Hiking the Bristol Hills Trail: Two Rod Road to Mitchellsville Road

For more area hikes and resources, see the trip summary: Hiking the Finger Lakes Trail

A bear?! Are you kidding me? My first solo hike and I get a bear? Mind you I never saw the bear, but just hearing her was enough to turn a tranquil walk in the woods into an agitated tromp. Instead of quietly hiking, lost in my own thoughts, I was suddenly hyper-aware and exceedingly noisy. Proper bear protocol calls for making noise to warn them off, so every few minutes, I’d yell “Ha! Hey bear! Go away bear!”.

Like a good little solo hiker, I periodically texted my son Jacob so family would know I’d arrived, started hiking, etc. When I typed OMG - I just heard a bear, Jacob instantly replied I’m so jealous, making me realize just how different we are: He wanted to see a bear; I did not.

At the registration box about 2.4 miles in, 0.2 miles beyond where I'd heard the bear. I took this selfie on the way back when I was more relaxed, as you can see!

In truth, I only remained freaked out for a couple miles. It didn’t take long to settle back into the hike and recapture the simple joy of boots on the trail, surrounded by quiet giants.

I was excited to hike this section of the Bristol Hills Trail after running into a hiker last week who raved, proclaiming it one of the prettiest hikes in the area. Since I needed to get 7 miles in, the length was just about perfect; Runkeeper measured my out-and-back at 7.2 miles.

I had to pause in this gorgeous stand of trees

The hike was lovely but without any outstanding features or viewpoints, I wouldn’t rate it a must-see. The only characteristic that stood out were the tree stands. I encountered a variety of dense copses (can’t say exactly what since I’m a loss at tree identification) and one obviously planted stand was particularly striking.

Tree Ent? Nice to see a friendly face on the trail :). Look carefully and you can see the next blaze to the right of the first.

Once again, I was impressed with trail quality. This branch of the Finger Lakes Trail is well-marked and maintained. It’d take serious effort to get lost with the next blaze always in view and sometimes within 20 feet (!). After long sections of muck and mud on our last hike, I was grateful firm ground, facing just one soft spot over the entire 7 miles.

This is a screenshot from the Bristol Hills website (cnyhiking.com/BristolHillsTrail). The mile 0.0 description is incorrect: Pick up the trail off Hungry Hollow, not Two Rod.

One important note: The trail is off of Hungry Hollow Road, not off Two Rod as the Bristol Hills website indicates. I parked at the corner of Two Rod Road and Dinehart / Hungry Hollow, then walked west on Hungry Hollow about 0.1 miles to pick up the trail on the south side of the road.

A pano showing Two Rod Road and Hungry Hollow Road. I'm parked on Two Rod. From that spot, take a left onto Hungry Hollow (the middle road pictured) to pick up the trail.

This hike was a bit more strenuous than my last two with a total climb of over 1300 feet, much of that racked up in the middle as I dropped down to Mitchellsville Road then turned around and promptly climbed right back up. A nutty little plan, but perfect for a training hike.  I need to find an 8-miler next week. Perhaps I’ll finally make it down to the Finger Lakes Trail; it’s definitely on my hiking  horizon.

Here's the mile-by-mile trail description from Two Rod Road to Mitchellsville Road.

My Runkeeper summary data. Note the big elevation dip / climb at the halfway mark!