The Buffalo Outdoors Meetup Message Board › Overnight backpacking/dog friendly?

Overnight backpacking/dog friendly?

Buffalo, NY
Post #: 1
Hi all - I'm ready to jump into backpacking with my dog and wanted some recommendations on area trails I could test her out on. We've got on 2 night excursions but that was last summer in NH. Anything within a 4 hour drive would be preferable. I've heard the Finger Lakes Trail and Darien Lake State Park and the Conservation Trail...any others?

I'm aiming for the Allegheny portion of the North Country Trail this summer (if anyone has had experience with that trail, let me know!).
A former member
Post #: 62
I would not recommend Letchworth if you let your dog run off leash. One there is a leash law, and two, the terrain is very dangerous for a dog on the lose.
Carl L.
user 11291545
Tonawanda, NY
Post #: 103
Wherever you hike with your pup you should always have tags and a bell on the collar and carry the dogs rabies certificate. As far as "off leash"...I would not. A 20-30 retractable leash is far better than having a lost or injured pupperoni. I would check out the Alleghany National Forest...specifically the Kinzua Reservoir area. Trails such as "Johnnycake" and "Tracy Ridge" are great. You can also hike down to the water itself and pitch a tent at any of the official camping spots.
Buffalo, NY
Post #: 170
You can have your dog off leash in all state forest, but as said above, that doesn't mean you should have it off leash. the State Parks have much stricter rules, but the state park police generally follow a practical enforcement rule - keep your dog leashed when others may be around or if your dog tends to wander out of your sight or chases wildlife.

You can camp anywhere in a state forest that is 150 feet from a road or water or trail. In a State Park (like Allegany State Park) you can only camp at the developed campsites EXCEPT FOR THE THREE LEANTOS ON THE FLT/CT/NCT.

Those leantos are the only places in Allegany State Park where you can camp outside of the two developed campsites (Red House and Cain Hollow). Camping at the leantos is supposed to be done only in connection with use of the NCT/FLT/CT, and limited to one night in a row - in other words, people can't use the leantos as a base camp. Stay over night, move on the next day. Of course, you can return a day later on your way back and use the same leanto again.

Fortunately, many state forest in the southern tier are "connected" by the FLT/NCT over private property (but also some road walking). So it is possible to put together a longer trip. A few years ago I dropped my son off at the NCT/FLT/CT trailhead on Rt. 346 in PA and picked him up 6 days later just past Franklinville.

The FLT/CT/NCT through Allegany State Park offers one of the easiest to plan backpacking trips because it consists of 21 miles of trail in one direction, with 3 leantos for camping on the trail.

Unfortunately, the connection from the FLT/CT/NCT in Allegany State Park to the rest of the trail north of the park now involves 10 miles of road walking (5 on ATV trails in the woods, 5 on state roads through Salamanca) because the bridge on Old Rt 17 over the Allegany River is condemned (a women fell through it and fell to her death last year.) However, people still cross the bridge, and the FLT/CT has maintained the trail on the other side of the bridge as an official spur trail, so theoretically, at your own risk, you could avoid the 10 mile detour.

You can also start at the FLT/CT/NCT trailhead on Saw Mill Run Road and put together a 2 or 3 night backpack without a lot of road walking.

Your best bet is to download the Finger Lakes Trail Maps from the Finger Lakes Trail conference website for less than $2 per map ( Maps M01, M02, M03, M04, M05 will cover all of the trail from Rt. 346 in Pa to the northeast corner of Cattaraugus County.) The maps have a mile post trail guide on the back.

I encourage you to join the Foothills Trail Club and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference. A lot of members provide trail angel services for other members backpacking on the FLT/CT/NCT.
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