Erie County Forestry – Explore the Western Portion

map00_all Erie County Forest –The Non-Trailed Western Portion

The Erie County forest on Genesee Road in the town of Sardinia has several well-known official trails, including portions of the Finger Lakes/Conservation Trail (FLT/CT).  Those trails are generally in the eastern and northern half of the forest.   Go to this link for a trail guide for the official trails in the Erie County Forest in Sardinia

The western portion of the forest also is well worth exploring.  It has one unofficial trail marked with orange flagging that can be combined with portions of the FLT/CT and the Scarbuck Extension Trail to create a 3.5 mile hike with a stop at the cabin on the FLT/CT.

 

map00_all_AerialThe western portion of the forest is best reached from the small parking area on Middle Road that is at the southern end of the forest.  That parking area holds two cars at most, but parking is allowed on the shoulder of Middle Road.

You should not attempt this hike without a map and compass or at least a gps.  Neither should you limit yourself to following the track described below – get off trail and do some exploring in the forest.

 

 

 

map01_southThis hike begins at the parking lot on Middle Road and then heads north on the forest road which is also part of the Finger Lakes Trail/Conservation Trail (and is marked with white blazes.)  Just before you reach the cabin a narrow forest road joins the FLT/CT from the left.  This is where you will come out on the way back if you do the hike from this point in a counterclockwise direction.  However, you could take that forest road now and do the hike from this point in a clockwise direction.  If you do that, follow the blue flagging until it is replaced with pink then orange flagging as you head northwest up the hill.

If you go in a counterclockwise direction, then stay on the FLT/CT (the wide forest road) until you get to the cabin.

 

 

map01_southAerialAt the cabin the snowmobile trail comes in from the north along the west side of Hyler Creek, then it crossed Hyler Creek on the bridge, and then heads up the hill.  Likewise, the FLT/CT crosses the creek and heads up the hill with the snowmobile trail.

The white portion of the snowmobile trail shown on the map could be followed.  If you continue in the counterclockwise direction you will eventually cross over the portion of the snowmobile trail that exits the forest on the western border of the forest.
You could also bushwhack up either side of Hyler Creek.  There are a few spots where you’ll have to do cross the creek because of obstruction along the banks, but in times of normal water levels the crossing are less than high ankle deep.

 

map02_northIf you continue up the hill on the FLT/CT you will eventually reach the spot where the FLT\CT goes off to your right (east). Directly across the road is the Scarbuck Extension marked with yellow blazes.  The forest road and snowmobile trail continue straight ahead.

You want to follow the Scarbuck extension.  It heads west, then turns north for a short distance, then turns east to head back to the snowmobile trail.

Shortly after it turns back toward the east you will start to climb a small rise.  About half way up the rise you will see a gully with a large tree trunk across it.  You want to head north into that gully.  Cross the gully then head west to look for the orange blazes of the unofficial trail.

 

map02_northAerialOnce you pick up the orange flagging follow it in a north westerly direction.  Just before it turns to go down the hill toward Hyler Creek you will see orange flagging going off to your right (east).  That flagged unofficial trail will take you to the Scout camp and pond about 400 yards away.  It is worth the side trip, especially in winter.

After returning from the Scout Camp continues following the orange blazes in a northwesterly direction and then west down to Hyler Creek.

After crossing the creek the orange flagged trail climbs a nice hill and then heads south back toward the cabin.  Along the way you will cross a ravine.  When you reach the snowmobile trail the orange flagged trail crosses it and then runs parallel to it for a short distance before heading south into the woods.  Follow the orange flagged trail until you meet up with the blue flagging which will take you to the narrow forest road that ends at the FLT/CT forest road, just a tenth of a mile south of the cabin.

 

If you are willing to explore the forest then you’ll get to enjoy scenes like these:

campsardiniasm viewsm view3sm view2sm creeksm