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31. West Fulton to Middleburgh
Features: Patria State Forest and Vroman’s Nose
Distance: 12.00 miles
USGS Map Quads: Breakabeen, Middleburgh
Trail Conference Maps: none
Leaving West Fulton, the Long Path regains the highlands west of Schoharie Creek. The trail continues through pleasant reforestation areas and passes through stands of mature pine and spruce, with occasional evidence of the early settlement in this area. After descending steeply to cross Pleasant Valley, the Long Path climbs over the top of a hill, and then descends to Hardscrabble Road near NY Route 30, with dramatic views of the Schoharie Valley. The Long Path follows NY Route 30 north through roomansland, the flat floodplain of Schoharie Creek. The trail ascends Vroman’s Nose on the steep red trail. A sentinel over the Schoharie Valley, Vroman’s Nose is one of the most spectacular natural features in New York. The Long Path descends off Vroman’s Nose to the north on the blue trail, crosses Vroomansland, and follows the edge of Schoharie Creek to the Village of Middleburgh.
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 21 in Catskill. Continue west on NY Route 23 about 8 miles to NY Route 145, then west on Route 145 about 30 miles to the Village of Middleburgh. In Middleburgh, take NY Route 30 south about 8 miles to West Fulton Road (Schoharie County Route 4). Then turn right on West Fulton Road and follow it for 3 miles to West Fulton.
0.00 West Fulton town picnic area. (42.56438°, -74.46290°)
2.20 On Patria Road. (42.56661°, -74.45144°)
3.20 On Mallon Road. (42.58499°, -74.43881°)
5.80 Small parking area. Directions: drive north on Patria Road to the intersection with Greenbush Hill Road, turn right and in about 0.7 miles there is an intersection with Snow Ridge Drive. At this point Greenbush Hill Road turns to the left and Snow Ridge Drive continues straight ahead. There are signs on both roads saying private roads. Continue on Snow Ridge Drive, which is still a public Right-of-Way (ROW). In another 0.5 miles there is a road to the right. This a DEC maintained road providing access to a portion of Patria State Forest. This intersection is at 42.60635°, -74.41105°. There is a sign at this intersection that says private land, but this does not pertain to the road. Start up the DEC road and in about 0.1 mile you will enter the Patria State Forest and in about another 0.25 miles there is a small parking lot on the left. The parking lot is at 42.60172°, -74.41352°. There is a lightly used trail off the back of the parking lot, blazed with red paint, that comes to the LP at 42.60145°, -74.41262°.
10.65 Church Street and the blue trailhead on Vroman’s Nose. (42.59335°, -74.35041°)
12.00 Village of Middleburgh (town park; elementary school). (Unlocated)
Camping is allowed in the state reforestation areas 150 feet away from the trail and water.
9.70 Near the summit of Vroman’s Nose to the left of the trail.
0.00 The Long Path leaves West Fulton on Patria Road.
0.10 Just past the bridge at the edge of West Fulton, turn left into an open field and head uphill to a blazed White Pine. The Long Path follows some White Pine trees through the field for a short time before entering a mixed hemlock-hardwood forest.
0.30 Turn uphill on a woods road that is marked as a snowmobile trail. The Long Path now follows the snowmobile trail until it enters the Patria State Forest.
0.70 Follow the snowmobile trail to the left on a woods road.
1.00 Turn left again on another woods road.
1.15 Turn right leaving woods road.
1.40 Enter the Patria State Forest.
1.45 Turn left uphill leaving the snowmobile trail and woods road. The trail continues uphill, with a break in the slope to the left.
1.90 The trail levels off, turns right, and crosses the ridge. After the ridge, turn left and descend on an old woods road toward Patria Road.
2.20 Cross Patria Road and descend through the woods to a stream. The trail turns left and heads uphill along the stream in a deep hemlock forest.
2.60 Turn right, cross the stream, and continue through a plantation of spruce and pine. After a short level stretch, the trail turns left and climbs steeply up the ridge. When the grade levels off, the trail turns right and crosses the ridge, following the edge of the reforestation area. At the east end of the ridge, the trail turns left and follows the east side of the ridge.
3.20 Cross Mallon Road and re-enter the reforestation area. There is a small parking lot here. The trail follows a woods road, crosses under a power line, and then turns right, leaving the road. The trail turns left and begins a gradual descent toward Pleasant Valley.
3.60 Cross a seasonal stream and parallel a rock wall, and an old property boundary, skirting private land.
4.05 The trail switchbacks to the right as it continues downhill on a moderate grade.
4.20 Turn left and descend steeply.
4.35 After crossing Pleasant Valley Stream on a bridge, the trail turns right onto the old Pleasant Valley Road for a short distance. The trail then turns left onto an old woods road.
4.60 Cross the stream on a bridge and ascend moderately, leaving the stream, and continue to follow the woods road through a pleasant hemlock forest.
5.40 The Long Path turns right to follow another woods road. As the trail reaches the crest of the hill, a woods road comes in from the right. The Long Path continues ahead over the crest of the hill.
5.60 Turn right, leave the woods road and snowmobile trail, and continue through a mixed hardwood forest and spruce plantation.
5.80 Turn right, and begin to descend through the woods, parallel to a rock wall. If you turn left instead of right there is a small parking area in about 200 ft.
6.20 Turn right and follow the abandoned Hardscrabble Road, continuing to descend. On the left is a reliable spring. In a few hundred feet, another abandoned road, now a snowmobile trail, comes in from the left near the site of an abandoned farm. The Long Path continues downhill along Hardscrabble Road.
6.25 The Long Path turns left off abandoned Hardscrabble Road and rejoins the snowmobile trail as it heads downhill.
6.30 The trail crosses a stream and continues to follow the snowmobile trail downhill along a rock wall. As the trail leaves State land, the snowmobile markers change from the round DEC discs to orange diamond-shaped markers.
6.90 Cross under a power line, then turn left uphill away from the stream onto a logging road.
7.10 The trail leaves the logging road on the right and turns downhill.
31.1 Vroman’s Nose. 2001 [HERB CHONG] 31.2 View from Vroman’s Nose. 2001
7.70 Enter an open field. The trail continues across the field with views of the Schoharie Valley and Vroman's Nose.
7.85 Reach Hardscrabble Road. Across the road is a large gray barn. Turn left on the road.
7.90 Reach NY Route 30 near highway marker 30/9502/1179. Turn left on Route 30 and follow it north.
9.40 Just before a NY Route 30 sign on the right near highway marker 30/9502/1195 on the left, the Long Path turns left and follows a red-blazed trail up Vroman’s Nose on a very steep grade. As there is loose dirt and scree here, it is suggested that you have very sturdy boots and carry a walking stick or ski pole for balance.
9.60 The trail reaches the top of the extreme grade, having gained 400 vertical feet in the last 0.2 miles. At this point the trail turns right and continues to climb the ridge at a more moderate grade. As the trail begins to level off, views of the Schoharie Valley open up through the trees.
9.70 The red trail ends at an intersection with the green trail. The Long Path turns right and follows the green trail up to the summit of Vroman’s Nose. There is a view to the right, across the Schoharie Valley to the Catskills. To the left of the view is a campsite.
9.85 The trail reaches the summit of Vroman’s Nose, with a spectacular view across the Schoharie Valley and Vroomansland south to the Catskills. This is a wonderful place to have lunch, rest and take in the sun. Locals have been taking the hike up here for over a hundred years, as is evidenced by the initials in the rock. The mountain is owned by the Vroman’s Nose Preservation Corp., which has preserved it as forever wild. Although the route followed by the Long Path up the mountain is quite steep, the summit can also be reached by an easy 600-foot climb from the maintained parking lot at the base of the green trail on West Middleburgh Road. A very informative book on the history of Vroman’s Nose and its environs, written by Dr. Vincent Schaefer, the founder of the Long Path, is available at the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie. The Long Path continues along the green trail, following the cliffs, with spectacular views along the edge of the escarpment.
10.05 Reach an overhanging promontory, with views both up and down the Schoharie Valley. You can see north to the Village of Middleburgh and the cliffs of Middleburgh, where the Long Path continues north and east toward Albany County. Here the green trail ends and the Long Path continues on the blue trail that descends, sometimes steeply, through the woods.
10.35 The yellow trail, which leads to a parking area on Mill Valley Road, begins to the left. The Long Path turns right and continues to follow the blue trail downhill on an old road.
10.65 The blue trail ends at Church Street, just past a church and a house. The Long Path turns right on Church Street and follows it to Route 30.
10.85 Turn left on NY Route 30 and follow Route 30 for about a mile.
11.90 Cross the Schoharie Creek on the Route 30 bridge.
12.00 Reach the intersection of NY Routes 145 and 30 in the Village of Middleburgh. To continue on the Long Path, follow Route 145 east.