One of the Most Popular Local Trails
Info: Easy walking, easy biking, probably the most popular trail outside of Thompson Park. Paved and sometimes very popular and busy.
Stay on the trail (unless fishing) as a few places have some cliffs and drop-offs, the Black River can be very strong at certain times of the year.
The main and original trail was built on the old former railroad bed.
Paved surface, not groomed during the winter. Picnic area, mileage markers, canoe access, fishing.
A worker who was helping to build the Black River Trail died while creating it.
To enter from the Ridge Road parking trailhead get on Eastern Boulevard [Route 3] in the city heading north (toward Black River/Carthage). Watch for the Ridge Road right before the bridge. On the Ridge Road pass by two cemeteries, and right before the hill where there are guard rails, is a parking lot on the right and the trail on the left, a crossing right-of-way can be seen on the Ridge Road right before the parking lot.
If parking at the Black River end take Route 3 (Eastern Boulevard) out of the city in the direction going toward Carthage/Village of Black River. A little way past the corner of Route 3 and Route 342 there is a bridge and a dam. Just past the bridge is a small paved road on the right and parking lot.
There is also parking on Walker Avenue, and parking at Waterworks Park.
Coordinates/Waypoint(s): N 44°00.189, W 75°48.297 – Parking lot/trail start at Black River end. N 43°58.626 W 75°51.5 – Parking lot/trail start at Watertown end on Ridge Road.
Trail Distance: The trail from Black River to Watertown is 3.3 miles, a new extension was about a mile long – total = 4.3. The newest extension adds another .45 of a mile or so, and adds direct access to the trails of Waterworks Park bringing the approximate total length (one direction) to around 5.5 miles.
The rest of the old railroad bed from Black River to Felts Mills is unofficial and partly closed, this is dirt and mud. But from Felts Mills to Great Bend is an open trail on the old railroad bed.
Date/Time Open: Dawn to dusk.
Mountain Biking Allowed: Yes. Easy.
Regular Biking Allowed: Easy.
Hiking/Walking Allowed: Yes.
Cross-Country Skiing: Yes.
Pets Allowed: Yes
Built on Former Railroad Bed: Yes, most of it. The Black River end of the paved trail to Watertown was originally a road for a distance until it ‘connects’ to the former railroad trail (you will notice this section is winding, once it connects to the railroad trail section it is straight to Watertown)
Trail Map: (see dashed line originating from the trailhead symbol. Note – the newer extension trail is not shown on this map.)
View from Black River Trailhead:
View from Watertown Trailhead:
Special Instructions: Close to the river in some places, access to the river in others near rapid waters so watch for fast-moving water.
For More Information: NY State Parks.