Friday, January 24, 2014

Skiing to Moose Pond Near Saranac Lake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was another cold but brilliant day in Saranac Lake. I skied to Moose Pond on my lunch hour, a pristine water body with knockout views of Moose Mountain and Whiteface Mountain.

As usual this winter, I was worried about the amount of snow cover and so was glad to discover that the trail has been skied a lot in recent days. There were well-packed ski tracks all the way to the pond. Snowshoers also have been using the trail. I want to thank them for hiking to the side of the ski tracks.

The Moose Pond trail is an old woods road that doesn’t need a lot of snow to be skiable. For most part the cover was adequate, but it was thin in spots, with occasional roots and rocks sticking out. Also, there was a section of glare ice just before the first turnoff to the pond.

Moose-Pond-trail-web-300x243It’s only about a mile and half to Moose Pond, but you can extend the trip by skiing on the pond. In fact, this is the highlight of the trip, in my book. The views from the pond of frosty peaks are stunning, especially on a sunny afternoon. And the ski conditions on the pond are ideal right now.

The trailhead for Moose Pond is a few miles north of Saranac Lake on Route 3. You begin by skiing down a dirt road between two fields to a green steel bridge over the Saranac River. After crossing the river, follow the old woods road 1.4 miles to an unmarked junction. Most skiers bear right to descend to the pond. I usually continue 150 yards and take a right at a second junction. This leads to an outcrop of bedrock that affords easy access to the pond.

Moose Pond is in Tony Goodwin’s Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks. He rates it as suitable for beginners.

Photos by Phil Brown: Above, Whiteface Mountain (in distance) and Moose Mountain as seen from Moose Pond; and below, the Moose Pond trail.

This story first appeared at Adirondack Explorer.

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Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack. Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing. He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.

4 Responses

  1. I am somewhat amused by your thanking snowshoers for not walking on the ski tracks. I used to go snowshoeing regularly in a patch of state forest near where I lived. I also maintained the trails by side cutting. After a snow storm I was usually the first on in to break trail, clearing blow down, etc. I’d come along the next day and inevitably some skiers had followed my track. Almost as inevitably one of the later skiers would post a note to a local paper chiding the snowshoers who walked in the ski tracks.

  2. Phil Brown says:

    Jim, thanks for your trail work. In this case, the trail is wide enough that the snowshoers don’t need to walk in the ski tracks. That they didn’t shows courtesy that I thought deserved a mention.

  3. Paul says:

    Why would you need snowshoes in there with that amount of snow?

  4. Harold Sperazza says:

    As an avid XC skier I personally find snowshoe tracks and even a one time snowmobile run over a trail to be a help along the way. Walking on a trail without snowshoes is the worst possible option. And by the way, if a lack of snow is an issue take the trip out to the Otter Creek Horse trail area near the Tughill Plateau. We’ve traveled up there several times over the past month and the snow has been more than plentiful, with hardly a soul in sight and the whole region is beautiful.

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