The park stretches along the Chenango River for 2.5 miles. The terrain is confusing because it has many undulating hills and most of the low spots appear to be sinkholes, formed by the retreating glaciers of 12,000 years ago. The various trails meander through the alluvial till. The water had eroded away all of the rocky cliffs that we see in the other steep terrain of our county.
This park includes a spring where the water never freezes. The two "kettle" lakes were formed by massive chunks of ice that were slow to melt.
Man increased the size of Chenango Lake during the CCC days.
This park has the most extensive set of woodland trails in the county. It is an optimum XC Skiing and cycling aea. The Friends of Chenango Valley State Park maintain most of the lake and carriage trails. Chenango Point Cycles developed and maintain the narrow mountain bike trails.
There are 19 trails described in the park hand-out literature. This accounts for more than 50 trail junctions. The trails are only marked at their junctions with posts, so you may become easily confused, especially in the Northern half. The posts do not name the trails but label them with two letters. If you feel that you may be lost, just head south and you will soon run into a campground or a golf course.
Rather than describe each individual trail, I will focus on the lake trail, the tow path, and the carriage trail.
Chenango Lake Trail:(1.8 miles) Starting at the south parking lot follow the paved trail around the lake swimming area with lake on your left. Soon you will come upon some strange structures. They house the bats which comsume the insects of the park at night. Next take a left over the bridge for a short hike on the island. Return to the main trail. After it climbs a hill, you will find you have a choice of turns. To the right takes you on a longer loop past the marsh and spring to the cabin road. To the left drops you down a steep pitch to the bridge over the inlet stream. Beware on bike or ski! Follow this latter path, up to a brief length of service road and continue by the edge of the lake around to the outlet falls. Bikes are not permitted on the west and north part of this trail.
Lily Lake Trail: (1.3 miles) This trail is best approached by driving to the picnic shelter at 'Tween the Lakes. Follow the gravel road down the hill that also goes to the scout camp. A narrow, foot trail hugs the lake bank most of the way around.
Tow Path: (2.8 miles one way)This level path, paralleling the river, starts as a graded service road at the end of the parking lot. After going north for a mile watch for the caution sign. Golfers at the eighth tee may be driving across the road. They have the right of way. This is particularly hazardous for any unwary cyclist. In another 1/2 mile there is a sixth tee. The service road ends but the path continues under the power line. There is a short stretch where the trail is only a rough dirt path until the graded tow path appears again for the final mile to SR 79. Stop by at rebuilt lock 105 on the canal to view some classic engineering.
Sylvan Trail: (2.0 miles) Start as above on the road north from the "Tween the Lakes shelter. Instead of following the road straight ahead bear left down the hill and then right, north. Proceed 1/4 mile to where the trail widens to become part of the original old carriage trail. The only way to follow the rest of the trail is to remain on what appears to look like a carriage trail and check for the markers at junction. The first mile generally follows the eastern park border north with 3 bicycle trails branching off to the right. The trail curves west to the ridge above the canal. On the route south you may take either branch at the Y. They join again before pitching down to the edge of the golf course, then abruptly turn left and head back to the start.
Triple Cities Hiking Club - Hiking in the Greater Binghamton, NY Area and Beyond, Since 1947 > Resources for Hikers > Recreational Trails of Broome and Tioga Counties > Table of Contents - Hiking Locations >