Tranquil Labrador Pond lies at the heart of New York State’s Labrador Hollow Unique Area on the border of Onondaga County and Cortland County. Fine views of Labrador Pond can be found on Labrador Hollow Boardwalk, a half-mile long wheelchair-friendly walkway through the wetlands bordering Labrador Pond. The quick walk reaches a viewpoint on the shore of the hill-cradled pond and is a great introduction to the Labrador Hollow Unique Area.
Start from a large gravel parking area just north of Labrador Pond where you will find a kiosk with information from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) about Labrador Hollow Unique Area. Walk a tenth of a mile across the boardwalk until it splits at the start of a 0.3 miles loop.
The pond is a tenth of a mile down the boardwalk to the left. However, follow the arrow to the right, next to a numbered marker, which will direct you to hike 0.2 miles through wetlands to the shore of Labrador Pond.
The wide railing-lined boardwalk slips through evergreens toward cattail-lined wetlands and a stream flowing into Labrador Pond. Continue to circle counter-clockwise and you will soon arrive at a south-facing view across Labrador Pond, a shallow but broad 100-acre pond in a flat valley framed by two steep hills. The valley floor is only about half a mile wide, and Labrador Pond takes up most of that, so the view is rather unique and dramatic for Central New York. Labrador Hill rises 800 feet to the west and Jones Hill rises 750 feet to the east. The clearing visible at the top of Jones Hill is the Hang Glider Launch Site on North County National Scenic Trail (above Tinker Falls Trail).
Labrador Pond is a kettle pond that was created when a large chunk of ice broke free from a calving glacier and fell as the glacier was receding, creating a depression that pooled with water once the ice melted. In the summer, you’ll probably see canoes, kayaks, and lily pads on the pond, but it can be a quiet and peaceful place during the winter.
Close the loop on the boardwalk and turn right to retrace your steps back to the trailhead. There are no other junctions along Labrador Hollow Boardwalk, so don’t worry about getting lost or off track. Numbered markers are positioned along the trail, but no corresponding guide is available at the trailhead. Dogs are permitted on leashes.
Swimming is not allowed in Labrador Pond, but non-motorized boating is allowed. Boaters should use the designated boat launch on the west side of the lake off Markham Hollow Road. Fishing is permitted from a fishing pier near the boat launch and from boats on Labrador Pond. A short path from the parking area goes down to Labrador Pond that you may also wish to check out. No fee or permit is required to hike Labrador Hollow Boardwalk in the New York State Forest, Labrador Hollow Unique Area, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: Take I-81 to exit 14 in Tully. At the end of the offramp, turn east on Route 80 and drive 4.2 miles to Route 91 (Apulia-Truxton Road). Turn right and drive south for 2.1 miles to Labrador Crossroad. Turn right and drive a short distance to an arrow into the park. Turn left down a short road to the parking area by Labrador Pond. Labrador Hollow Boardwalk begins to the west.
Trailhead address: Labrador Crossroad, Tully, NY 13159
Trailhead coordinates: 42.792531, -76.052256 (42° 47′ 33.11″N 76° 03′ 08.12″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding New York trails and campgrounds.
|Tinker Falls |
This gradual 0.5-mile hike follows Tinker Falls Creek to the base of a lovely 50-foot waterfall. A trail to the top of Tinker Falls can be added to create a 1.3-mile trek in Labrador Hollow Unique Area.
|Hang Glider Launch Site via North County National Scenic Trail |
This 2.5-mile hike (or 3.2 miles when combined with the trails to Tinker Falls) ascends Jones Hill to a scenic overlook in Labrador Hollow Unique Area.
|Green Lake & Round Lake |
This easy 3.25-mile loop explores a pair of aquamarine glacial lakes in Green Lakes State Park in Central New York.
|Cliff Trail – Long Trail – Mildred Faust Trail Loop |
This 1.95 miles loop crosses limestone cliffs above a glacial lake and combines several trails to explore Clark Reservation State Park.
|Southern Exposure Snowshoe Trail |
This 2.2-mile snowshoe trail loops south through a winter wonderland from the visitor center at Beaver Lake Nature Center (where you can rent snowshoes).
|More trails in New York |
Explore other hikes in the Empire State, including Central New York and the Adirondack Mountains.