Once you get a glimpse of the stunning natural beauty of the mountainous woodlands of Hancock, NY, you won’t be able to resist putting on your hiking boots! We’ve got trails for every skill level, including a delightful fitness trail right through the village that’s suitable for the whole family. There are miles and miles of hiking trails in our immediate area, mainly in our myriad state forests. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Known officially as “Bouchoux Trail” or “Jensen’s Ledges,” The Ledges, as the locals call it, is a short but strenuous hike leading to amazing panoramic views of the Upper Delaware River Valley, along with a huge, carefully-constructed conical cairn and other stone “furniture” you can recline on as you rest from your trek and soak up the phenomenal scene.
The out-and-back trail is only about two miles long, but it is VERY steep and VERY rocky. It follows the path of a former bluestone quarry, of which you’ll see evidence all along the way.
To get to the trail, travel to Bouchoux Road in Lordville, NY. Follow Bouchoux road about 2.8 miles to the end. The trail head is on the right side at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Bear Spring Mountain is a multi-use facility managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It features miles of trails along two ridges that are used for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The facility also offers rowboat, canoe, kayak, and paddle boat rentals, fishing at their stocked brown trout pond, and a beach with swimming.
From Route 17 take Exit 90/East Branch on Route 30 north to Shinhopple. Turn left on East Trout Brook Road, proceed 4-5 miles, campground is on right.
You can find detailed trail descriptions for Bear Spring Mountain here.
Finger Lakes Trail
The Finger Lakes Trail winds its way through our area over a large portion of the Cannonsville Reservoir, northwest into Barbour Brook, Steam Mill, and Arctic China State Forest, and northeast into Bear Spring Mountain Wildlife Management Area. There are plenty of parking spots all along the way, and you can choose to do a short, scenic hike along the reservoir or a longer trek through the wild forests. Here’s an interactive map to get you going in the right direction.
Rock Rift Rail Trail and Fire Tower
The Rock Rift trails are the newest addition to the greater Finger Lakes Trail System. The rail trail, approximately 7.8 miles in length, is relatively flat and makes for a fairly leisurely trek through the woods. The fire tower trail is something different altogether. It is probably not advisable for novice hikers, and hiking poles are recommended. It should be noted that the fire tower itself is unrestored and closed to the public. Overall roundtrip is approximately 5-7 miles, depending on which trail entrance you choose. More information on the trail can be found here, there is an interesting brochure on the history of the area here, and a convenient map with detailed trail description here courtesy of the Catskill Mountain Club and Finger Lakes Trail Conference.
For those looking for a more leisurely, accessible trek, the path along the Delaware River at Partridge Island is the perfect place to visit! This half-mile trail offers a fully handicapped-accessible, well groomed walk with views of the Delaware its entire length. Read more about the Partridge Island trail here. To get to the trail head, take Fishs Eddy Exit 89 or Hancock/Cadosia Exit 87a off of Route 17/Interstate 86 and follow Old Route 17 along the river until you see the large green Partridge Island Walking Trail sign. It’s just past the Partridge Island Cemetery if you’re heading West.
Dewitt Reservoir Picnic Area
Located just outside Hancock Village proper is the Dewitt Reservoir Picnic Area which, in addition to being a delightful spot for a picnic, also boasts a lovely little trail that meanders around the pond. Although not handicapped accessible, it is a relatively easy jaunt for the novice trail walker/hiker. More information on this beautiful spot can be found here. The picnic area and trail head can be found by turning onto Sands Creek Road (towards the Route 17 West entrance at the western end of town) and then making a right onto Golf Course Road. Follow to the end.
Kerryville State Forest
Two gated trails, less than one mile each, extend in an easterly direction from Franskevicz Road. The northern trail extends towards Dufton Hollow Road. The southern trail accesses two marsh ponds on the southern part of the state forest. View map here.
Cherry Ridge Wild Forest
Just beyond the Hancock Town line lies the Cherry Ridge Wild Forest, a veritable playground for hiking, snowmobiling, and camping enthusiasts. To reach the best trails (Mud Pond, Trout Pond, and Russell Brook Falls), head up Route 30 (Route 17/86 Exit 90 at East Branch) and turn right to go over the one-lane bridge into Corbett. Make a left off Corbett Road onto River Road and then a right onto Campbell Brook Road. Watch for state forest signs along the way.
To get to Russell Brook Falls, bear LEFT at the Y (Campbell Mountain Road) off Campbell Brook Road and follow to the T, making a left onto Morton Hill Road. The tricky part is to keep your eye out for a SEASONAL USE ONLY sign on the right-hand side. Turn down that road (use caution, it’s very rough in places) and watch for the parking area with the large map/kiosk. The falls are a short and pleasant walk across a picturesque bridge and over some rather wet terrain, so be sure to have on proper footwear.
Robert W. Nichol Nature Center Trails
The family-friendly trails of the Robert W. Nichol Nature Center in the Village of Hancock make for an easy, comfortable stroll through a picturesque and unique setting. Picnic tables are located throughout the property where you can enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the buzz and bustle of insects and birds that inhabit the protected wetlands in the heart of Hancock Village. The trails are simple to navigate and they provide an easy, leisurely meander suitable for all ages.
The Robert W. Nichol Nature Center also presents a number of nature-inspired programs throughout the year, from educational exhibits and “up close and personal” visits with live animals to wine-and-paint parties and Earth Day celebrations. Upcoming events are listed on our Goings On page.