at the bottom of Seneca Lake. While in Watkins Glen be sure to check out WATKINS GLEN SP , where you can walk through an amazing gorge along Glen Creek. You may take a bus to the top then walk back through the gorge or visa-versa. Fee.
Starting from the Village Marina (Watkins Glen); This section is all on-road to Watkins Glen High School. The Village Marina overlooks Seneca Lake. Heading south you cross the RR tracks along N Decatur St (residential/sidewalk available) passing by Lafayette Park at 0.2 miles. Here you'll find two large granite signs reading "Finger Lakes Trail" and "Catharine Valley Trail" along with a map board. The FINGER LAKES TRAIL intersects here and continues east along 4th St. Green trail route signs appear sporadically showing the way. Cross Glen Creek at 0.6 miles and turn left on Clarence St. This will bring you around to 12th St. Head left and you'll come to the paved trailhead on your right at 0.9 miles.
Note; The old rail bed continues north on your left to an old RR bridge over Glen Creek past which the rail line is active.
Follow the paved trail south to the Watkins Glen High School parking lot where you'll find a map board. The stone-dust trail now travels around the sports fields and a promenade overlooking the Seneca-Cayuga Canal.
Part of the former Chemung Canal, local businesses bought it up to continue access from Montour Falls.
You rejoin the old rail bed and cross an old RR bridge where the tail travels along a causeway between the Seneca-Cayuga Canal and Catharine Creek Wildlife Marsh. Come to N Catherine St in Montour Falls at 2.9 miles.
Note; Heading left on-road a 0.2 miles along N Catherine St (wide shoulder) brings you to the 90 foot (visible) Aunt Sarah's Falls.
Cross N Catherine St and come to an old RR bridge where the trail detours right along the Canal. Pass by a pedestrian bridge over the Canal and out to N Genesee St at 3 miles. Head left on-road (sidewalk available) looking left to spot where the Canal goes underground. Come to 156 foot Shequaga Falls on your right at 3.3 miles. Shequaga Creek becomes the Canal.
Note; You can head back north to Main St and turn right where you'll pass by the beautiful old brick Montour Falls Library & Montour House before heading right (south) along Montour St.
Continue south to W South St and head left. Take your first right along Montour St (low volume). The old rail line ran along your left. Pass by the old RR Depot. Turn left on Cook St and return to the stone-dust trail along the old rail bed on your right at 3.6 miles. [Mile Marker 2.75 located here. Distance from the High School Trailhead I assume] Pass by an old cement RR Whistle Stop Marker on your right. Signs along this section for an Catharine Valley Trail Cell Phone Audio Tour (607-873-9017). Different stops along the trail where you can hear information. You'll pass by Stops 21 & 22 which lead down a dirt path. Pass by another old RR Whistle Stop Marker on your right before coming to the S Genesee St parking lot at 4.8 miles. Map board located here. Cross the street to another map board and restrooms. Here the trail splits.
Note; Left the stone-dust Chemung Canal Towpath travels along an old section of the Towpath for the former Chemung Canal. Pass by Lock #6 and an informational board. A wide road then leads back up to the Catharine Valley Trail after 0.6 miles.
Right the Catharine Valley Trail travels up a short paved section to the stone-dust rail trail and continues along a ridge line south. Come to an intersection at 5.4 miles. Left is the Chemung Canal Towpath. Continue south along the ridge with Catharine Creek paralleling below. After 9.2 miles the trail travels on-road along New Rd-Lewis Rd (low volume). Pass by Maple St.
Note; Left down Maple St brings you to a picnic pavilion and map board next to Catharine Creek in Millport.
Continue straight along Morris Hill Rd and you'll pick up the trail again at 9.5 miles next to the Morris Hill Rd parking lot. Restroom located here. After 10 miles you come to a pedestrian bridge over Rout 14. This leads down to a paved trail alongside Route 14 to Burch Hill Rd at 10.4 miles where the trail returns to stone-dust. Cross an iron bridge over a Creek and the trail continues south between Route 14 and Catharine Creek. Cross a bridge over Catharine Creek at 11.7 miles as you enter the Hamlet of Pine Valley. Cross Smith Rd then Catharine Creek again before crossing Clair St at 12.1 miles. The trail then exits Pine Valley and continues south to Huck Finn Rd where you pick up a short paved section. Developed trail ends here at 13.3 miles. Future plans call for continuing the trail south to Horseheads.
Note; Left up Huck Finn Rd brings you to the Murray Athletic Center and Soaring Eagles Golf Course, part of Elmira College.
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CLICK HERE FOR MAP
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