hike #4 – Forest Home Hikes

#04 – A  Stevens Suspension Bridge  –  Horse Farm – Park Park  –  Cornell natural areas

Meet-up:  Dirt parking lot on Forest Home Drive, across the street from the Cornell Arboretum’s plant production facility building, and a little west of the Stevens Suspension Bridge.  (There are two lots near to each other; ours is on the east.)

Click here to see the Google Maps page showing the location of the parking lot and the suspension bridge.

Click here to see the Ithaca Trails map showing the trail network

Physical maps of the Cayuga Trail system are available at:

CayugaTrail – Fingerlakes Trail Conference

The map sheet there for this trail system is labelled ” The Cayuga Trail”

We have two almost totally different hikes that begin at the far side of the suspension bridge.

  1. Walk east along the edge of Fall Creek and then head up the high bluffs to the Cornell horse fields on top  —  from there we cross Freese Road and walk along the top of the sheer bluffs on the north side of the creek.
  2. Walk west along the edge of the creek to the golf course  —  then on to the Cornell stables and paddocks

The trails in this area are part of the Cayuga Trail, first built by the Cayuga Trails Club in the 1960s and maintained by that organization to the current day

The Cayuga Trail is over ten miles in length and extends from downtown Ithaca to the Town of Dryden, where it links to the Dryden Rail Trail.

For this hike there are lots of great woods and fields scenery and creek views all along the way.  The terrain is lightly strenuous.  It’s always fun to cross Fall Creek on the suspension bridge because of the way the bridge pitches up and down – makes you feel rubber-legged.  If a walk hasn’t lasted the full two hours, we fill the rest of the time by walking east along the southerly side of Fall Creek, then cross Forest Home Drive and go up into Park Park and the arboretum, which is a great way to end a walk.

For winter hikes of this trail system it is recommended that you wear reliable foot traction and bring trekking poles, due to the varying trail conditions.

#04-B – Mundy Wildflower & Cornell Botanic Gardens – Beebe Lake – Forest Home Neighborhood

This is a nice, mostly level, loop through some of the Cornell natural areas, around Beebe Lake and through the small Forest Home neighborhood:

A Short History of Forest Home – Forest Home Improvement Association (fhia.org)

For this hike, meet in the parking lot of the Mundy Wildflower Gardens  located at the corner of Forest Home Drive and Caldwell Rds. Google map pin:

Caldwell Rd & Forest Home Dr – Google Maps

This hike starts with a walk through the Mundy Wildflower Gardens ( Mundy Wildflower Garden – CornellBotanicGardens); some of the trails within the Wildflower Garden follow the shore of Fall Creek before leading elsewhere within the Garden.

Exiting the Gardens via stairs to cross Judd Falls Rd, we enter the grounds of the Cornell Botanic Gardens, where we loop through their grounds to arrive at the intersection of Arboretum Rd and Forest Home Drive

Crossing the Sackett footbridge ( Sackett Bridge | Cornell University Veterans Memorials ) we make a slight detour to a near-by observation area in Hemlock Gorge ( Fall Creek’s Iconic Hemlock Gorge – CornellBotanicGardens ) that overlooks some nice Fall Creek cascades that, according to the Forest Home Improvement Associations account, are referred to as ” Lover’s Falls ” by area kayakers: Fall Creek in Forest Home – Forest Home Improvement Association (fhia.org).

A quick loop around  the Beebe Lake footpath ( Ithaca Trails – Beebe Lake Natural Area ) brings us back to the Sackett footbridge where we cross a couple of rebuilt one lane bridges ( referred to locally as the ” Downstream” and             “Upstream” bridges, respectively )  to walk through the Forest Home neighborhood to return to our cars

See additional history of Forest Home here:

Forest Home Historic District, Ithaca Town, Tompkins County, Ithaca NY, 14850 (livingplaces.com)

and try to pick out some of the locations mentioned at the links during the hike!

Last edit 12/2022 JFR

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