The colors of the fallen foliage and the rustling the leaves under foot heighten the enjoyment of fall trail riding on horseback. Among the most popular riding areas is the Otter Creek Horse Trails located just outside Lowville on the Independence River Wild Forest, and the Independence River and Otter Creek State Forests along the western border of the Adirondack Park in Lewis County.
Mary Misek, a regular rider and volunteer, wrote the Almanack recently to remind riders of a few dates users of the Otter Creek area will want to be aware of. The water will be shut off at the Assembly Area, located in the Independence River State Forest, around the 15th of October. Additionally, early bow hunting begins September 27th, followed by the Youth Firearms Season (Oct. 12), and Muzzleloading season (Oct. 19), meaning beginning this week riders are likely to encounter hunters in the woods. These are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare, but riders may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution.
Since the spring volunteers have bee distributing new maps of the Otter Creek area, and visitors 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. Maps of the Otter Creek Trail system are available from numerous Lewis County businesses.
Photo: Haiku, a veteran of the Otter Creek Horse Trails, 1986-2013.