Hiking and Camping Abundant in Cattaraugus County
When was the last time you ventured outside and appreciated nature? Not the cliche, ‘save our planet’ sort of thing, but rather an actual block of your day spent cruising around in a woodland area?
You would be amazed at just how many trails there are spread across the 1,322 square land miles of Cattaraugus County, NY. If you’ve spent a majority of your life in an urban or suburban environment, going to a calm area can be a nice change of pace. The woods have that effect - no cars, no crowds … the only sounds coming from the birds chirping.
The good you get from walking outside in the woods far outweighs the bad. Some of the perks: exercise, fresh air, discovering new things (like an arrowhead) experiencing new things (like seeing a family of raccoons) and developing a general appreciation of Mother Nature’s pure awesomeness.
Hit the Trails
Don’t feel that you have to go forge your own trail, however. Groups of hiking enthusiasts and volunteers keep the trails well traveled around here, making it easier for the novice to have a much more enjoyable time.
For starters, one of the coolest places in Cattaraugus County is Little Rock City. When you get there, it’s like stepping into an entirely different time zone - you’re surrounded by boulders the size of small buildings, some exceeding 20 feet in height. You can walk between them in the damp, mossy underpasses, or on top of them, where it feels like you’re much higher than it looks.
The Pat McGee Trail, which connects seven municipalities in Cattaraugus County and stretches close to 13 miles, is another great trail to check out. You can walk, bike, horseback ride or snowmobile while potentially seeing over 150 species of birds. There are places to park all along the trail and very diverse sights along the way.
In the Town of Little Valley, there is a Main Street entrance for the Pat McGee Trail, where a pavilion and two gazeboes are available to visitors who want to come out and picnic. If you hike the entire trail, you’ll cross six bridges - one of which is over 100 feet long. Curious about what you’re looking at or where you are? There is signage posted throughout the entire trail system that explains what’s around you.
The Finger Lakes Trail, which is explained in more detail in "The Finger Lakes Trail: Your Passport to Nature", is a free foot trail that - if you so choose - will take you all the way across New York State. A whopping 558 miles of pure nature bliss. If you’re feeling ambitious and want to explore all of the secondary and looping trails, you’re looking at a solid 915 miles. Or, to put that into perspective, it’s like walking from Ellicottville to Memphis, Tennessee.
Set Up Camp
But hiking isn’t the only great thing that Cattaraugus County has to offer. What happens if you’ve hiked all day but still haven’t done all of the exploring you want? Fortunately for you, there are several quality campgrounds in the area. For starters, Allegany State Park’s Red House and Quaker areas are family-oriented fun spots with plenty of cabins and campgrounds to lodge in.
Triple R Camping in nearby Franklinville offers campers with water, sewer, electric, fire pits, picnic areas and even free wi-fi (just in case you need to upload all of the cool things you photographed onto Facebook). Also in Franklinville is Shamrock Pines, which offers boat rentals and a playground for the young ones.
Pope Haven, located in Randolph, boasts a heated pool and an enclosed pavilion for its visitors. If you bring the rock, they provide a basketball court - as well as a volleyball court in case you’re feeling Olympic. Riverhurst Park in Olean also offers wi-fi access, as well as horseshoe pits and electric for pull-in campers.
For pricing, contacts and more, Google any one of these locations for the full rundown. Or hop onto the Cattaraugus County Tourism website at www.EnchantedMountains.com where you’ll find informational access to everything our part of New York has to offer. Discover your next nature adventure … put down that remote and take a hike!