29. West Conesville to Doney Hollow

Features: Mine Kill State Park with Mine Kill Falls, and Lansing Manor
Distance
: 13.55 miles
USGS Map Quads:
Gilboa
Trail Conference Maps:
none

General Description

In this section, the Long Path leaves the rugged terrain of the Catskills and descends into the Schoharie Valley. After passing the Schoharie Reservoir, which is the northernmost outpost of the New York City water supply system, the Long Path begins a 30-mile journey along the Schoharie Valley and the hills surrounding Schoharie Creek. The trail passes through Mine Kill State Park, whose primary attraction is Mine Kill Falls. The Long Path passes both the top and the bottom of the falls, which plummet out of a spectacular gorge. Between the falls and the main part of the park, the trail follows a beautiful pine and hemlock forest. In the north end of the park are spectacular open views of the Schoharie Valley. Beyond Mine Kill State Park, the trail passes through the Lansing Manor Visitors Center of the Power Authority’s Blenheim–Gilboa pumped storage complex. There are expansive views up the Schoharie Valley from both Mine Kill State Park and Lansing Manor.

Access

Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 21 (Catskill). Continue west on NY Route 23 for about 30 miles to the Village of Prattsville. At the end of Prattsville, NY Route 23 crosses a steel bridge that goes over Schoharie Creek. Just before the bridge, turn right on Prattsville Road, and follow it for about 5 miles to the intersection of Prattsville Road and Route 990V.

Parking

0.00 Intersection of NY Route 990V and Prattsville Road. (42.38064°, -74.43084°)
1.20 Gilboa Dam overlook. (42.39278°, -74.44705°)
3.40 Pullout near the Nickerson Campground entrance. (Unlocated)
8.05 At north end of swimming pool, when park is open. (42.43792°, -74.45597°)
8.95 Lansing Manor Visitors Center. (42.44886°, -74.46452°)
10.15 On North Access Road near turnoff for fishing access to Schoharie Creek. (Unlocated)
13.45 West Kill Road at Doney Hollow. (42.48519°, -74.48447°)

Camping

3.40 Campsites available at Nickerson Park Campground (fee charged).

Camping is allowed in the state reforestation areas 150 feet from the trail and water.

Trail Description

0.00 At the intersection of Prattsville Road and NY Route 990V, the Long Path turns left and follows NY Route 990V downhill toward Gilboa. On the left side of the trail is the Schoharie Reservoir.
0.90 On the left is the former site of the Gilboa Settlement. From 1840 to 1869, a cotton mill, tannery, church and cemetery stood on the ground that is now covered by the Schoharie Reservoir. On the right is the Gilboa–Conesville Central School.
1.05 Bear right on  Wyckoff Road.
1.20 Opposite the school playground turn left into the woods.
1.30 New York City DEP property line. Follow the property line for a short distance and continue downhill through mixed woods.
1.60 Reach the intersection of Route 990V and Flat Creek Road, near the Gilboa Town Hall and Post Office. On the right, a few yards past the town hall, is an exhibit of fossilized trees. They were discovered while constructing the Schoharie Reservoir. The Long Path continues along NY Route 990V, which curves left and goes downhill.
1.80 The Long Path crosses Schoharie Creek on a bridge. There is a small cemetery to the right, just past the bridge.
2.00 Turn right onto Stryker Road. Pass the Gilboa Museum on the right (open only on summer weekends; check the website).
2.50 Pass a large farm and B&B on the left, with views of Schoharie Creek to the right.
2.60 The road is closed to traffic.
3.40 Turn right from Stryker Road into Nickerson's Campground and past the campground store.
3.55 Turn right off the camp road onto a trail which parallels the camp road and overlooks the Schoharie Creek.
3.80 Turn right, back onto the camp road, then turn left onto another camp road. Continue on this road past the pool area to the end of the campground.
4.30 Leave Nickerson's Campground at campsite 615. Enter the NYS Power Authority Corridor with the boundary marked with orange stakes. The trail has several ups and downs in the next half a mile.
4.75 The Long Path passes a National Recreation Trail marker.
4.85 Go up a bank and turn right. In about 150 ft pass by a ledge overlooking the Schoharie Creek and turn left. Enter an open area with scattered red cedar trees. There are nice views of the Schoharie Creek and the reservoir from the ledges through this section.
5.05 Cross a ledge above a small stream entering the reservoir. Turn left downhill, and in 0.2 miles rock hop across small stream. This can be done fairly easily unless the water is high. Follow the stream down to where it reaches the Schoharie Creek, and  turn left up the bank.
5.45 Enter an open area under the power line. Turn right on the power line access road for about 150 feet and then turn left toward the woodlands. Cross a hill covered with a pine forest.
5.65 Turn left on a woods road with the Mine Kill to the right. There are several ups and downs along the way.
6.25 Turn right leaving old woods road. Start downhill toward the Mine Kill and reach a ledge overlooking the Mine Kill in 100 yards.

If the water conditions are low:

6.50 Turn right onto the white trail heading  to the bottom of the Mine Kill Falls. Continue on the white trail adjacent to the Mine Kill. 
6.70 The trail crosses the stream on large boulders that have been placed in the stream.
6.80 (7.35 below) The white trail rejoins the Long Path. Turn right to continue north. This shortens the hike by about half a mile.

If the water conditions are high:

6.50 Mine Kill Falls is to the right. A short trail leads to the bottom of the falls. The Long Path starts uphill.
6.75 A walkway to the right leads to the falls overlook and is worth visiting. Continue straight through the Mine Kill Falls parking lot and turn right onto NY Route 30. Follow the road over the bridge. There are views of the upper falls from the bridge. 
7.10 After crossing the bridge, turn right and head downhill. 

22-lpg

29.1 Mine Kill Falls. 2001 [MICHAEL WARREN] 


7.15 Turn left with views of the Mine Kill to the right. The 
trail crosses a small stream.
7.35 (6.80 above) A white-blazed trail comes in from the right.
7.45
 The trail crosses a stream on a new bridge. To the left is a beautiful cascading waterfall. The trail climbs continuously from here to the park entrance road. Part way up, the trail passes several rock piles on the right. Near the top, two trails lead right; the Long Path continues straight ahead.

7.75 The trail emerges onto an open field and crosses the main park entrance road. It continues on the western edge of an open field to reach the park administration building.
7.85 To the right is the park administration building, where there are restroom facilities. The trail bears left and follows a mowed path at the western end of an open field with scattered evergreens. From this path, there is a spectacular view up and down the Schoharie Valley.
8.05 The trail turns right and descends along the northern boundary of a soccer field, then passes a small playground that is just north of the swimming pool.
8.25 Turn left and follow a cross-country ski and snowmobile trail that leads from Mine Kill State Park to Lansing Manor. Here, there is a spectacular view north along the Schoharie Valley and across the Blenheim-Gilboa Reservoir. Soon, a yellow-blazed cross-country ski trail leaves to the right. The Long Path continues straight ahead.
8.55 The trail crosses an open field with scattered cedar trees, leaving Mine Kill State Park and entering the New York State Power Authority Lansing Manor Blenheim-Gilboa complex. The boundary is not marked. Note the fences around the small cedar trees. These trees are pruned so as to provide the deer with a source of browse. The fences prevent the deer from killing the trees. There are also a number of bluebird feeders. Be sure to watch for the Long Path blazes on top of the fence posts by the cedar trees.
8.95 The Long Path enters a picnic area and then crosses the parking lot of the Lansing Manor Visitors Center. At the far end of the parking lot, the trail follows a walkway through the Visitors Center, where brochures on the historic Lansing Manor and the Blenheim–Gilboa pumped storage power plant are available. Brochures are also available at the nearby museum. There are picnic tables at the Visitor Center, making this an ideal lunch stop in the warm months.

 

visitor center

29.2 Lansing Manor Visitor Center. 2001 [MICHAEL WARREN]


9.15 Take the left fork in the walkway and pass the entrance to the museum. The Long Path now heads across a field with trees, skirts a wooded area on the right, then turns right and cuts diagonally across another field to enter the woods.
9.40 After a rather steep descent, reach the bottom of a ravine. The trail now ascends gradually  and turns right, parallel to a powerline right-of-way.
9.65 The trail crosses the powerline near a microwave tower.
9.70 Reach the top of a hill, with a view down to the dam of the Blenheim–Gilboa Reservoir. During periods of low electrical demand, water is pumped up the hill to the reservoir. During periods of high demand, the water is released, thus generating electricity. The Long Path turns left and descends, passing between two rows of white pines.
10.05 Turn left down a bank to cross a small stream, then turn right to the NY Power Authority'sNorth Access Road. Turn left, and in about 100 ft turn right off road and down the bank.
10.20 The trail turns left just before reaching the Schoharie Creek. This section, which may be overgrown at times, has views of the creek throughout. During flood conditions this section may be flooded and it will be necessary to walk the access road to NY Route 30.
10.60 Turn left up a ladder next to a measurement station, then turn right on the Power Authority's North Access Road.
10.75 Reach NY Route 30, turn right across the bridge, then turn left onto Creamery Road. Pass a cemetery on the right.
11.00  Turn right uphill into the woods at the very end of the cemetry, across from house no. 137 on the left. In about a tenth of a mile pass a stone wall. Soon you’ll reach a hedgerow and pass another stonewall on the right.
11.25 Turn left across the corner of a field and turn left along the hedgerow. 
11.35 Go down a short steep bank to West Kill Road and turn left on the road.
11.55 Intersection of West Kill Road (Schoharie County Route 43) and Burnt Hill Road; continue on West Kill Road.
11.75 Just past a driveway, turn left into woods.
11.90 The Long Path crosses West Kill Road to the north side of the road, making a short left-right jog. (Between October 10 and December 15 this section is closed for hiking. During that time follow West Kill Road for about 0.8 mi, past the beaver pond on the right, and turn left into the woods 100 ft past a DEC boundary sign.)
12.05 Turn left onto a woods road.
12.25 Turn left leaving woods road, and in one-tenth of a mile turn left again, back onto woods road.
12.70 The Long Path turns left and downhill, toward a beaver pond.
12.85 The trail enters a State Reforestation Area.
12.90 The trail crosses West Kill Road to the south side of the road and descends to West Kill Creek. The trail continues west along the creek.
13.30 The trail turns right and climbs back up toWest Kill Road, turns left, and follows the road for about 0.15 miles, across Doney Hollow. There is room to park several cars here.
13.55 This section ends where the trail turns right to follow Doney Hollow.

 

 Lansing Manor

 29.3 Lansing Manor. 2001 [MICHAEL WARREN]

 

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Unfortunate Route

First, I'll explain how we're hiking the trail, because that will make better sense of the few minor complaints I have about this section, and about the precautions I'm suggesting. We're 3 people (two adults and one child).  We're hiking the trail in sections, moving north to south (we live in Albany).  We only have one car, so we usually leave our car at one end of a section, and a bike at the other.  Then, one of us bikes back to the car and returns to collect the other two.  Sometimes, however, we'll hike to a point, then turn around and hike back, because we've determined that biking back to the car would be unsafe.  We usually make that decision based on the road having no shoulder, and/or because the road route includes multiple turns with low driver visibility, etc.  The portion of this trail from the Gilboa Museum/Stryker Road to Prattsville Rd./990V has little to no road shoulder, so we opted to hike, turn around, and hike back to the car.  (If you're traveling south-to-north, we're talking about miles 0.00-2.05). Hikers should note that not only would this be a bad road to cycle, it's also a poor road to walk.  The shoulder is so narrow as to be virtually non-existent.  When hiking on a road, we prefer to walk facing traffic.  This is not safely possible for much of the section, due to the lack of a shoulder, a guardrail, and a steep drop-off on the other side of the guardrail.  Construction is currently underway near the dam, and the trail travels through this area.  One of the construction workers became angry with us for walking along the road, even though the road was not closed to either car or pedestrian traffic.  This made for an unpleasant walk.  Worrying about traffic and safety through this section added to our displeasure.  I would not recommend traveling this section at night or in other conditions that further hamper driver visibility. Hopefully, at some point in the future, these miles can be rerouted.  We love the Long Path.  We've hiked 77 miles of the trail (so far), but these 2 stressful miles were the worst of the 77. (4 miles, actually, if you consider the fact that we had to turn around and hike them again in order to return to our car).  We were worried about being hit by a car the entire time we were hiking.  We don't mean to turn anyone off from hiking this section, but suggest taking precautions.  Be safe, and see you on the trail!  :)

RE: Unfortunate Route

My name is Andy Garrison and  I'm a Chair of the Long Path for the NYNJTC. I cover from US 209 to the north end. We've been trying for a very long time to move the Long Path onto the watershed land between 990V and the Schoharie. I've forwarded your complaint to the NYCDEP. I did the entire Long Path with my son back in 2005 / 2006. It's a very awesome trail, even on the southern end. We too found the section on 990V to be the most dangerous roadwalk along the entire Long Path. You can bet we've been trying hard to move the trail onto the watershed land. 

Trail conditions

Hiked the Conesville to Minekill falls section on 7/27/13 and found road 990V quite busy and has narrow shoulders-use caution.Stryker road is shut down to vehicles just past the Large farm until just before Nickersons due to severe road damage from the floods of 2011.Still ok for trail use.Trail pretty well marked and dry.Great views along side the Schoharie creek just north of the campground. Hiked Lansing Manor to Doney Hollow on 8/3/13 and found the trail without too much trouble on the north end of the manor(they brush hogged the small field this year).I found the trail well marked but it is very narrow and the only use it seems to get is from deer walking it.I did miss the turn off just past the micro wave tower(trail turns left at tree with posted signs about 50 ft from tower)I had walked the woods road to take pics of the dam and then hike the road for a ways and noticed no paint marks and so had to return to tower.After reaching the access road(paved) I crossed over but lost the trail due to so much undergrowth as it was chest high.Went back up and walked the road out to rt30.Found the path off of Creamery rd with no problem.Trail basically goes up and around the cemetary accends the hill then some flat area all the while in the woods.Did have to take a minute to look for trail markers in this area just before I could see fields.The field will be on your left.I followed the hedgerow out until I could see a barn and crossed over the hedgerow.Found a hedgerow angled left and followed it uphill keeping it on my right and then back down and out to the West Kill rd.Paint marks were pretty good thru the fields considering the greenery.The only other small issue was crossing West kill rd to the North side at 11.65 Crossing directly over there is a herd path and I had to angle to the left to find the trail markers.Would have been better to turn left on the hard road for 50ft and then right into the woods.There was a few downed trees on the north side trail but no other problems the remainder of the way to Doney hollow.The trail follows alongside the West kill creek for about 1/2 mile but is well marked now.