GOOD SPOTS: A walk along the Ontario Pathways, 25 miles of hiking in the Finger Lakes

Ontario Pathways is 25 miles long, 23.3 miles of multi-use, non-motorized pathways and three loops for 1.7 miles of hiking only trails.

The paths are available year round from dawn to dusk offering something that’s truly unique.

Ontario Pathways, Phelps trailhead. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.

The main trail is made up of two “legs” of abandoned railroad corridors.

 

The first leg runs from Canandaigua to Stanley, and the second leg runs from Stanley through Flint, Seneca Castle, Orleans, and ends in Phelps. Both legs are about 11.5 miles.

The main trail is open to the public for hiking, bicycling, running, jogging and horseback riding. Locals also utilize it for bird watching, geocaching, letterboxing and botanical walks. The trail is also open in the winter for snow shoeing as well as cross country skiing.

There are three loop trails specifically designated for hiking only and are all located on the Phelps leg. The respective distances for each one is three tenths, four tenths, and one mile of trail in the woods along Flint Creek.

A board of directors governs Ontario Pathways and it is privately owned and volunteer operated.

Fundraisers keep the trail going, as well as dues from members. The annual fundraiser “The Great Pumpkin Walk” is held in October. Many donations and grants help as well.

The pathways were incorporated in 1994 and sections of the trail were purchased from land owners or Penn Central Corporation. Once land was obtained, clearing and maintenance has continued over the years.

More information on parking and trails can be found here.

The Ontario Pathways is a non-profit that relies solely on membership and volunteers, and there for four groups that the trails depend heavily on, always in need of volunteers.

The Wednesday Crew meets every Wednesday at various trailheads to remove brush, maintain the canopy and collect trash.

Roots Patrol meets on Thursdays at various trailheads to remove roots that can be a danger to bikers and hikers as well as mowers.

Saturday Crew meets monthly or as needed for downed tree removal, drainage improvements, construction, etc.

Pumpkin Walk needs volunteers for the annual event that draws in up to 2,500 people every October.

There are also various community service projects available to 4-H groups, Eagle Scouts, Girl Scouts and the community.

This year between July 8 and August 11 there will be a community fairy garden event where everyone is welcome to bring their own fairy garden or house to the Stanley trailhead.

The 2021 Annual Pumpkin Walk will take place on October 16.

Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.

Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.

Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.