This blog highlights some of my adventures with the focus on railroad history. Originally intended as a blog of my rail trail rides, it now also includes hikes, railroad trips and even stop-and-go car trips if they are railroad history related...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Black Diamond Trail - Ithaca, NY

The Black Diamond Express
This was the Route of the Lehigh Valley (LVRR) To Buffalo. The LVRR’s most famous passenger train was known as the Black Diamond Express as the railroad was known for primarily hauling coal from the Pennsylvania mines. (further info > )

BTW: The name in no way reflects any kind of difficulty for a biker - it is just a name to link the trail with its past!

The Ride
On Saturday--about a little before 6PM--I rode a bit of the Black Diamond.

I started out in the southernmost part of Cass Park and started riding on the trail I saw but ended up by the pool, so I retraced my route to try and find the actual trail I intended to ride!

 I found a gravel turnoff that led to the old ROW. It turns out, getting started was difficult because there wasn’t any signage. I believe this section of the trail is still considered not open.

The trail itself looks like a jeep trail and I was even blocked with deadfall at one point!

Although easy to ride  (the grade wasn’t much at all), the trail really was more appropriate for fat tires as there was a lot of ballast-sized rocks scattered about and I worried the whole time that I was going to pop a tire. :-(

After about 3 miles of riding, I decided to turn around. This section near the fallen tree pictured below had lots of loose rock just waiting to cause a flat! Fortunately I made it out with my tires still intact - riding back down over the clover was a redeeming moment of fun...

Short One-Handed Video:


  1. I rode the whole thing last summer. It still wasn't officially open, although it was (barely) rideable the whole way. Just have to be able to tolerate riding on ballast. :( And yes, I had the same trouble finding the south end. Not well marked at all.

    1. Cool - did you get to the bridge over the Taughannock Creek?,-76.6152016,18z