hike #36

The Alex & Michele Gonzalez Hiking Sanctuary & Preserve trails ( International Loop 1 ) , Virgil

This hike does NOT start from the same parking area as the near-by Kennedy State Forest hikes

Alex and Michele Gonzalez are long time trail maintainers for a long stretch of the FLT in the Virgil area. In addition they have created and maintained many miles of additional area trails commonly known as ” The International Loops 1 & 2″

In 2023 Alex and Michele are in the process of donating a sizeable portion of their land towards the creation of the Alex and Michele Gonzalez Hiking Sanctuary & Preserve. Not part of the adjacent Kennedy State Forest, this Preserve will be a non-hunting Sanctuary where hikers will continue to be welcome year ’round.

From the FLT parking along the side of the road in the vicinity of 1181-1185 Daisy Hollow Rd ( not starting from the parking lot area we normally use for our near-by Kennedy Forest hike). Look for the normal green FLT sign on the westerly side of the road as an indicator for the area to park in:

Google pin to 1181 Daisy Hollow Rd:

1181 Daisy Hollow Rd – Google Maps

The AllTrails listing for the International Loop only includes a partial display of the trail system:

International Loop – New York | AllTrails

A new kiosk for the Preserve has been built on the hillside near the trailhead and just out of view of the parking area.

There are a number of interconnected trails that can be woven into a variety of combinations which can offer hikers a variety of hike experiences. The blue blazed trails in the south run steeply along Christina Creek and allow access to a number of small falls, while the red and orange- blazed trails to the north side of the Preserve travel along utility right of ways and have more to offer in longer views and vistas. Several of the trails offer at various times some wonderful stretches of treadway that pass through some nice monoculture stands of evergreens, offering short “green tunnels” to hikers.

Those hiking these trails in winter should pre-hike their planned route to determine which trails have had more frequent use to avoid the need to posthole through deeper snow.

Those new to hiking the Preserves trails absolutely need to carry some form of paper or electronic mapping that allows them to maintain situational awareness of where they are within the trail system. Larger hiking groups need to emphasize staying together to prevent losing stragglers within the maze of trails.

Last edit 06-2023 JFR