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The Catharine Valley Trail
Before summer is gone, bike, run or walk from Watkins Glen to Horseheads.
By Jim Reed
Summer is quickly drawing to a close -- kids are reluctantly returning to school while parents happily wave goodbye, leaves will soon turn beautiful colors, and the smell of ripe grapes is in the air.
But before the snow flies -- or even after the snow flies, if you are adventurous -- everyone should get out and enjoy a real treasure in our own backyard, the Catharine Valley Trail. The Catharine Valley Trail follows the old Chemung Barge Canal towpath and sections of the abandoned Northern Central Rail lines the 12 miles from Watkins Glen in the north to Horseheads in the south.
Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of commuting via bike from my home on Seneca Lake to my office in Elmira along the beautiful Catharine Valley Trail. I posted this note to Facebook: Had a beautiful morning commute to work today. When people ask me why I love living in the Finger Lakes, the joy of a 35-mile bike commute to work is just one of the many reasons.
I highly recommend the beautiful Catharine Valley Trail between Montour Falls and the Elmira College Domes in Horseheads for great riding/running/walking.
For those who have never walked, hiked or biked the trail, you are really missing out. Within minutes of getting on the trail, you will find your blood pressure declining and a smile forming as you enjoy the peace and quiet of the path as it winds its way through the woods.
The trail surface is smooth and any changes in elevation are gradual, so the path is accessible to all. On a bike, the miles seem to effortlessly pass. In fact, as I was riding to work that cool morning, I was so lost in the quiet and beauty of the ride that I forgot I was even on my way to work. That is what I call a perfect commute!
The Catharine Valley Trail was a labor of love for a group of hard-working volunteers including Ed Hoffman, an Elmira lawyer who dedicated a great deal of time over the last years of his life to ensure that the trail would be completed. You can download a copy of the trail map here:
You can learn more information about the trail here:
I hope everyone takes time to enjoy the Catharine Valley Trail!
Thanks for reading,
Photos in text:
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