Allegany State Park: Hiking Beyond the Trails

Allegany State Park Guide Map

Allegany State Park Guide Map

 

A visitor to Allegany State Park will usually be given this black and white “Guide Map” showing the designated hiking trails and miscellaneous other information about the park.

 

(Click on the map to open an expanded version).

 

 

 

Allegany State Park Visitor Map

Allegany State Park Visitor Map

 

This more colorful, and somewhat more informative “Visitor Map” is avaialble from Catteraugus County.

(Click on the map to open an expanded version).

 

 

 

 

While these maps are useful for visitors to the park they don’t inform about the many other hiking opportunities that exist beyond the listed hiking trails in the 65,000 acres of Allegany State Park,.  A great resource for those additional opportunities are the various trail maps that were published with the 2010 Allegany State Park Draft Master Plan

Allegany State Park Existing Summer Trails

Allegany State Park Existing Summer Trails

 

Allegany State Park Existing Summer Trails – 2010 Draft Master Plan

(Click on the map to open an expanded version).

 

 

 

 

Allegany State Park Existing Winter Trails

Allegany State Park Existing Winter Trails

 

Allegany State Park Existing Winter Trails – 2010 Draft Master Plan

(Click on the map to open an expanded version).

 

 

 

 

Allegany State Park Trails - 2005 All Trails Map

Allegany State Park Trails – 2005 All Trails Map

 

Allegany State Park All Trails 2005 – 2010 Draft Master Plan

(Click on the map to open an expanded version).

 

 

 

 

 

Frequent visitors to the park can easily explore all of the listed hiking trials in one season.  The good news is that the listed hiking trails offer entirely different experiences across all four seasons and are worth re-hiking in all four seasons.  The even better news is that there are almost endless hiking opportunities beyond the listed hiking trails that will take you to places few vistiors to the park bother to explore on foot.

As a general rule, there are very few places one can’t go on foot in the Park.  The two most important exceptions apply only in the winter: (1) The groomed cross-country ski trails (all locatd in the Art Roscoe – Summit Ski area in the northeastern section of the park) and (2) Designated snowmobile trails.  Note that prior to the adoption of the 2010 master plan, the limitation applied only to groomed snowmobile trails but the 2010 master plan now states “During the winter, the Art Roscoe Ski Touring Area and all designated snowmobile trails, except for the Red House Bikeway, will remain closed for hiking use.”  It is unclear if the apparent expansion was intended.  Or perhaps it is assumed that all designated snowmobile trails will be groomed trails.  (The master plan also statss that the future equestriane-only trails at Camp Turner will also be closed to hiking.)

But other than those few limitations, one can wander around the Park without restriction.  And the existing designated horse trails, ski trails, and snowmobile trails offer some exceptional hiking outside of the winter time prohibitions.  See Hiking from Thunder Rocks to Mount Irvine for an example of a hike that combines existing horse trails, undesignated trails, and gas line easements for a 7.7 mile loop over varied terraine that passes several interesting landmarks and offers some good views of the surrounding landscape.

The more adventurous will find bushwhacking through the park, or just bushwhacking between trails, to be relatively easy.  Much of the forest floor is devoid of heavy under growth, especilly along the many ridge lines.  Blow downs can present impentatrable barricades, but even then it is just a short hike around such areas to get back on the intended track.  However, as important as it is to always carry a map and compass, or at least a gps, while hiking on designated trails, it is absolutely a must to do so when wandering off marked trails.  But there are places in the park where no trails go that are worth the effort.  Two of the largest are in the southwestern portion of the park, both north and south of Quaker Lake.