Hiking opportunities provide natural reprieve

A hiker pauses by the falls at the end of the trail on the Emilie Jonas Falls Nature Preserve.
A hiker pauses by the falls at the end of the trail on the Emilie Jonas Falls Nature Preserve.
Photo by Clara Montague

Springtime warmth and fresh breezes compel us to get outdoors. Fortunately, Lansing’s hiking trails offer walks fit for everyone – from short to long and easy to difficult.

The Ithacatrails.org website, a project of the Tompkins County Parks and Trails Network, provides searchable, in-depth reviews of trails throughout the county and highlights four hiking opportunities in Lansing.

Beginning on the lakeshore, Salt Point provides a little more than a mile of level, graveled paths that run along the water and then back into the native trees and shrubs. More than 230 bird species have been sighted there, including ospreys, bluebirds, ducks and Great Blue Herons, along with foxes, mink, fishers, deer and beaver.

An active group of volunteers maintains this unique natural area, previously the site of the International Salt Company’s massive industrial production facility.

Picnicking is allowed, as is fishing, dog-walking and small paddle craft. Parking is available on site. Across the inlet, Myers Park provides a manicured walking experience, along with restrooms.

Up the hill, the Lansing Center Trail offers nearly three miles of walking and running. One large loop encompasses three smaller ones – all wind among abandoned and active farm fields and along the berm left over from the Ithaca – Auburn Shortline railroad. Views stretch out over the lakes and hills beyond.

Open year-round for hiking, running, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, these trails allow for trips from a half mile to more than three miles. Fall use may involve dodging more focused users as this is the Lansing High School cross country team’s home course. Parking is along Auburn Road a quarter mile to the west of its intersection with Triphammer Road.

Moving toward the more challenging ventures, the Edwards Lake Cliffs Natural Area provides almost two miles of grass trails that wind down toward the lake from the dead end of Teeter Road.

The 84-acre site is owned and maintained by the Cornell Botanic Gardens – trails meander through meadows, wind through the woods, go along a gorge and clamber atop the Tully Limestone cliffs above the lakeshore. The Pocket Falls Trail leads to a view of a 35-foot waterfall from the forested rim of Shurger Glen.

Open year-round with the exception of firearm deer hunting season, the trails are good for hiking and snowshoeing. Parking is at the west end of Teeter Road.

Less than a mile away, there are two or three parking spots on the north side of East Shore Circle that mark the trailhead for the Emilie Jonas Falls Nature Preserve. The path to the falls is less than a half mile, but it goes down and along the steep sides of the Gulf Creek gorge – it is slippery and may be impassable in rainy or high water conditions.

The reward for stalwart and careful hikers is an 80-foot waterfall in two stages with garlands of greenery cascading from the gorge walls. Halfway there, the trail passes another falls, this one roughcut from the hillside, with giant blocky rocks tumbled into the plunge pools below.

This trail is on private land and depends on the permission of three different landowners. Walkers are reminded to stay on the trail, do not cross the creek, and hike gently. The trail is closed after dark and in winter.

The Ithaca Trails website holds guides to 69 more hiking and walking trails in Tompkins County. The Cornell Botanic Gardens website (cornellbotanicgardens.org) offers descriptions of their 25 or so sites in and around the area.

In brief:

LTAPA Spring Showcase

The Lansing Theatre and Performing Arts (LTAPA) booster club will hold a Spring Showcase featuring the talents of students, teachers, and community members April 25 at 7 p.m. in the Lansing High School cafeteria.

All students, fifth grade and up, and adults are encouraged to sign up to show off their talent and help raise funds to support LTAPA at tinyurl.com/se5nkzz. There will be raffle items and snacks – tickets are $10, and will be available on-line (TBD) and at the door.

For questions or more information, contact Denise Robinson at trobinson@flmtgif.org, Christine Maloney at csamaloney@gmail.com, Lorrene Adams at Lorrene Adams lorrene.adams@lcsd.k12.ny.us or Cindy Howell at cmchowell@yahoo.com.


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