Info: This trail is on the Northern side of the Black River with one end directly across from Felts Mills and the other directly across from Great Bend and paralleling the river. It also is on the opposite side of the river from the corresponding Great Bend to Felts Mills railtrail.
This 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.
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 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 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.
|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 and other info.
Trail Distance: Just under three miles.
Six miles if making a loop by going along the trail and then crossing over to the other side onto the southern side of the Black River and the Great Bend to Felts Mills Trail. More distance if you take the 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 format PT is unauthorized there (see signs) and signs that read ‘fishing access only, by order of drum commander’. This of course only applies to military personnel.
For More Information: National Grid or Fort Drum (Fort Drum Outdoor Rec – 315-772-8222)?