This blog is the second in a series, exploring hiking and traveling with your faithful, four-legged, friends in Cortland County. Do you have a favorite trail or place in Cortland County that you love sharing with your dog? Perhaps, you snapped the perfect photo of you and Fido, exploring locally? I want to know about it! Email me at Candace@experiencecortland.com and just maybe we'll see you in your neck of the woods!
Follow Truckee and I on a two-mile hike, just over 350 feet up, to the top of Tinker Falls. I promise the spectacular views are worth every step! While Tinker Falls makes for a fantastic hike any time of the year, I am of the firm belief that the views from the precipice are best enjoyed in winter.
When Truckee and I found ourselves with two full weeks off and a balmy forecast, I decided it was time to take the pup on his first hike up the falls. For our trek, I brought a day pack filled with the 10 hiker essentials plus, Yaktrax, a coat for Truckee, a light for his harness and my favorite trekking poles. To review the 10 hiker essentials and a packing list for hiking with your pup, click here.
Truckee and I began our hike by walking out to the base of the falls. This part of the hike is on a level, graded trail, and takes you to the very foot of Tinker Falls. It's a relaxing stroll along the rambling creek, with benches lining the gully to take in the views. It is the perfect way to warm up your muscles and appreciate just how high up you are about to adventure.
When you've enjoyed your fill of the falls, turn back the way you came, retracing your steps until about halfway to your car. On your right, you will see an unmarked side trail that begins ascending steeply. This is the way I prefer to start my climb. You can walk back to the parking lot, to the Skyline Trail Head (marked with orange blazes), for a more moderate initial ascent. However, I find this an unnecessary redundancy. It's at this point you will be very glad you packed your trekking poles. While the climb is only 350' gain, you come by that evaluation in under a half-mile, making it a real calf burner. As this was Truckee's first challenging grade, I made sure to take short breaks at regular intervals, to ensure he wasn't prematurely exhausting himself.
Eventually, the orange-blazed Skyline Trail will crest and descend into the blue-blazed North County Trail. The trail diverges in a few directions here, so keep a sharp eye out for the change in blazes. Follow the NCT down for approximately a 1/5 of a mile. When you spot a staircase across the river, to your right, you know you're almost at your next turn. Follow the NCT trail jog, down and to your right, to reach the top of the falls. The creek here has cut into the slate over centuries, leaving a natural playground in its wake.
This is the perfect place to enjoy a well-earned snack, and take in the incredible views, that can only really be appreciated when the trees are bare. This side of the mountain is colder and tends to be snowy and icy, even on mild winter days. Be sure to practice caution, stay on the trail and wear Yaktrax or microspikes as needed. I brought a coat to keep Truckee's muscles warm during our break, and a pad for us to sit on. Since this is an out and back, when you're ready for a cup of hot cocoa, simply retrace your steps.
As always, hike your dog's hike, leave no trace, and happy trails!
Do you have a favorite trail or place in Cortland County that you love sharing with your dog? Perhaps, you snapped the perfect photo of you and Fido, exploring locally? I want to know about it! Email me at Candace@experiencecortland.com and just maybe we'll see you in your neck of the woods!