Info: Also, on the northern side of the Black River is a parallel trail system that can be accessed either in Great Bend or Felts Mills by going over the bridge, making it a nearly six mile loop.
On the southern side of the Black River the main Great Bend to Felts Mills RailTrail is the same railroad bed that the Black River Trail system is built on. If desired you could actually go from Great Bend to Watertown on the trails and vice versa, via various surfaces (some sections of which are usually quite muddy). There is a nice parking lot right before the bridge on Route 26 in Great Bend, and various places to park in Felts Mills.
Along the trail there are a few grinder wheels and pieces of ruins near the Great Bend end and you can see some pictures of another old mill ruin halfway up the trail and along a side section, on this page. The ruins can be very dangerous, explore them at your own risk! They are on the Black River side of the trail off from the main trail around 1.4 miles from the parking lot at the Great Bend end. There are a few more near the water along the trail closer to Great Bend also (pics here). More ruins in Felts Mills if you walk around the village (some pictures here).
There are many side trails leading off from the old railroad bed trail, some are quite extensive and go along the water and near some of the old mill ruins in various places, some on the other side of the trail – be aware that on the Route 3 side of the trail some of the trails may lead to private property.
On the Northern side of the Black River is another trail system which is permitted for public use by Fort Drum and the utility company, with a parking lot on Route 26 on the Fort Drum side of the Black River near Great Bend and a parking lot across from Felts Mills off from 971V and across the bridge. More info on the trail page.
Directions/Location: From Route 3 from Watertown heading toward Carthage. At Great Bend take a left at the light onto Route 26 (heading toward Fort Drum). Right before the bridge you will see the parking area on the left .
On the Felts Mills end turn onto Main street and watch for the trailhead heading to Great Bend. There are also a few other places in the village where you could park and find the trail.
Interactrive Trail Map:
|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: Around 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: ?
Pets Allowed: Yes.
Built on Former Railroad Bed: Yes, part of it.
Special Instructions/Information: The main trail on the southern side of the Black River is is used by ATV’s so keep an eye out. There are also numerous side trails, but some MAY go onto private property so watch for posted signs.
For More Information: ? Possibly Brookfield Power Company?