In the heart of the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of New York State, between the villages of Penn Yan on Keuka Lake and Dresden on Seneca Lake, lies the Keuka Outlet Trail.
The trail is built on the track bed of the old Fall Brook Railroad (1884-1974), which, in turn, follows the towpath of the historic Crooked Lake Canal (1833-1877) that once connected the lakes by dropping 270 feet over 8 miles through the ravine created by the Keuka Outlet Creek. The canal was kept separate from the creek by its towpath, and so today's trail runs between the old canal bed and the creek, except at Seneca Mills Falls where the trail drops into the canal bed and passes through Lock #17.
The Outlet Trail is currently 7.0 miles long. The trail's descent from Keuka Lake to Seneca Lake is gradual, and so the trail can be traveled in either direction with relative ease. From the Elm Street (Rt. 54A) ball fields to Cherry Street in Penn Yan, the trail has been paved with asphalt. This 1.3-mile section of trail is owned and managed by the Village of Penn Yan. From Cherry Street east to the western outskirts of Dresden, the trail surface is a combination of dirt, gravel, and ballast from the railroad bed; these 5.7 miles of trail are owned and maintained by the Friends of the Outlet, Inc., a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the lands and waters of the Keuka Lake Outlet Preservation Area.
One of the very first "rail trails", the Keuka Outlet Trail is a multiple-use trail, open free to the public year-round between sunrise and sunset for hiking and other forms of foot-travel (snowshoeing, cross-country skiing) as well as for bicycling, horseback riding, and dog-walking. Snowmobiling is allowed during the winter months, on the Friends' section of the trail. The creek may be fished and paddled. Users are expected to share the trail and the creek and be considerate of others. In all cases, you are expected to wear appropriate safety gear.