DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS HIKE UNTIL YOU HAVE READ THE ENTIRE DESCRIPTION TO BE CERTAIN IT IS THE TYPE OF HIKE YOU WANT TO GO ON.
I’ve been up Mt. Cayuga from a different approach than the one planned for this hike. This will be an exploratory mostly off-trail hike of 3.5 to 4.5 miles depending on the course we take. I have not scouted the planned and alternative routes, so if you go with me on this hike you’ll get to experience the “scouting” hikes I usually do before scheduling a hike.
Expect brush and wet areas. Long sleeved shirts and pants are advisable.
The planned route is about 4 miles round trip on the map (add a half-mile to a mile for potential detours.)
We park at the eastern parking lot for the Bear Caves trail (the same parking lot we use for our bushwhacks up Mt. Onondaga). We walk about 75 yards west on ASP 3 to get us on the west-south side of Yeager Brooke so we won’t have to cross it later. Then we head south trying to follow an old trail shown on the last USGS Topo map for this area but not shown on any official park maps. One objective is to discover whether that trail still exists, and if not to map it for future use.
After about a quarter mile we should cross the Finger Lakes Trail/North Country Trail (yes, we could just follow the FLT/NCT to this point but that is not the plan.) Shortly thereafter we head in a southeasterly direction. for about 1.25 miles until we reach the NY-PA border at a point in the col between Mt. Mohawk and Mt. Cayuga.
At times we may come very close to the existing snowmobile trail, maybe even cross it or follow it for a short distance (yes, we could just follow the snowmobile trail to a break off point, but that is not the plan.)
After reaching the NY-PA border, we head west for a mile along the border until we reach state border monument 176 (about 3/4th of a mile).
We then head northwest up to the top of Mt. Cayuga (about a little over 1/4 mile),
I’ve hiked up Mt. Cayuga going directly south from the FLT/NCT. The last 100 yards of that approach is rather steep, steep enough that we decided to come down the western side of Mt. Cayuga, which is what we will do on this hike because it will take us to an old park road that passes by the old park garbage incinerator (a favorite site of some large but harmless water snakes).
The end of that road takes to the middle of the Parallel Trail cabins road, which we follow east back to a few feet of the point where we entered the woods from ASP 3 to begin the hike. (The old Parallel Trail cabins were replaced with the new $180/night cabins this past summer, so they are worth seeing.)
The Orange trail is our planned hike. The White trail is the FLT/NCT.