Info: This trail is on the northern side of the Black River with the trailhead and parking for one end directly across from Felts Mills (along Route 26/Martin Street Road, across the bridge from Great Bend) and the other trail head/parking directly across from Great Bend (at the dead-end road at the corner of Route 971V, across the bridge from Felts Mills), this trail parallels the river. This trail also is on the opposite side of the river from the corresponding Great Bend to Felts Mills railtrail.
The trail is built on the strip of land that National Grid owns, sandwiched between the Black River and Fort Drum and in some places skirts the edge of the Fort Drum fence, it also passes by the utility company’s monitoring station. Part of the trail is a dirt hiking trail and the other part is a gravel/dirt road.
There are multiple signs and a few trail markers. Along the way, you will see the Black River, a couple of dams, and some ruins as well as lots of wildlife.
This trail system is permitted for public use by Fort Drum and the utility company (don’t let the sign for military personnel throw you – unless you are in the military), with a parking lot on Route 26 on the Fort Drum side of the Black River near Great Bend right past the bridge and another at the sharp right-hand turn of 971V across from Felts Mills and over the bridge on the northern side of the Black River, there is a blocked off road where cars can park, and a block-off vehicle gate leading to the trail.
Note as of August 2021 – the lopsided bridge with missing sections has been either replaced or fixed and leveled and is now much easier to pass over while running, walking, biking, etc.
Directions/Location: From Route 3 from Watertown head east-ward:
If parking at Great bend take a left at the light in Great Bend onto Route 26 (heading toward Fort Drum), right after the bridge you will see the gravel parking area on the left for the trail on the northern side of the Black River.
If parking near Felts Mills take Route 971V (Gary Street) at the light and cross the bridge, right before the left-hand corner to the left and the blocked off section ahead you can see the trailhead is to the right, with a vehicle gate. Ahead at the blocked-off section you can park on the remains of the old road before the concrete barriers.
Trail Map (this also shows the trail on the southern side of the Black River):
|Great Bend to Felts Mills Trail (northern side of Black River) - trailhead 1|
|Great Bend to Felts Mills Trail (northern side of Black River) - trailhead 2|
|Great Bend to Felts Mills Railtrail/Trail (southern side of Black River) - trailhead 1|
|Great Bend to Felts Mills Railtrail/Trail (southern side of Black River) - trailhead 2|
Special thanks to Dav Nadz for mapping out the whole trail system on either side of the Black River for the above map, and apprising us of the trail on the northern side, as well as other info.
Trail Distance: Just under three miles.
You can make it around six miles if you make a loop of it by going in one direction along this trail and then crossing over the bridge and onto the other side and traveling along the southern side of the Black River and the Great Bend to Felts Mills Trail. More distance if you take some of the many side trails on the southern side of the Black River.
Date/Time Open: ?
Mountain Biking Allowed: Yes.
Hiking/Walking Allowed: Yes.
Cross-Country Skiing: Yes, but not groomed.
Pets Allowed: Yes.
Built on Former Railroad Bed: No.
Special Instructions/Information: For military people see signs, this of course only applies to military personnel.
For More Information: National Grid or Fort Drum for military personnel (Fort Drum Outdoor Rec – 315-772-8222)?