Sweedler and Thayer Nature Preserves

Sweedler Nature Preserve Trails

The Sweedler preserve features over 2.5 miles of strenuous hiking trails along Lick Brook. The White and Blue trails combined provide access to three towering waterfalls and several cascades.

Sweedler and Thayer Nature Preserves

The White Trail, part of the 580-mile Finger Lakes Trail, begins at the western preserve parking area along NY 13/Elmira Road. It continues east, crossing Cayuga Creek underneath the railroad bridge. It is a shallow ford that is rarely above ankle deep.

The White Trail follows the edge of the woodlands, combing through a well groomed path northward towards Lick Brook. The trail dips across the creek at another ford before turning east towards Lower Lick Brook Falls, a 47-foot high horsetail waterfall.

From here, the White Trail splits. Continue along the Blue Trail, which follows Lick Brook as it ascends a steep hill with a 550-foot elevation gain past Middle Lick Brook Falls, a 25-foot-high horsetail waterfall. A wonderful overlook peers down into the waterfall and box canyon which is inaccessible for exploration. A side trail approximately a third way up the hill splits off to the right, descending to the creek. A small cascade is located at the base of the side trail.

Although disallowed, following the creek up past some low but slippery cascades leads to Upper Lick Brook Falls, the last major waterfall along Lick Brook which towers above at 93-feet. Upper Lick Brook Falls is also viewed from an overlook along the White Trail.

Returning to the Blue Trail, continue eastward towards the junction of the White Trail. Proceeding east, it is approximately ½-mile along the White Trail to Town Line Road and Thayer Nature Preserve. It passes by several smaller cascades.

Going west from the junction along the White Trail leads down to two unnamed and seasonal streams. Each feature their own set of cascades that are best seen during heavy rains. The White Trail straddles a ridge line before descending down to the Cayuga Creek valley before returning to the Elmira Road trailhead.