Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lime Hollow: good trails come in small packages

Lime Hollow Nature Center is my favorite place to run in Cortland. In fact, it's probably my favorite thing about Cortland, period.

There are a lot of interesting trails and natural features packed into a small area. It's like someone took the trail system from a much larger park and miniaturized it. The result is that a short run can take you on a half dozen unique trails, past multiple ponds, bogs, fens, and streams, through open fields and hemlock forests, and across a handful of  mini ridges. The trails are mostly singletrack and well-maintained but rocky, rooty, and winding enough to be interesting. We can thank the glaciers for all the fascinating microtopography and wetlands, and the people at Lime Hollow for laying out the trails to explore it all.

The trails can be pieced together to make an endless variety of routes, but my go-to route is something I call the "Wilderness-Bog Loop." It is essentially a big circuit (~6 mi) around Lime Hollow that includes my two favorite trails: Wilderness Way on the west end and Philips Memorial Trail to Chicago Bog on the east end. Wilderness Way features the narrowest, twistiest segments of trail at Lime Hollow, plus some fun little hills at either end. Chicago Bog is a very nice spot that almost feels like something out of the Adirondacks.

Map of Lime Hollow with arrows showing Wilderness-Bog Loop
I run at Lime Hollow at least once a week (and ski during the winter), and I haven't become bored with it yet. There are many times I wish I lived somewhere with more mountainous and spectacular terrain outside my back door, but I can always count on Lime Hollow for thoroughly enjoyable time on the trails whenever I need it.

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