A reroute of the Northville Placid Trail has been completed by Adirondack Mountain Club professional trail crews (under contract with DEC) to move the trail off Cedar River Road and into the Blue Ridge Wilderness; the trail has been constructed, marked, and is now open for public use. Although others are planned, this is the first of the DEC’s road-to-trail projects to be implemented on the Northville-Placid Trail.
Previously, the trail followed the Cedar River Road for 6.6 miles between Wakely Dam and the former McCane’s Resort in the Town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County. The new trail section – eliminating all but 0.7 miles of road walking – passes through old growth forest of sugar maple, yellow birch, hemlock and red spruce.
The trail now leaves Cedar River road just north of Wakely Pond, about 0.7 miles north of Wakely Dam, and enters the Moose River Plains Wild Forest. It travels northwestward along an interior road known as the Gould Road for about 1 mile. Then it proceeds northeastward approximately 6.6 miles through the Blue Ridge Wilderness to intersect the existing trail just south of Stephens Pond. Almost all of the 6.6-mile segment involved new trail construction, all done with hand tools. The trail traverses a parcel of land formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn and Company and now owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). DEC is negotiating with TNC to add the parcel to the Forest Preserve.
The portion of the trail on the Gould Road is temporary. A future phase is expected to reroute through the woods south of Wakely Dam. The trail is also expected to be routed up the Wakely Mountain trail for about a mile, then northeastward along another arm of the Gould Road to the section of new trail construction. Once all construction is complete, the road walk along this part of the Northville Lake Placid Trail will be reduced from 7.8 miles to 0.3 miles.
Five segments of the Northville-Lake Placid trail are on roads open to motor vehicles according to the DEC which has announced that “A major DEC goal in the development of management plans for forest preserve units containing the trail is to relocate segments of the trail that are on roads into the woods.”
The original 133-mile trail was laid out in 1922 and 1923 by the Adirondack Mountain Club (formed in 1922 primarily to establish hiking trails). The club’s first project was the cutting of the Northville-Placid Trail the terminus of which were located near New York Central Railroad stations.
From South to North the Northville-Placid Trail crosses the Silver Lake Wilderness Area, Jessup River Wild Forest, West Canada Lake Wilderness Area, Moose River Plains Wild Forest, Blue Ridge Wilderness Area, Blue Mountain Wild Forest, and High Peaks Wilderness Area. It also passes through the villages of Piseco, Blue Mountain Lake, and Long Lake.