The Keuka Lake Outlet Trail is a historic 7.5 mile walking & biking path that runs from Keuka Lake to Seneca Lake. The outlet carries water from one lake to another and was once used to power mills and as a boat canal. In 1844 a railroad was built along the canal nicknamed the “Corkscrew Railway” by the workers due to it’s many twists and turns. At the height of its use in 1835, 30 to 40 mills were in operation along the outlet, including sawmills, paper mills, distilleries, tanneries and forges. Evidence of the many mills can still be seen today. This tall brick chimney and building are all that remains of a paper mill built in 1890. Amazing that it still stands today.
The water along the trail was shallow and slow moving. Hard to believe that in 1833 this was called the Crooked Lake Canal and moved farm products between the lakes. The 6-mile canal was 4 feet deep and had 28 wooden locks which moved boats along the 274 foot elevation change. Later the canal was widened and deepened, and many of the wooden locks were replaced with stone. In 1877 after 44 years of operation the canal was closed, the machinery and stone were auctioned off, and today all that remains is a gentle stream. Perfect for Phineas to enjoy!
On the other side of the trail lies a stagnant strip of water full of bright green algae and dozens of turtles. Also the likely origin of the many mosquitos feasting on us along the way.
This was kind of a funny sign.
The western end of the trail winds though an industrial area of Penn Yan. This lovely old mill has been in continual operation since 1797. Birkett Mills has been milling buckwheat and other flour products for over 200 years. Today they are the world’s largest producer of buckwheat products. Now that’s some history for you!
We had a great time walking along this historic trail. Phineas was a bit tired on the way back, but he seemed fine once we returned to the truck and blasted the AC for him. A good reminder that this old dog needs to take it slow on hot days. Back at camp he chilled out on the patio for a bit (notice that despite his 2 beds & a rug he still chose to dig up a spot in the gravel) before we retreated inside for the afternoon to escape the oppressive humidity. An then he went swimming after dinner