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Old 09-17-2020, 05:39 PM   #1
hikingandwildex
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Allegany State Park

With nearly 65,000 acres of land, Allegany S.P. is the largest state park in New York. It's a great place for hiking, cycling, kayaking, swimming, camping, and other outdoor recreational activities.

I recently visited the park to train for my upcoming Adirondacks trip. Starting an hour before sunrise, I hiked/walked close to 20 miles on trails ranging from easy to moderate ("difficult" trails are difficult to find in this half of the state). I also did some off-trail exploration, working my way around thorns and having a brief encounter with a black bear deep in the wilderness. It was only the second bear I've ever seen in the wild and the first I've seen while hiking.

Here are some photos from my recent outing, starting with a post-sunrise scene where effects of the West Coast wildfires are evident thousands of miles away.

























More photos can be seen here and a winter photo gallery can be found here.
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:06 PM   #2
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Some photos from earlier this year that aren't included in the links above:

















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Old 09-17-2020, 06:21 PM   #3
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Interesting that the park website itself makes the claim that Allegany (65,000 acres) is the largest of NY's State Parks... apparently ignoring the Catskill State Park (700,000+ acres) and the Adirondack State Park (6,000,000+ acres). Presumably an issue of semantics; it would seem that they mean the largest of the state parks under the jurisdiction of OPRHP (the two larger parks are NYSDEC).

Thanks for the photos, though. This is an area that I've been meaning to get to for a while but haven't had the chance to yet. At some point I'm hoping to do a thru-hike on the FLT/NCT of both Allegheny National Forest's Tracy Ridge area in PA and the adjoining Allegany State Park area in NY.

Which of the lean-tos is the seemingly derelict one? I know there's a couple in ASP that aren't shown on the "official" maps, I assume this is one of those?
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:47 PM   #4
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Interesting that the park website itself makes the claim that Allegany (65,000 acres) is the largest of NY's State Parks... apparently ignoring the Catskill State Park (700,000+ acres) and the Adirondack State Park (6,000,000+ acres). Presumably an issue of semantics; it would seem that they mean the largest of the state parks under the jurisdiction of OPRHP (the two larger parks are NYSDEC).
It's funny you mention that because I had originally written "if you don't count Adirondack Park or Catskill Park" at the end of that opening sentence before deciding to take it out. Well, Wikipedia lists Allegany as the largest state park and you know they're never wrong.

Quote:
Thanks for the photos, though. This is an area that I've been meaning to get to for a while but haven't had the chance to yet. At some point I'm hoping to do a thru-hike on the FLT/NCT of both Allegheny National Forest's Tracy Ridge area in PA and the adjoining Allegany State Park area in NY.
Hopefully the blowdown won't be as bad when you make your way out there. This scene was not uncommon in the stretch of the FLT/NCT between Eastwood Meadows and ASP Route 3:



It wasn't the end of the world for me since I do a lot of bushwhacking anyway, but was nevertheless annoying when I wanted to establish some rhythm on this training hike.

Tracy Ridge is a great place to explore and camp. My dad says it's his all-time favorite spot in nature and he has hiked/camped/canoed all over. I've only been there once and think it's worth a return trip sometime. Here are a few photos I took last year:





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Which of the lean-tos is the seemingly derelict one? I know there's a couple in ASP that aren't shown on the "official" maps, I assume this is one of those?
Both of the shelters were located near the Stoney Creek crossing (a little north of 42.0328, -78.7696) and were fairly close to one another on opposite sides of the trail. The makeshift shelter was actually closer to the trail and more visible from it than the main lean-to.
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Old 09-18-2020, 01:04 PM   #5
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Nice. Do you have any knowledge/experience with the campgrounds on the reservoir? Does it get rowdy there or is it generally pretty quiet? The regulations don't provide much alternative, since primitive camping is prohibited within (I believe) 1,000 feet of the reservoir shoreline.

Seems like the only good other options would be to find something in one of the hollows away from the reservoir- either along the Johnnycake Run Trail or by bushwhacking up North Branch or Tracy Run. Is there any flat ground near where the NCT crosses Williams Branch? That also seems like it might be far enough from the reservoir.
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Old 09-18-2020, 01:05 PM   #6
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Also, do you have any familiarity with the Morrison Trail, a bit further south? That's also been on my radar for a while now...
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Old 09-18-2020, 01:13 PM   #7
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Or the Twin Lakes Trail, even further south?
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Old 09-18-2020, 03:48 PM   #8
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While not as large as the Adirondacks the ANF is big. I have enjoyed many trips both hiking and canoeing usually during late spring, autumn and winter. I avoid th summer as it is busy. I have hiked or canoed to all of the sites north of the dam on the Kizua and have never experienced any problems. But you can figure that the sites on the reservoir can get busy during the summer. They have a large houseboat rental business which could bring with it a certain amount of rowdy behavior.

One loop that I have enjoyed many times is Ministers Creek. I have done it as a day hike or as over one or two nights. the campsite at Dear Lick and Triple Forks are excellent.

Hickory Creek Trail in the Hearts Content area is another good choice.

I have not been on the Morrison or Twin Lakes trails.

Also it's Allegheny in PA, but it's Allegany in NY. Why? I don't know it just is.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...eprd506988.pdf
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Old 09-18-2020, 04:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
Nice. Do you have any knowledge/experience with the campgrounds on the reservoir? Does it get rowdy there or is it generally pretty quiet? The regulations don't provide much alternative, since primitive camping is prohibited within (I believe) 1,000 feet of the reservoir shoreline.

Seems like the only good other options would be to find something in one of the hollows away from the reservoir- either along the Johnnycake Run Trail or by bushwhacking up North Branch or Tracy Run. Is there any flat ground near where the NCT crosses Williams Branch? That also seems like it might be far enough from the reservoir.

Also, do you have any familiarity with the Morrison Trail, a bit further south? That's also been on my radar for a while now...
If you're looking to hike the NCT northward from Allegheny National Forest into Allegany State Park, the Willow Bay Campground (41.988205, -78.909003) would be a conveniently-located option since it's right down the street from a NCT trailhead and is closest to the New York state line. The biggest drawback is that it's more expensive than the other campsites ($20 for the least expensive option vs. $12 at the others in its vicinity). Having never camped there myself, I'm not sure how crowded it is or what the atmosphere is like.

The Tracy Ridge Campground (41.9448, -78.8756) was surprisingly quiet when I stayed there on a weekend in the peak season. As with the aforementioned Willow Bay campground, there are over 100 campsites here. There's a loop trail ("Land of Many Uses Trail") that circles the campground and connects to the Tracy Ridge and Johnnycake trails as you head west towards the reservoir. Closer to the reservoir are two smaller camping areas (Hopewell and Handsome Lake) that are open through Halloween.

Here's a map that shows all four campsites in the Tracy Ridge area along with the trail system.



Dispersed camping is prohibited within 1,500 feet of the reservoir shoreline unless that regulation has changed. Looking at a topo map of the reservoir area, the area near the star looks to be relatively flat, well over 1,500 feet from the reservoir, hundreds of feet from the nearest creek, and within reasonable distance of the Tracy Ridge trail system. Might be worth scouting out...



After you cross the state line into Allegany State Park, there's a shelter (Willis Creek Lean-To) six miles up the NCT. More info and photos can be found on CNYHiking.com

With regards to the Morrison trail, I was planning to hike it the day before the 4th of July. My plans immediately changed when I saw the overflowing parking lot and the crowd of hikers congregating at the trailhead. I'll probably end up hiking that and Minister Creek in the off-season since I imagine they will be similarly crowded during fall foliage season.

One last thing before I cook dinner: Bushwhacking down to Allegheny Reservoir (or walking a long ways down the shore away from the crowded areas) is a highly-recommended way to enjoy some of the forest's most splendid scenery in complete solitude. Not going to give away this precise location, but this is one area where I never see any people because you really have to earn your way down there... no trails leading there and no easy access from other parts of the shore... my little slice of heaven...





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Old 09-18-2020, 08:22 PM   #10
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Morrison is a very nice trail, parts have been rerouted recently. Cascading creeks, giant sandstone boulders, great camping and views of the reservoir.

Twin Lakes has meadows, wetlands and beavers, overgrown in places it has recently been getting attention from volunteers.

https://www.facebook.com/TwinLakesTrail/
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:04 PM   #11
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I was going to post this picture once in a thread of blow downs, but it's not mine. A student I knew took it in Allegany State Park, I hope he doesn't mind now.
twisted.jpg

Lots of family history in those parts for me. As kids we always joked about the discrepancy of the Allegheny River flowing through Allegany. Spell check is biased, there is no reason for the red underline of Allegany, it's a beautiful little town.
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:29 AM   #12
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Hard to imagine the power that twisted that Beech like that. Great photo.
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Old 09-22-2020, 03:02 PM   #13
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@ Banjoe: For some reason I'm unable to view the photo. All I see is "Name: twisted.jpg Views: 15 Size: 117.5 KB" which I can't click on.

Blowdown is a common sight in Allegany State Park. This was the actual trail on Mount Seneca 2.5 years ago. That's when I realized that "bushwhacking" and "off-trail hiking" are not necessarily synonymous and that it is possible to bushwhack on-trail in some instances...



Still wanting to check out the tornado site trail. I drove to the parking area last week and there were more cars than I expected, so I kept it moving.
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Old 09-22-2020, 03:11 PM   #14
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I can see the photo that Banjoe posted now. That tree looks like something you'd see on one of those battle ships in the old Super Mario Bros. games. That's the first thing that came to mind when I saw that.
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:52 PM   #15
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That Alleghany blowdown pic reminds me of the mess after the 98 Adk Ice Storm except there were miles and miles of it.
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Old 10-08-2020, 10:27 PM   #16
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Tracy Ridge Campsites

I can confirm that there are unmarked backcountry campsites throughout the Tracy Ridge trail system. We were going to do an overnight backpacking trip there this summer, but ended up doing a day trip on account of humidity. There are a handful of sites at both the confluence of Johnnycake Run and Tracy Run with the Kinzua Reservoir. Some of these were taken by boaters. There was also at least one small site I saw halfway down the Johnnycake Trail.

Also, agree with the recommendation to check out the Minister Creek area. The loop trail is beautiful, with soaring rocks and stunning vistas, and the Triple Fork campsites are exquisite. Still need to check out the Morrison and Hickory Creek areas.
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