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LITTLE ROCK CITY
By Gerlind Dubey (09/26/2008)

The changing of seasons has turned our country side into brilliant displays of ambers reds and gold’s. It’s a perfect time to explore some of our natural treasures.

Just outside of Ellicottville in Rock City State Forest lie some of the most interesting hiking trails with rock formations that will amaze even the most seasoned hiker. This state forest received its name, “Rock City State Forest” due to the massive boulders the size of houses which are naturally arranged so that they resemble a city with “streets” running between them, making a half square-mile labyrinth of nooks and crannies. The Finger Lakes Trail hits many such places as it rambles across New York’s Southern Tier.

LITTLE ROCK CITY “city” is formed by many factors including a massive resistant conglomerate bed, erosion of the weak shale base and soil creep. The conglomerate bed actually has its own geological designation known as Devonian Salamanca conglomerate. With nothing to prevent this bed of rock from sliding down slope, the conglomerate has been carried slowly downhill by soil creep which has been going on for thousands of years. This downhill slide has caused the conglomerate bed to break into huge blocks to form the “buildings” and “roads” of the “city”. As these blocks lean against each other they form caves, tunnels and passageways.

Easily accessible by vehicle from Whig Street, I would recommend a trail map and also entering Whig Street from the Salamanca –Little Valley side which is on RTE. 353- from this point you have paved roads at your feet until you reach Hungry Hollow Rd. A right turn up Hungry Hollow Road will take you to the Rock City Park entrance.

The Finger Lakes Trail System is open for hiking year-round. A complete and comprehensive set of trail maps is available by contacting: Finger Lakes Trail Conference, PO Box 18048, Rochester, N.Y. 14618-0048. 585-658-9320. www.fingerlakestrail.org

Trail access points may be found at major highway crossings, and in parks or other public locations. Look for the foot-square yellow signs with green FLT logo. The main trail is marked with white blazes at frequent intervals.

The Conservation Trail is a footpath which begins at the Pennsylvania border in Allegany State Park and extends northward about 177 miles to meet the Bruce Trail in Canada. The Foothills Trail Club of Western New York built the trail and maintains it. The Conservation Trail is part of the Finger Lakes Trail System which extends eastward across New York State to the Catskills.

“Go where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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