Right in Wellesley Island State Park
Info: The area the trail is a part of is part of a 600-acre wildlife sanctuary. There is no charge for using the trails, but it is in the Wellesley Island State Park so park entry fees apply when the park is open, entry is free from September to May. Regard all living things on the trail as protected. Leave the environment in its natural condition, including not treading on the vegetation along the sides of the trail and leaving bird nests alone. Maps and other info may be picked up at the trail entrance. A natural history museum and visitor center are at the parking area. Ski rentals and snowshoes are available at the visitor center.
Things of interest – wildlife, glacial potholes, ponds, good view of the St. Lawrence River.
There is also a 2500 square foot natural history museum open daily (call ahead for hours). Cabin rentals are available year round.
Directions: 44927 Cross Island Rd, Fineview, NY. The nature center is about 32 miles from Watertown. From Watertown, take Route 81 north to the Thousand Islands Bridge. After the bridge take Exit 51 and follow the signs to the park and nature center.
From Canada take the 401 to Hill Island – Bridge to USA Exit. After tolls and customs take Exit 51 and follow signs to the park and nature center.
Get Google Map Directions here or use map below.
Trail Distance: 12 1/2 miles altogether. A trail for handicapped accessible and visually impaired is available also.
Date/Time Open: Sunrise to Sunset.
Mountain Biking Allowed: No.
Regular Biking Allowed: No.
Hiking/Walking Allowed: Yes. Some trails are easy, some more challenging.
Cross-Country Skiing: Yes. Five miles marked and tracked trails, ski rentals ($7.00, small children’s ski’s are free), National Ski Patrol present during weekends, and snowshoeing (designated 1/2 mile snowshoe trail begins at museum, snowshoes available on loan also).
Pets Allowed: Dogs are allowed as long as there is proof of rabies vaccination and they are kept on a six-foot leash.
Built on Former Railroad Bed: No.
Special Instructions: This area is within the Wellesley Island State Park, when the park is open you will have to pay the NY state park fee to enter. Please follow the rules for the Minna Common Nature Center and Wellesley Island State Park. (These rules taken from Minna Anthony Common Nature Center pamphlet):
1) If you carry it in, carry it back out again. Don’t litter and plan on taking it back home with you. A good idea at any trail!
2) All pets must be on a 6 foot or less leash and under control at all times and the pet must be vaccinated against rabies (with papers).
3) No swimming near Nature Center shoreline.
4) Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails.
5) All plants, animals, and minerals are protected by law and are not to be disturbed or removed.
6) Park vehicles on paved areas of parking lot and not on grass.
7) Trails close at dusk and museum hours are posted at museum.
8) Dockage of boats for day use only and at designated areas.
9) Stay on the trails.
Same rules as above apply in winter as well as:
1) Skiers stay off river ice.
2) SKiers use trails in proper direction.
3) Dogs are prohibited on ski trails.
4) Hikers walk to the side of ski tracks.
5) Use garbage cans and recycling cans provided.
Also consider asking about Friends of the Nature Center INC., a private non-profit organization to support and expand programs of the Nature Center.
For More Information: Nature Center Office – (315) 482-2479
Wellesley Island Park Office – (315)482-2722
Regional Office – (315)482-2593
Park Police Office – (315)482-2593.