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Ithaca Railroads

Biking and Exploring History

Despite it’s steep hills, Ithaca, NY has had a robust and colorful railroad history. From its nascent beginnings in 1834 when the Ithaca & Owego Railroad used horses to tow rail cars up the steep grades of South Hill; to the Lehigh Valley Railroad’s famous flagship passenger train: the Black Diamond Express, rail transportation in the area was challenging and an interesting chapter in the town's history.

Weekend Travel

A family reunion in 2014 brought me back to the area where I had spent my college days. Fond memories of the hippie-infused town and it’s wonderful parks and waterfalls were always enticing me for a return visit. After a quick online search of bike riding opportunities in the area traversing the old railroad right-of-ways, I set aside a full weekend for the adventure.

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The Rail Trails

There are three sets of rail trails to check out and numerous abandoned ROWs to explore as well, as the maps below indicate.

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Source: ITO Historic Railroads (Ithaca, NY) >

South Hill Recreation Way

mtbSouth Hill Rail Trail Ride - Photos and Short Video Summary

East Ithaca Recreation Way

mtbEast Ithaca Rail Trail Ride - Photos and Short Video Summary

Black Diamond Trail

mtbBlack Diamond Rail Trail Ride - Photos and Short Video Summary

Further Trail Info

Ithaca Rail Trails


Railroad Maps

The Lehigh Valley Railroad had a strong presence in the area and the south hill climb was an interesting challenge to overcome. Be sure to check the historical railroad info below.

1 - Rollover Image to display railroad Info

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2 - Courtesy of Scott Lawrence - New York State Railroad Mapsscott

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