This hike is the second of many that I'll need to do to finish hiking the Onondaga Trail.

The Onondaga trail is part of the Finger Lakes Trail branch system.

If you haven't read and looked at the photos from the first hike you can by clicking this link.

On the last hike, Caden and I walked to Route 13 and then turned back to the car.

We didn't start at Route 13 because where this section of the trail crosses Route 13, there is no parking. At Fairbanks Road there is amply parking. Even though the road does turn from asphalt to gravel the surface is in good condition.

The Starting Point on the Onondaga Trail

The parking area is adjacent to a beautiful pond.

onondaga trail fairbanks road pond

In fact, the first part of the trail crossed the dike that creates the pond. Not the path shown in the photo, instead the trail is to the left. The trail towards Route 13 heads eastward.

parking area on fairbanks road and onondaga trail

There are several deep holes and cuts in the dike that are covered with walking boards. However, the weeds along the trail hide the edges of the boards and it would be easy to mis-step and fall into the hole.

Ask Caden, he did a couple of times as all he wanted to do is get into the water!

pond along onondaga trail

Onondaga Trail Section Surroundings

The trail goes through quite a diversity of surroundings. These include, young open forest, mature hardwood forests, open sections that were once a ski hill, a short walk on back roads and through a farm onto a farm lane, then on a path across a lawn section at the intersection of Route 13.

Before I include a gallery of photos showing the trail surroundings and conditions, I'd like to share a couple of other photos and say some words about them.

Onondaga Trail Perpetuity Easements

I'm not sure if people from the Finger Lakes Trail organization, those from the Onondaga Chapter of the ADK Mountain Club (they maintain the Onondaga Branch), or the land owner deeded a perpetual easement across some of the private properties.

But I would like to thank them for the forethought. Even though it's obvious that some of the new owners of the land (not in this case) are not happy with the easement, these easements connection the state lands make the hike more enjoyable. 

So please respect the trail, especially on the easement sections. 

easement along the onondaga trail

A Thanks to Landowners

Besides the trail easements, I appreciate the farmer (sorry I didn't get his name even though I talked to him) who let's the trail cross his fields and literally between his barns. As well as, the Hunt's who let hikers use their lawn and bench near the intersection of Route 13. 

You can see these in the galleries below and in Caden's Adventure video below.

A Walk with Caden Dog

Onondaga Trail Section Description

Note: My trail description, route, and conditions are explained as seen on the day of my hike. These, of course, can and will change with the weather, seasons, time, and maintenance. The explanation is meant to give the reader some idea of what may be encountered, not necessarily as they may find it later.

Here is a synopsis of the trail. Below are some photo galleries of the trail conditions and terrain, as well as some of the interesting things I saw on the hike.

For a map of not only the Onondaga Trail, but all of the Finger Lakes Trail, visit this interactive map.

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First Part of the Trail

Here is the first part of the trail as tracked by my GPS. You can click the image to have it expand for better viewing (all photos in this article are set up that way). 

onondaga trail

We started in the south at the parking area near a pond on Fairbanks Road.

The trail heads east across the pond dike and turns into a wooded section. You hike northeast along the shoulder of Kinney Hill eventually reaching the nose of the north-south trending hill.

The trail turns north, still wooded, and begins to become steeper, switch-backing down the woods to a ridge turning the northwest.

You cross an old ski trail of what I believe was Mystic Mountain. 

Second Part of the Section

The trail flattens our as you approach Webber Road and the old lift building. Here you turn right and follow Webber Road turning right onto Parker Road and between a house and barn.

section of the onondaga trail

A short ways down Parker Road, the trail turns to the east at the corner of the barn and follows a tractor lane. Eventually the lane turns to the north until it crosses a small stream then turns east.

Here the trail follows the stream (ditch?) and becomes mown as it approaches Route 13. The Hunt's (at least that was on the mailbox of the house) have bench placed on the grassy trail that served Caden and I a good place to eat lunch.

This whole section of the trail is flat. 

Trail Stats

The section between Fairbanks Road and Route 13 is short at 2.3 miles (according to my GPS). Our round trip was 4.6 miles with about 800 feet of vertical gain.

However, when you return to the parking area, you can then walk down Fairbanks Road with the trail and go westward on the Onondaga trail afterward - that is what we did. 

Views of the Onondaga Trail

Below is a photo gallery of the hike and trail during September. The first gallery is of the trail and views. The second gallery is photos of things I saw and fond interesting. Click on any photo to expand the view. 

Cool Stuff Along the Trail

Fairbanks Road to Route 13 Section Summary

This section, although short, and relatively flat, compared to other sections I hiked is enjoyable.

The pond and walk along the dike was pretty and the woods on Kinney Hill are open providing nice views of the forest. The trail is dry, although if you go early in the morning expect dew on the dike and the field sections near Route 13.

I'm not a fan of field and lane walking, much less walking on roads, preferring the wooded sections. Even though this section had a lot of the former, I did enjoy the hike.

Especially, the steeper section with the switchbacks. The woods is open with larger trees with no undergrowth. 

This section is about 2.3-miles long so a total of 4.6-miles there and back with only 800 feet of elevation climb. 

MVFTW Section Rating

I'm going to say a 3.5, as the good parts are really nice but a lot of the section is flat, open or road.

If someone wanted company to complete the Onondaga trail I'd hike it again. 

It would also be a good section for someone new to hiking, recovering from an injury or breaking in new footwear.

Trail Section Ratings

5

I would walk the trail anytime and recommend it highly to anyone.

4

If someone wanted to hike the trail I'd definitely hike it again. 

3

Ahh, if someone wanted company to complete the trail I'd go with them.

2

Nope, not again. Have fun if you want to do it.

1

Nope, if asked, I'd laugh and turn away.

I hope you got some thing from this article. In the future there will be more video for sure. 

As new articles are published on the different trail systems, additional links will be added to help bring more clarity to how all of these sections fit into each trail system.

After all, this hike occurred on three trails. The Onondaga Branch of the Finger Lakes Trail system as well as on the North Country Trail. 

If you have any questions, or would like to use any of the photos, please reach out to me and I'll get right back to you.

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About the Author T.Marsh


Hi, my name is Todd. My View From the Woods documents my journey of gardening, growing microgreens, preserving food, searching for a homestead, and hiking with my new Springer Spaniel, Caden.

Follow me on Instagram at @myviewfromthewoods

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