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The Catharine Valley Trail is a multiuse pathway that provides a comfortable and shaded biking experience through Upstate New York. High points include entering the historical town of Montour Falls, with its incredible downtown vista featuring several striking civic buildings complemented by a waterfall backdrop, and the view as you enter the Watkins Glen marina, which is a treat.
The Catharine Valley Trail follows segments of the former Northern Central Railway and Chemung Canal towpath. From the northern outskirts of Horseheads, the trail heads north though Pine Valley, Millport, Montour Falls, and downtown Watkins Glen. The majority of the trail is wooded, with a solidly packed crushed-limestone surface; there are a few short paved sections in Montour Falls and Watkins Glen.
From its southern end on Huck Finn Road, the trail is screened from the roadway by trees and brush as it heads north, paralleling Route 14. In about 3 miles, you’ll cross the roadway on a pedestrian bridge and continue through the forest canopy and peaceful environs. A half mile after the bridge, you’ll reach Morris Hill Road and traverse Millport.
In 6 miles, the route utilizes village streets through Montour Falls, where there are trailheads at South Genesee and Cook Streets. After leaving Montour Falls, the trail skirts the Catharine Creek Wildlife Management Area. There are two restrooms spaced out along the trail and quite a few historical landmarks to be discovered.
In Watkins Glen, turn west on Fairgrounds Lane and then north on Decatur Street. Continue following the roadway to the marina, which offers excellent views of beautiful Seneca Lake. Watkins Glen is the perfect ending to your trail journey, as it’s a lovely town and very walkable, with a harborside restaurant and many shops to browse.
Other nearby attractions include Watkins Glen State Park, which has spectacular waterfalls, rocky cliffs, and a variety of recreational opportunities.
Parking is available at multiple locations along the trail. At the northern end, there is a parking lot on the waterfront (211 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY). At the southern end, there is a parking lot (116 Huck Finn Rd, Horseheads, NY) shared with Ek Birding Trail. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
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