Hike length means nothing. Hike length means nothing. HiKe LeNgTh MeAnS NoThInG.
No, but really, I need to tell myself that more often. I almost missed out on Pfieffer Nature Center because I thought it didn’t have enough trail to offer.
I was wrong… AGAIN.
The weather this weekend was not quite as pleasant as last weekend. Sunday was cold, snowy and muddy.
Although I am by no means a “fair weather” hiker, I decided it would be best to find somewhere nearby since I was alone and had limited time. My AllTrails app directed me to the Eshelman Tract of Pfeiffer Nature Center.
Eshelman’s longest trail is only 2.4 miles. However, there are numerous crosscuts, small loops, and branch trails that can add some mileage.
Here are the quick facts:
Distance: 2.4 mile main loop. Several smaller trails branch from or intersect the main trail.
Location: Portville, N.Y.
Parking: Plenty of parking spots at the trailhead. There are printed maps and a park bulletin.
Views: Gorgeous trees, animal life, a creek, a lake and the ruins of a maple sugar shack.
Dogs: This trail is great for dogs!
Difficulty: This trail teeters from easy to moderate. Most of it would be ideal for families who want to take young children on a hike. Still, there are some parts that would be challenging.
Trail markers: The trail is in pristine condition. The pathways are clear, the tree blazes are well defined and at every intersection there is legible signage. Note: The property was originally a farm. All of the signs are made out of 100-year old staves from the farm silo.
The Eshelman loop starts out light — and gorgeous. Right at the beginning are two footbridges that cross a roaring creek. The ascent is slow for most of the trail. About halfway in, it takes a steep climb up and a steep climb down. It is a short stretch of the trail, but man, it is tough.
I took a detour to see the ruins of an old syrup house. The area is known for maple syrup. Spragues Maple Farm, a local favorite, is about five minutes away.
It was dilapidated and untouched — fascinating to explore!
This park is an absolute gem. It is easy to access, has a lot to see, various trails to explore and is maintained well. It is definitely a new staple for me. I recommend it if you have limited time but are craving a serious hike.
Plus, there are TONS of cool things to photograph on this trail. Stay tuned for my photographs from Eshelman later this week.
- Do you have a favorite “little trail?” Eshelman is my new favorite for sure!
- Do you like exploring ruins? Yes!
- Do you like maple syrup? Only the real stuff!