Lake Road southeast of Dryden — two hikes
The countryside south and east of Dryden is more pleasing than in most other parts of the county, in my opinion — there are huge spacious farm fields stretching away, cultivated rather than overgrown, farms dotted around, and picturesque distant hills along the horizon. We have two excellent walks that begin in the same place, and allow us to get a close look at this great scenery.
Meet-up: Parking lot where Lake Road crosses the Jim Schug Trail. Click here to see a PDF map showing the Jim Schug Trail and the parking areas along its route. Our meet-up lot is at the bottom of the PDF, but it’s not the bottom-most lot — it’s the second parking spot up from the bottom. This is confusing because Lake Road crosses the Schug trail in two spots. Ours is the northern one of the two.
Click here to see the Google Maps page that shows the crossing I’m talking about.
Directions from downtown Dryden. The least confusing way to go is to take Route 38 south from downtown until you hit Purvis Road on the left. This is south of Dryden Lake. Go left on Purvis until it dead ends into Lake Road. Make a hard left onto Lake Road and follow it back until you come to the Schug trail crossing and the parking lot. Confusingly, if you turn right onto Lake Road from Purvis instead of left, you’ll also come to the Schug trail and a parking lot, but it will be the wrong one — so don’t turn right. You can see from the map I linked to what I’m talking about.
The two hikes:
A: From the Jim Schug Trail east on the Finger Lakes Trail into Cortland County
B: Jim Schug rail trail NW toward the village of Dryden
Hike A — into Cortland County. This walk takes us up a long sloping field and then over a small hill to a wonderful vista on the other side with great views into a bucolic valley. The hill climb is pretty strenuous, and since we go up one side and down the other, we end up having a climb on both the outbound and return legs. The scenery is generally excellent in the open parts of this walk
Hike B — rail trail toward Dryden. This walk is flat and easy. We walk through a lot of open deserted countryside with just an occasional farm and good distant views. There’s a swamp along one side or the other of the trail for much of the way. At one point we veer off the rail trail and walk a little bit east to Dryden Lake, which is very picturesque. In general, I find rail trails a little tame, but this one is different. I think it’s really satisfying.