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33. Albany County Line to Switz Kill
Feature: Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area
Distance: 11.85 miles
USGS Map Quads: Rensselaerville, Westerlo
Trail Conference Maps: none
Section 33 of the Long Path mostly follows old ski trails and snowmobile trails through the Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area. The walking is not difficult and there is little elevation gain, just small ups and downs. The exceptions are at the beginning and end of the section, where the Long Path must climb up to the plateau of Partridge Run. The first 1.2 miles and the last 0.2 miles are on paved roads. The single foot-only trail section is at the very eastern part of Partridge Run. Some of the park trails are also accessible by vehicle, but are little used. The trail passes through many reforestation areas, primarily of Norway spruce and red pine. There are also several ponds and lakes along the way. Views are limited, but more numerous when the leaves are down. Because skiers and snowmobilers share the trails in the winter, there are a number of wet areas, particularly in the beginning of the section.
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 22 in Selkirk. Turn right on NY Route 144 and go south to NY Route 396. Turn right on Route 396 and follow it 6 miles to South Bethlehem, where Route 396 ends. The road becomes Albany County Route 301 here. Follow Route 301 west another 6 miles to its terminus at NY Route 443 in Clarksville. Turn left on Route 443 and follow it 11 miles to the village of Berne. Continue on Route 443 another 3 miles to West Berne. In West Berne, turn left on Albany County Route 9. Follow Route 9 for about a mile until it makes a sharp left. Continue straight ahead on Bradt Hollow Road. Follow Bradt Hollow Road for about 3 miles, where it intersects Lawton Hollow Road. Turn right on Lawton Hollow Road and follow it for 0.5 miles to the Albany/Schoharie county line.
0.00 Albany County line. (42.59197°, -74.21936°)
1.20 Off Bradt Hollow Road. (42.58265°, -74.20622°)
5.55 Tubbs Pond. (42.56730°, -74.18128°)
6.30 Fawn Lake. (42.56185°, -74.16544°)
7.30 Partridge Run Road and Ravine Road (Albany County Route 6). (42.56118°, -74.15094°)
7.80 End of Partridge Run Road. (Unlocated)
8.90 Shale Forest Road. (Unlocated)
11.85 Switz Kill Road and Gifford Hollow Road. (42.57715°, -74.11854°)
Camping is allowed in Partridge Run, but only in the reforestation areas, not in the Wildlife Management Areas, and 150 feet away from the trail or water source. There is a new lean-to 150 yards straight ahead at the right turn to reach Gifford Hollow Road (11.45 mi).
0.00 There is a shale bank on the left, with room to park a couple of cars. This is the Albany county line. The trail heads east on Lawton Hollow Road.
0.50 The trail turns right on gravel Bradt Hollow Road and turns uphill. After about half a mile, the trail passes the Partridge Run boundary.
1.20 The Long Path turns right and enters Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area. There is room to park several cars here, but the parking area is accessible only during dry season. Just past the parking area, the Long Path follows a snowmobile trail. Ironically, this area was recently logged, so the reforestation project must start all over again. The trail goes right through the clear-cut area. At the top of the hill, there are views south toward the Catskills. The trail then descends into the woods following Partridge Run’s northern boundary.
1.50 The trail turns left on the Nordic ski trail, continuing straight ahead bordering an area that was clear-cut several years ago. Reach an intersecting trail and bear right. In a short distance another ski trail connects from the right. The LP leaves the ski trail on the left through a brushy area and into fairly open woods following stone walls and logging roads. The trail emerges back on the ski trail at the iron gate on High Point Road.
2.25 The trail crosses High Point Road, and then re-enters the forest following another Nordic ski trail. Shortly, the trail enters a Norway spruce reforestation area, swings east into a second reforestation area and then back south again.
2.75 The trail reaches a fork. The left fork heads uphill in the woods, while the Long Path continues to the right, following level ground. There is a beaver pond on the right in the distance. Shortly, the trail turns right, crosses the outlet of the beaver pond and enters a hemlock grove. The trail parallels the beaver pond through the hemlocks and then turns left, away from the beaver pond. The trail leaves the hemlocks and enters another spruce grove.
3.15 The trail leaves the spruce forest, crosses an open field, and then turns left on a gravel road that is marked jointly for snowmobilers and skiers. It heads generally downhill to the remnants of an old beaver pond, then heads uphill again.
3.40 The trail turns right on a snowmobile trail, continuing south along a stone wall that marks the boundary of a red pine forest on the left with a spruce forest on the right.
3.60 Intersect another snowmobile trail, turn left and follow the trail to Bradt Hollow Road.
3.70 The trail turns right, follows Bradt Hollow Road, crosses the road, and then continues on a gravel road.
3.80 Turn right on a snowmobile trail. The trail parallels Bradt Hollow Road for about a quarter of a mile, and then swings away toward the east, passing through a pine forest.
4.55 A snowmobile trail comes in from the right. The Long Path continues straight ahead.
5.05 The trail turns left on gravel Beaver Road.
5.25 Turn right and follow a snowmobile trail downhill through a mature stand of spruce and pine.
5.55 Reach Tubbs Pond, turn right, cross the outlet of the pond to the right on a new foot bridge, and reach the Tubbs Pond parking area. The trail follows the cinder Tubbs Pond access road.
33.1 Tubbs Pond. 2001 [ED WALSH]
5.95 Intersect Fawn Lake Road, turn right and follow it as it parallels Fawn Lake on the right.
6.30 Reach the end of the road and Fawn Lake parking. The trail turns left on a woods road and descends along a gorge following Fawn Lake’s outlet stream. To the left are the remnants of a 1930s deer management area.
6.75 Reach a trail intersection. The trail to the left leads to White Birch Pond. The Long Path turns right, crosses a stream on a bridge, and heads east toward Partridge Run Road.
7.00 Reach Partridge Run Road and turn right.
7.20 The trail jogs left on Ravine Road (Albany County Route 6), then continues on Partridge Run Road. On the right is room to park several cars.
7.50 A path leads right about 100 feet to a waterfall along the stream.
7.75 Partridge Run Road bears right and crosses the stream. The Long Path bears left away from the stream, reaches a parking and picnic area at the end of the road, then continues straight ahead through a gate on a gravel road. The trail passes a small pond on the right.
8.15 Intersect a snowmobile trail that goes left. Continue right on the gravel road, intersecting another trail in 500 feet. The trail left leads to Wood Duck Pond. The Long Path bears right.
8.55 Reach a shale road (Kingfisher Road), and turn right.
8.90 Turn left, reach a parking area and continue on a snowmobile trail.
9.10 Reach the crest of the hill and turn right to descend. There are views of the Blackhead Range here when the leaves are down. The trail swings left to reach the eastern escarpment, then left again to follow it.
9.45 Following Partridge Run’s eastern escarpment north, there is a view across Gifford Hollow to Cole Hill.
9.75 The trail bears left, switchbacks uphill beneath a rock ledge, then continues north on the escarpment.
10.00 Reach an old woods road and turn right.
10.30 The trail turns right on another woods road and descends down to a level area before climbing again. There has been recent logging in this area and the trail may be hard to follow again until it reaches the field before Gifford Hollow Road.
10.50 Reach the bottom of the hill, turn right and enter a hemlock grove, gently climbing again.
10.65 Turn left on another faint woods road, leave Partridge Run and begin descending to the Switz Kill. The trail enters private property. The landowner of this section has allowed all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to ride on his property. Please be courteous to any ATV users on this section.
10.80 The trail turns right and descends through the woods. This area was recently logged, so watch carefully for the Long Path blazes. It emerges on an open field and continues east, following a hedgerow. Watch for the blazes to be sure you are in the correct field. At the end of the first field, cross a stream in a hedgerow and follow the hedgerow across a second field.
11.45 The trail almost reaches the east edge of the field and turns right onto a field drive to reach Gifford Hollow Road. Straight ahead at the turn, about 150 yards, is a new lean-to built by Adam Forti from Boy Scout Troop 79 as an eagle scout project in 2011-2012.
11.65 Reach Gifford Hollow Road and turn left.
11.85 Gifford Hollow Road intersects Switz Kill Road (Albany County Route 1), where this section ends. Turn right on Switz Kill Road to continue.
33.2 Lean-to at mile 11.45. 2012 [MARK TRAVER]