On and Around Thompson Park Hill In Watertown
Info: The Olmstead Trail is a nice route for mountain bikers, hikers, and nature lovers. There’s a little something for everyone – hills, valleys, open spaces, wooded areas, benches for resting, ruins of the old ski area, and for mountain bikers a long trail with lots of stone, hills, logs across the path, and barely-wide-enough pathways. There’s some occasional views of Watertown and the surrounding areas from high vantage points. There are numerous branching trails and roads. The golf course can be peeked at in some places on the trail. Note: if you continue on the trail you will find the only exits will be when you get to the end; which is quite long, or through the gold course; which would be frowned upon.
There is no close parking so you must park somewhere at the top of the hill (near the zoo is a good parking lot) and walk or bike down.
Note as of 4/18/17 – if you continue on the dirt trail around the back of the park that continues from the Olmstead trail it crosses private property, some of which is now opened up and the trail system along the far back is broken.
Also check out the black-topped trails which encircle parts of the park, about 4.5 miles-6.00 of trails altogether. These are suitable for any walkers or riders, though there are some hills and steps in some areas. Don’t confuse these nice black-topped trails for the Olmstead Trail.
Directions: Directions to Olmstead Trail – head up to the park from the park circle at the bottom of the hill. Three-quarters of the way to the top on the left right around a curve is a rough-hewn arch of tree-wood with the name Olmstead Trail on it. Right across from it on the other side of the road is the entrance to one of the black-topped trails. Also nearby in the park is a zoo (admission), picnic area, cooking spots, scenic views.
Get Google Map Directions here or use map below (click small car icon in upper right corner for directions)
Trail Distance: Around 6 miles of dirt trails, but hard to find some of the branches (see note above, these are now broken). Easy blacktopped trails (shorter distance), and off-road trails of varying difficulty and length. There is also a very short exercise/fitness trail, blacktopped surface.
Date/Time Open: 7 AM to 9 PM year round (Thompson Park hours).
Mountain Biking Allowed: Yes.
Difficulty: Medium in some spots, very challenging in some others.
Regular Biking Allowed: Not recommended.
Hiking/Walking Allowed: Yes.
Cross-Country Skiing: Yes.
Pets Allowed: Yes.
Built on Former Railroad Bed: No.
Special Instructions: Also check out the rest of the park as well as the zoo. Restrooms available up near the playground some parts of the year. There is also a short exercise trail.
For More Information: Contact Thompson Park.
There is a nice but older Thompson Park trails map here from Black River Adventurer’s Shop via Syracuse.com. Also some more info and maps can be found at VisitTugHill.com. Some more trail map and info – Official Site.