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Nature Centers in the Finger Lakes

Lime Hollow

338 McLean Rd.

Cortland, NY 13045



The visitor center at Lime Hollow Center for Environment & Culture in Cortland, New York.


Lime Hollow Center for Environment & Culture is located just outside the City of Cortland in the western part of Cortland County.


The Center offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, birding, or wildflower watching on roughly 10 miles of marked, maintained trails running through 375 geologically unique acres.


Like the rest of the Finger Lakes Region, Lime Hollow was carved by the movement of glaciers. Called kame-and-kettle topography, the land has rounding hills of stratified sand and gravel called kames, dipping into depressions of glacial drift called kettles. Small, round, shallow ponds of marl, a soft, crumbly deposit of clay, sand, and limestone are filled with turquoise water. Streams and three ponds can also be found on the property.


Baldwin Pond at Lime Hollow Center for Environment & Culture in Cortland, New York.

Chicago Bog

Peat bogs were formed eons ago when great quantities of vegetation died and were compressed in watery depressions. Chicago Bog on the Phillips Memorial Trail is one of the few intact bogs in the Finger Lakes Region. An enormous Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), an acid-loving plant related to rhododendrons, grows in the bog.


Chicago Bog at Lime Hollow Center for Environment & Culture is called a "donut" bog because an enormous, old Laborador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), a plant related to the rhododendrons, grows in the bog in the shape of a donut. The center is filled with water. 

The combination of limey marl ponds along with the acidic peat bog makes for a uniquely diverse environment.


The Lime Hollow area is rich in native plants, especially in the Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), a tall plant enjoyed by hummingbirds, blooms at the edge of Chicago Bog.spring. Lime-loving plants grow in abundance along the extension of the old Lehigh Valley railroad right-of-way that runs between Gracie and Lime Hollow roads. Hepaticas, leeks, trilliums, twinleafs, violets, and many other native plants grow in the different sections of woods. Acid-loving plants can be found around Chicago Bog.


Lime Hollow maintains an education center on Gracie Road with nature displays where it holds a variety of programs on such topics as birds of prey, night creatures, snakes, edible plants, and wreath making.


There is also a visitor center on McLean Road with a gift shop and composting toilets.


Gracie Pond at the Lime Hollow Center for Education & Culture in Cortland, New York.


Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are permitted on the Lime Hollow marked trails. The Cortland area gets abundant snow, and Lime Hollow has trails for all levels of expertise. If you don't have equipment, consider renting equipment at the Lime Hollow visitor center.


A great color-coded map of the trails and other information are available at the Center's Web site.


The 1890 House Musuem

Cortland Celtic Festival

Cortland Repertory Theatre

Greek Peak Mountain Resort

SUNY Cortland

Tioughnioga River


Updated 30 November 2013








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