Rome Sand Plains

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Trails in the Sand Plains

Wood Creek Trail

Follow this gentle one-half mile trail along the crest of a towering dune to the banks of historic Wood Creek. The trail begins off a small parking lot on Hogsback Road. Visitors here are greeted by two informational signs which describe the geological formation of the sand dunes and the history of the east-west navigation on Wood Creek. Be sure to sign in at the trail register.

The first part of the trail cuts through an open sandy area with scattered pitch pines and barren openings of moss and lichens. One of the projects the Management Team and local colleges have undertaken in this area is the reestablishment of blue lupines. A lucky May visitor can see these beautiful flowers which are essential to the survival of the endangered frosted elfin butterfly.

Then the trail winds through a variety of forest cover types. There are tall white pine, hemlock and oak on the trail where it cuts along the side of this outstanding example of a ancient sand dune. The trail then drops down to the shrubby flood plain of Wood Creek.

Sand Dune Trail

This trail starts at a former sand mining pit. Note what a sand dune looks like in cross-section – gently sloping windward side and steeply sloping leeward side. Follow the trail along old wood roads and logging paths for a walk on the dune. The pitch pines and other vegetation keep the sand dune stable against prevailing westerly winds. On the back side of the dune it drops sharply off into forested wetlands.

Izaak Walton League

The Izaak Walton League owns 440 acres on the eastern boundary of the Rome Sand Plains which is protected for the public interest. Their property encompasses the Pitch Pine Bog and is developed with approximately 3.5 miles nature trails in several loops. The trails pass through a mixture of bog, pitch pine and upland forest habitats. The property contains one of the largest beaver ponds in New York State.

The Izaak Walton League manages its property for recreation and outdoor education use. Cross country skiing, hiking and biking are allowed on the property. During open seasons, hunting and trapping are allowed under a special permit the individuals first obtain from the chapter president. There are no fires, motorized vehicles or camping allowed.

The parking lot for access to the trails is located on West Thomas Street. Get there by turning from the combined routes 46, 49 and 69 onto Gifford Road, just east of where route 69 splits off. Travel on Gifford Road to the stop sign. Turn left onto West Thomas Street. The parking lot is one-half mile on the left.

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