Sunday, June 4, 2017

First Adirondack Hut-To-Hut Route Slated For 2018

Rafting would be part of the North Creek to Indian Lake hut-to-hut routeAlthough most of the Adirondack hut-to-hut discussion lately has focused on Boreas Ponds as the state considers the classification of the Forest Preserve land, another route is much closer to becoming reality: the North Creek-Indian Lake traverse with a Hudson Gorge rafting trip.

Jack Drury of Leading E.D.G.E, who with Joe Dadey and Duane Gould prepared the 2015 hut-to-hut plan for the five towns of Long Lake, Newcomb, Indian Lake, Minerva, and North Hudson for the Department of Environmental Conservation, called it the low-hanging fruit of the report and believes it will be ready by summer 2018.

“It’s No. 1 on the list because all the pieces are in place,” he said, noting that most of the trails already exist and that the owners of the existing lodges in the towns are on board.

The route is a five-night, four-day trip that begins in North Creek. On the first day, you hike westward to lodging near Thirteenth Lake and the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. On the second day, the route traverses the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area to the Chimney Mountain trailhead, with a possible side trip to the cave near the mountain’s summit. On the third day, hikers reach Indian Lake. On the final day, they raft down the Hudson River to return to North Creek.

After this, the next route to be finalized will start in Newcomb and end in either Lake Placid or Keene. This route will take longer as it requires approval for a new trail between Newcomb and Upper Works.

Eventually, Drury said, hut-to-hut routes will be spread around the Park so all communities benefit.

Photo: Hudson River Rafting Company Rafters (Nancie Battaglia)


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Tracy Ormsbee is the publisher of the Adirondack Explorer. When she’s not working – and it’s not black fly season – you can find her outdoors hiking, running, paddle boarding or reading a book on an Adirondack chair somewhere.

23 Responses

  1. Jim S says:

    Are they seriously thinking of directing more masses through the high peaks wilderness?

    • Boreas says:

      As long as the masses have money in their pockets.

      • Jim S says:

        I think the hut to hut concept has tremendous potential, but it might be a better idea to have the system to approach the high peaks rather than traversing them.

        • Boreas says:


          As far as I am concerned, either is fine. However, that comes with a very important caveat – the affected trunk trails need to be hardened and re-routed where necessary. And a significant chunk of the revenue generated from the venture(s) need to be put into trail maintenance. People need to stop thinking of the Park lands and waters as an infinite resource to make money. NYS along with local economies need to realize that with growth comes responsibility to the resources providing that growth.

    • Paul says:

      Why would this necessarily mean “more masses”? Might it be the folks that were already planning on coming to the area and doing something other than bagging peaks? Existing trails, existing lodges. Maybe move them off the peaks and the higher elevations and into these areas described.

      Seems like the knee jerk comment here is that anything is a new marketing scheme of some sort.

  2. drdirt says:

    When the hut-to-hut concept is discussed in relation to the Eastern ADK’s, I have no qualms about it. However, bringing the concept over to my side of the Park gives me pause .,.,., suddenly I start worrying about masses of recreationists in MY BACK YARD. I guess I like the HighPeaks being crowded if my hiking, skiing and paddleing areas remain uncrowded. Very selfish of me, but strikes at the heart of many of our discussions here .,.,NIMBY.

    • Paul says:

      So true on our side we want them pulled over to your side!

      Fewer is better when you are already there for some. But I also have lots of friends and family trying to make a go of it my backyard so people means business which means a way to make a living.

  3. Chris says:

    Clearly a program like this is designed to increase usage. How does this square with the current concern of overuse in these areas?

    Is there a current usage and capacity study on any trails?

    • Boreas says:

      There are probably actual studies out there, but it has been long recognized that the many HPW trails are over capacity – perhaps for 30 years. This not only reflects trail damage/erosion, but diminishment of ‘wilderness’ character due to numbers of hikers and controversial trail improvements such as ladders and bridges. If we assume the hut-to-hut system reaches into the HPW, the impact on trails and character of the area will likely be controversial, but will most likely still happen. All this in spite of the current lack of sufficient numbers of DEC rangers to patrol the area.

  4. Kathy says:

    I don’t see where the hut capacity per nite is mentioned. Will they stagger groups of 6-8 each nite to end with the raft trip takeout on Hudson release days? Will the huts be open for any group or just use of the 5 nite ,4 day trekkers? Are these guided land trips? I’m not sure how to read between the lines.

    • Boreas says:


      I am not sure how much of this has been formally worked out. Perhaps the website can offer more clues.

    • Joe ADKH2H says:

      Hello Kathy,

      Thank you for your interest in the North Creek to Indian Lake hut-to-hut route. There are actually some details and arrangements to work out and finalize on this route. The capacity remains undetermined at this point. We will seek to incorporate existing lodging to the greatest degree possible along all the routes we establish. The overnight accommodations on the routes we put together will be open to anyone. In fact one of the places–”huts”–providing accommodations on this route will be the Garnet Hill Lodge on Thirteenth Lake in North River. We imagine that most people will choose to travel on their own along the route but guides will be available to provide services to those hut-to-hut travelers seeking them. We will coordinate with the rafting companies to provide the rafting experience down the Hudson on those days when the river is runnable. Transportation from Indian Lake to North Creek will be provided for those people needing it.

      There are many logistical issue to be worked out but we’re hopeful that the route will be in place by the summer of 2018 with improvements made to it over time. These routes will be works in progress. You can subscribe to our email list to receive updates using the link Boreas mentioned: Thanks again!

  5. Charlie S says:

    Paul says: “Seems like the knee jerk comment here is that anything is a new marketing scheme of some sort.”

    This is the real world Paul which you seem to deny. Why is that? You’re an optimist right?

  6. Charlie S says:

    ” But I also have lots of friends and family trying to make a go of it my backyard so people means business which means a way to make a living.”

    You remind me of many fiscal conservatives I know Paul…it’s all about the money to them nothing else. The new appointees in the White House are chock full of that mindset and that is why they are gutting funding for environmental protections and all that is good for the earth, the air we breathe, the water that sustains us…because money first!

    • Paul says:

      Chuck you are funny, you always direct your comments on the folks commenting rather than the story. Why not direct a bit of your wisdom on the topic at hand. Or is this just a place where you come to insult people?

  7. Charlie S says:

    You’re putting up a defense Paul trying to pin me in a corner whereas I was just raising an awareness is all. I cannot help who is me. You commented I responded to what you said. Are there rules and regulations on this site that I am not aware of? Am I supposed to respond in accordance to them?

  8. Charlie S says:

    By the way Paul….I don’t mean to insult you if that’s what you think it is. I suppose I’m just an antagonist, not that that is always my aim and even that I am aware of this when I put words out. Maybe it’s just that my soul is restless and a mental perturbation has got a hold of me and certain things bring out the antagonist in me. I agitate easily I suppose. Maybe I’ve been hanging around the wrong people all my years. Nonetheless you shouldn’t take me personally because it’s not about that with me….I’m just speaking out while I am able and before freedom of speech is a thing of the past.

  9. Todd Eastman says:

    More people in the mountains and woods has positive aspects. Having more of the public tied to the resource of nature means a stronger base for advocacy and such interest tends to impact political activities revolving around land-use issues.

    The actual impacts of huts versus “dispersed camping” should be discussed. By establishing a fixed and hardened location complete with suitable pooping facilities can often result in a lower impact to locations than having users tent camping in numbers beyond the limits of dispersed camping.

    If you want real wilderness go somewhere other than the Adirondacks; if you enjoy the Wilderness in the Adirondacks, respect its special characteristics.

    If you desperately need solitude, the Sawtooth Mountains await your cravings…

  10. Charlie S says:

    “Having more of the public tied to the resource of nature means a stronger base for advocacy and such interest tends to impact political activities revolving around land-use issues.”

    There is a large truth to what you say Todd but also there is truth to the fact that it can go the other way also….the more people the more problems.

    • Bruce says:


      Since the object of the exercise is to entice more people (and more money) into the Adirondacks, “More people, more problems is a given.” How would you suggest getting around that.

      How about checkpoints for folks crossing the Blue Line, where people can be vetted to make sure they’re the kind of folks who aren’t likely to cause problems. I come in at Woodgate every year.

  11. Charlie S says:

    Not sure Bruce. Never thought about it. Thinking about it now though, maybe they can put entertainment centers near trail heads with big screen tv’s and have sports shows or Dr. Phil on a continuous loop. Nearby can be concessions where they sell food and drink or whatever..that’ll bring people and more than likely the tv’s will subdue them and they wont go hungry while watching these and for sure they’ll wander no further into the woods. This will help protect the forests and the State will be making a large profit at the same time.

    Checkpoints at the Blue Line? I’m all for this! Anybody who doesn’t know the difference between a speckled hen and a speckled trout should not be allowed.

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