Features: The Cliffs of Middleburgh, Cotton Hill, Canady Hill
Distance: 11.65 miles
USGS Map Quads: Middleburgh, Schoharie, Rensselaerville
Trail Conference Maps: none
After leaving Middleburgh, the Long Path ascends the Cliffs. The trail route follows the edge of the cliffs, where there are spectacular views across and down the Schoharie Valley. Caution is required at all viewpoints, as they drop right off. Beyond the cliffs, the trail crosses the head of “The Gorge” and traverses three sections of Cotton Hill State Forest. The hike through Cotton Hill is a pleasant variety of trail and old woods roads. The forest varies from hemlock to red and white pine. As you enter each section of the forest, a climb to a high point is required. The Cotton Hill sections revolve around the northeast corner of Schoharie County. The section ends spectacularly after the trail crosses Canady Hill, with great open views to the Catskills and Partridge Run and Cole Hill in Albany County. The last mile of this section to the Albany county line is on Lawton Hollow Road. The eastern and western ends of this section follow private property, while the middle 5 miles are on state land.
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 21 (Catskill). Take NY Route 23 west about 8 miles to NY Route 145. Take NY Route 145 west about 30 miles to the Village of Middleburgh. The trail section begins at the intersection of Route 145 and Route 30 in the Village of Middleburgh.
0.00 Village of Middleburgh (town park; elementary school). (Unlocated)
0.35 Straub Lane, at end of MT Path cul-de-sac. (Unlocated)
4.75 Durfee Road, in shale pit. (42.62752°, -74.28854°)
6.10 Treadlemire Road, at snowplow turn-around. (42.62352°, -74.27377°)
8.10 Cotton Hill Road (on shoulder). (42.62127°, -74.24890°)
10.50 Canady Hill Road (on shoulder). (Unlocated)
11.65 On Lawton Hollow Road at the Albany County Line. (42.59197°, -74.21936°)
6.30 Cotton Hill Lean-to, 0.2 mi east of Treadlemire Road.
Camping is allowed in the Cotton Hill State Forest 150 feet away from the trail and water.
0.00 The trail turns east on NY Route 145 on the sidewalks through the Village of Middleburgh.
0.35 Past the blinking traffic light, the trail turns left from Main Street onto Straub Lane. Follow Straub Lane (which becomes MT Path) past the Cliffside Senior Apartments complex and several new homes toward the base of the Cliffs and cul-de-sac, where there is room to park a couple of cars.
0.75 From the cul-de-sac, the trail departs to the right on a dirt road to a shale pit on the left. The trail leaves the dirt road to the left for a steep ascent above the shale pit and enters a recently logged area, crosses several logging roads and continues to climb. A lemon squeeze is encountered in the cliff to reach the top. (To avoid the squeeze, continue on the dirt road which swings around the cliffs and reconnects to the trail at the top.) Just below the lemon squeeze is an eastern cedar tree that has been dated to be about 500 years old, the oldest cedar in New York and maybe the whole Northeast.
1.10 Once at the top, the best views of the village, Vroman’s Nose and Vromansland are captured. Continue north along the cliffs on an all-purpose trail.
1.40 A four-way intersection is reached. The woods road to the right leads back down to the cul-de-sac via "The Gorge," making for a short loop hike. The LP follows on the level to the left and continues along the cliffs edge.
1.65 There are spectacular views across the Schoharie Valley all along the escarpment. The forest is mixed with hemlock, red and white pine, and some hardwoods.
2.05 The trail intersects a series of logging roads and turns right to “The Gorge” side on property owned by the Trail Conference.
2.15 At an oak tree with a carved arrow, the trail turns onto another woods road to the left and ascends.
2.40 The trail levels to reach a "T" intersection with an old snowmobile trail. Turn left and ascend the ridge. As it rises to the 1700 foot high point, the trail crosses an old logging road and connects with the main all-purpose ridge trail.
2.80 After some level ridge walking, the trail descends slightly passing an old flagstone quarry. Pass a logging road to the right and then one to the left.
3.15 The LP turns right and leaves the ridge trail to descend to the head of "The Gorge." There is a quick right-left jog as the trail crosses an older woods road and continues to descend along a spring on the left and a recent logged area on the right.
3.50 The trail crosses three streams. Between the streams are views north through an open field. Old farm machinery sitting by the woods edge are treasured artifacts from the past worth a peek.
3.75 Cross the third stream and ascend to the Cotton Hill State Forest through a logged area.
3.95 Reaching the state forest boundary corner, the trail turns left to follow a narrow strip of state land. On the left is an old “stump fence” that was constructed when the land was cleared many years ago.
4.30 Cross under power lines with a view left toward an old farmstead. The trail continues north through hemlocks.
4.75 The trail crosses Durfee Road. A shale pit parking area is to the right. Continue uphill through a red and white pine forest on the right and hardwoods on the left.
4.90 At the top of the hill, the trail bears right, connects with a woods road, and soon descends.
5.00 The trail “Ts” into another woods road and turns left. On the right is an old well that was built to be used by forest firefighters in the 1930's to fill their “Indian Fire Pumps” that they would carry on their backs. If the fire got out of control, the firefighters could seek refuge in the well.
5.10 The trail “Ts” into another woods road and turns right and descends to yet another “T”. Turn left and follow the road between stonewalls, passing a snowmobile trail to the right, to the state forest boundary and private property.
5.40 The trail turns right leaving the woods road and descends to a gorge. At the gorge edge, the trail bears left and follows the gorge through hemlocks ascending to Treadlemire Road.
5.80 Turn left and follow Treadlemire Road uphill passing several houses. There is a hand-pump well on the right side of the road which hikers can use.
6.10 On the right is a small parking area and snowplow turn-around where the trail exits the back on raised planks and re-enters the Cotton Hill State Forest. Crossing a logging road, the trail winds through a narrow crevice in a rock out-crop which resembles elephant skin. Linking back to the logging road, the trail turns left and ascends steeply.
32.1 Cotton Hill lean-to. 2001 [ED WALSH]
6.30 The trail turns left from the logging road and follows a north-western escarpment to a lean-to with views to northern Schoharie County.
6.40 Cross Cotton Hill (a.k.a. Babcock 2) with an elevation of 2114 feet. To the left, about 52 paces, are the USGS survey monument and a radio/communications tower.
6.95 Descend along the north border of state land and turn left crossing a stone wall at the corner boundary. Soon the trail bears right, descends slightly, and then levels again.
7.40 Reach a woods road, turn right and emerge at an old farmstead clearing and a DEC access road. This road is the boundary between state land on the left and private land on the right.
7.80 A snowmobile trail comes in on the left. Continue straight and pass another firefighter well on the left; the road bears to the right to reach Cotton Hill Road.
8.10 Cross Cotton Hill Road and descend to the right and cross a foot bridge over a tributary of Fox Creek. Follow the stream down for a short distance and then climb the bank to reach an old woods road. Ascend to the right along this road through a white and red pine forest.
8.55 The trail leaves the road, turning right and climbing steeply. (Watch close for a big turn arrow.) At the top of the hill, the trail continues south along Cotton Hill’s eastern boundary. The trail soon begins to descend.
8.90 Before reaching another boundary corner, the trail crosses a DEC access road that leads out to Brooky Hollow Road. At the corner, the trail turns left and stays on the state land.
9.10 The Long Path bears right and descends along the state forest boundary. While descending the trail enters private land. Camping, fires, etc. are prohibited beyond this point.
9.30 Turn left. The trail crosses a small stream and levels out.
9.40 Cross another small stream and ascend steeply through the woods to a woods road, which is 100 feet below the top of Canady Hill. Turn right and follow this road.
9.90 The trail turns left off the woods road and climbs over the hill.
9.95 The trail emerges to an open field with a spectacular view. From the right, you can see the Blackhead Range in the Catskills, Partridge Run, and Cole Hill. In the far left is the Albany Doppler Radar Tower in Berne. Continue downhill following the right side of a hedgerow, then crossing the hedgerow to reach a grassy field drive which leads out to Canady Hill Road.
10.30 This area is very wet during the spring, but unavoidable.
10.50 The Long Path turns right onto Canady Hill Road.
10.60 Go left on Lawton Hollow Road and follow this road. There are views to the Catskills and Green Mountains of Vermont along the way.
11.65 Cross into Albany County, where this section ends. To continue, stay on Lawton Hollow Road.