Big Flats Trail

New York

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Big Flats Trail Facts

States: New York
Counties: Chemung
Length: 1.7 miles
Trail end points: Kahler Rd. and S. Hibbard Rd./CR 17
Trail surfaces: Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016616
Trail activities: Inline Skating, Fishing, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Big Flats Trail Description

A pleasant walk between wetland habitat and farmland, this short community trail sits atop a sewer line that Corning Glassworks installed to serve its Big Flats plant. Corning provided the crushed stone surface for the trail.

The main trailhead is located near the center of the path off Kahler Road. A lovely new park with a pond, nature trail and a picnic pavilion is located here. It was developed by community volunteers in tribute to New York State Trooper Andrew J. Sperr, who was killed in the line of duty by suspected bank robbers. The park was designed as a continuation of the Lowe Pond wetland area. 

Heading west from the trailhead, the trail descends briefly and then flattens out for about a mile. Wetlands on both sides of the trail make this a great place to observe the variety of birdlife here. The trail ends at Winters Road (also called CR 17 and S. Hibbard Rd.) near some houses. This entire section of the trail is open wetlands and doesn't provide much shade.

East from the Kahler Road trailhead is a more shaded experience. Woods on one side of the trail and a line of trees on the other keep you under leafy cover. The line of trees separates you from cultivated farmland until the trail dead-ends just before reaching Big Flats Road/County Route 64. There is no easy access to the road from this location.

A local transportation council has recommended that the Big Flats Rail Trail be connected to Consumer Square Mall and Big Flats Town Center, and also extend to the Town of Horseheads, connecting it with the Catharine Valley Trail. If these extensions are made, this trail will become more than a pleasant place to walk or bike; it will be a useful transportation connection for the community.

Parking and Trail Access

From I-86 in Elmira, take Exit 50 onto Route 63 South/Kahler Road. Follow about 0.25 mile to the park entrance. The trailhead is on the right.

Big Flats Trail Reviews

May 2017. Trail in good shape, clean, flat, easy stroll or good run. West half is along water with numerous birds and ducks. Open to sky. East half is lined by trees and totally shaded. Free share bicycles available at western edge of trail. Fabulous Sperr Memorial Park half way. Pavilion, fishing, grilling, and biffies available. And a horseshoe pit! Lovely and calm.

Rode this trail April 9th, 2011. The Big Flats Rail Trail is compacted stone dust, with a nice trailhead, and park benches. Just a short portion of the railroad is included. To the west, the tracks used to be still present. Somebody is actively removing them. To the east, there's a bridge missing. It's physically possible for the trail to continue west, but it's overgrown, and in the center of Big Flats, it's gated.

The Big Flats nature trail offers a safe, easy and fun little trail for the whole family. We took my kids out in the bike trailer for a short after dinner ride. The trail was pretty quiet, the only other patrons last night were some birders. If you have little kids on their own tricycles, bikes the first 25-50 feet has fairly loose gravel which they might struggle with, but it is more compact after that short stretch.

Noticed a community bike shed when we parked our car. It was full of various sized bikes, helmets, kids seats, etc.

What a great local treasure.


This lovely loop provides so much diversity in a short time. Very well maintained.

This park is a tribute to what a community can do to turn a tragic event into a life long positive resource for it's residents and a fitting memorial to a NYS Trooper who died in the line of duty . I have walked this trail numerous times as a nearby resident who enjoys nature and its solitude. There is a memorial to Andy Sperr , a NYS Trooper on patrol who was gunnned down here after investigaing a suspicous parked car with 3 armed robbers who had just robbed a local bank inside. The Big Flats Community came together with others to raise money for and donate the land for this Beautiful extension of the Rails-to-Trails walking park/trail. I find the solitude of the trail and its 4 seansons of walking a refreshing back to nature experience. I have seen many beautiful birds, deer and rabbits on the trail which makes it a nice walk with my grand-daughter who loves to be out doors. The park has a special meaning to us as her dad , my son is a NYS trooper. Andy Sperr loved the outdoors and his love for nature at it's best is reflected in this fitting memorial to someone ,who for the gratitude and love of a community , will never be forgotten.

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