Horseback trail riders are gearing-up for another season exploring the Otter Creek Horse Trails located just outside Lowville (DEC Region 6) on both the Independence River Wild Forest Unit of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and on the Independence River and Otter Creek State Forests on the western border of the Adirondack Park in Lewis County. A group of volunteers are working to distribute maps of the area, and the water will be turned on at the Assembly Area, located in the Independence River State Forest, on May 15th according to DEC. The water is shut off the day after Columbus Day.
Visitors to the area should plan ahead to acquire a map to the more than 65 miles of trails. Two maps are currently available. A pdf version of the DEC’s map can be downloaded and printed at the DEC website. A more comprehensive color map is also available from the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce (and at the local businesses listed below). That tri-fold map includes the trail colors and names, and also shows bridges, stream crossings, water accesses, picnic areas, and tie rails as well. For emergencies, the map has GPS locations and helicopter landing zones.
The trail system uses a series of old, sandy roads and woods trails winding their way along spirea flats and wooded areas, accessing picturesque Adirondack ponds and following or crossing Otter, Little Otter, Beaver Meadow, Chase, Burnt and Crooked Creeks and the Independence River.
The Assembly Area provides primitive camping on a first-come, first-serve basis, a trailhead register (which you should sign in on for search and rescue, and funding purposes), a trailhead parking area, 100 roofed tie stalls, two stud stalls, potable water system for the horses and bathroom with sink and toilets, but no showers.
The Lewis Chamber of Commerce maps can be obtained from the following local businesses:
· Mercer’s Dairy Ice Cream, RT 12 just North of Boonville.
· Lock 96, Rt 12 just North of Port Leyden.
· Colwell Farm Market, Rt 12 just North of Glenfield.
· Countryside Vet Clinic, Rt 12 just South of Lowville.
· LC Chamber of Commerce, Rt 12 & 26 in the center of Lowville.
· Tractor Supply, Intersection of Ross Rd & Number Four Rd in Lowville.
· Miller’s Meat Market, Number Four Rd just outside of Lowville.
· Deer River Quick Stop, Rt 26 in Deer River between Lowville & Carthage.
· Bill’s Feed Service in Great Bend on Railroad St. which is just South of the Rt 3 & Rt 26 intersection on Rt 26.
· Colleen’s Creekside on Rt 177 just West of Barnes Corners.
· Nice-N-Easy, Rt 812 in Croghan
More information about the Otter Creek Trail System can be found online.
Photos: Above, Jack (courtesy Mary Misek); below, part of the trail facilities at Otter Creek (DEC photo).