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Area trails will offer scenic fall colors

FINGER LAKES—The shades of green covering the trees are showing hints of things to come.
Fall officially starts Thursday, Sept. 23, and leaves have already started to change. Seeing fall foliage is another reason visitor’s come to this area.
Besides a colorful drive alongside one of the Finger Lakes,  many people will also be at one of the area trails to enjoy the fall scenery.
The Keuka Outlet Trails connects Penn Yan and Dresden with about seven miles of trail. John B. Rossman, Friends of the Keuka Outlet Trail board member, said many leaves are already turning yellow. He added that while walking the trail recently, the wind blew through the trees, making it look like it was raining leaves. Unfortunately, he didn’t have his camera to capture it.
“I don’t think there’s a bad spot along the whole trail right now,” said Rossman.
The sights he said he likes the most are at either of the falls (if the water is really flowing), or the Bruce Hanson Memorial Pavilion. Rossman added that there are no projects underway anymore, closing off sections of the trail.
For an easier walk, he said to walk east to Dresden because the land declines that way. Bicycles and horseback riding are allowed on the trail, but not ATVs or motorbikes. Rossman said there are bathrooms along the trail for use.
Keuka Lake State Park also offers a number of trails, surrounded by trees that will be turning colors. Park Manager Jim Zimpfer said all the trails added up equal about seven miles, over seven different paths. Each is named after a color.
Zimpfer said to see the falls leaves, he personally likes the Blue and Green Trails. Another popular one is the White Trail. Zimpfer said because there is a pioneer cemetery just off the trail.
He said visitors really start coming to see the foliage in mid-October. Zimpfer added that time of the year is also one of the most pleasant for hiking.
Of the trails, he said the Purple and Yellow can be very intense for hiking. Zimpfer explained none say any of the trails have a very even level. The trails themselves are not all like the layout of the Keuka Outlet Trail.
Bicycles are not allowed on the park’s trails, but are allowed in the park. Pets must be leashed, and no ATVs are allowed. The restroom will also remain open after the camping season ends (Oct. 17).
Parks & Trails New York, a non-profit organization working to protect the state’s parks, released a list of its Ten Terrific Trails for Fall Foliage in New York. One of those 10 was the Catharine Valley Trail in Schuyler County.
The Catharine Valley Trail is similar in use to the Keuka Outlet Trail. While not fully completed, the trail will run from Watkins Glen to Horseheads. The trail from the Seneca Harbor Park in Watkins, south through Montour Falls is complete, though.
While visiting the area, Barbara and Joel VanDyken walked part of the CVT last weekend because their hotel suggested it. The two came from Michigan where they already enjoy similar trails.
“I like the wilderness. There are lots of flowers,” said Barbara. “It’s away from the traffic.”
There are restrooms along the trail at different spots. Bicycles are allowed, but not ATVs and dirt bikes. Swimming in the creek is also not allowed. Leashed pets are also permitted.



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