Dryden Rail Trail

Total distance: 10.1 miles

Difficulty level(s): easy

The Dryden Rail Trail is a 10-mile, multi-use trail that is both a recreational trail and a commuter route that spans across the Town of Dryden. The trail was historically part of the Lehigh Railroad system, but now welcomes pedestrians, bicycles, and horses within scenic natural settings. Numerous activities can be enjoyed, including hiking, jogging, birdwatching, horseback riding, and bicycling along a quiet green corridor. In the winter, the trail is not maintained, affording additional opportunities for skiing and snowshoeing.  The Dryden Rail Trail passes through residential, rural, and protected natural lands, as well as through the villages of Dryden and Freeville, and the hamlets of Etna and Varna.

Presently, the trail is open along two main sections. The eastern section connects the Village of Freeville to the Village of Dryden, and then continues south to Dryden Lake and beyond to Pervis Road where it connects to the Finger Lakes Trail. Benches every half mile provide rest stops and interpretive signs mark natural and historical features. Dryden Lake Park provides rest rooms, fishing, and picnic shelters. The trail also passes through Cornell Botanic Gardens Pervis Road Wetlands Natural Area, which contains active beaver dams and various wetland habitats, making it an ideal site for wildlife viewing, particularly for migrant and wetland birds. The western section’s terminus is currently at Route 13 and runs towards Game Farm Road. Here it crosses two refurbished historic railroad trestles before meeting the paved East Ithaca Recreation Way, which leads to the Cornell University Campus and Ithaca.

The Town of Dryden intends to connect the two sections, and when fully complete, the trail will link Dryden to Ithaca and the rest of Tompkins County. As a multi-use trail, it is set apart from Dryden’s many recreational trails by this distinguishing feature - in addition to encouraging recreational enjoyment, it will provide a continuous cross-town route for off-road alternative transportation. This community project will ultimately connect Dryden, its communities, businesses, schools, and parks to each other, and to other parts of the county, in a unique and sustainable way.

Trailhead GPS Coordinates

Latitude: 42.447116
Longitude: -76.25458

Parking Locations

Bus Stops

Trail Attributes

  • Good for Biking
  • Good for Hiking
  • Good for Horseback Riding
  • Good for Running
  • Good for Mountain Biking
  • Good for Cross-Country Skiiing
  • Good for Snowshoeing
  • Lakes visible
  • Scenic Vistas
  • Unique Wildlife Viewing
  • Picnicking allowed
  • Restrooms available

More Info

Part of interconnected trail system: Yes

Trail Surface: Gravel/stone dust

Trail Markers: none

Use of firearms for deer hunting is not allowed. Bow hunting may be allowed. BE SAFE: See the specific trail owner/steward’s website for the most up to date details

This trail is open year round.

Visit the Trail Owners/Stewards