Earlier this spring, I asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a list of lesser known hikes in the Adirondacks in an effort to provide people with options outside of the more popular trails. (As I recently wrote about the challenges that surround social distancing on well-traveled routes.) Part of that list ran in the May-June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, but the entire list can be found below. Many of the trails are relatively flat and go to ponds, a type of route that tends to attract few people but can be just as rewarding as a summit hike.
This list will provide you with the hikes. You can use other tools to find the details of each hike, such as maps, guidebooks, and the DEC’s website.
The following is a list of lesser used trails in the southern Adirondacks provided to the Adirondack Almanack by the DEC:
- Twin Lakes Dam Trail, Town of Ohio, Black River Wild Forest – 6 miles round trip
- Brewer Lake Trail, Otter Lake, Black River Wild Forest – 4 miles round trip
- Vista (Keegan’s) Trail, Town of Ohio, Black River Wild Forest – 2 miles round trip
- Bullhead Pond, Indian Lake, Blue Mtn Wild Forest – 1.2 miles round trip
- Sawyer Mountain, Indian Lake, Blue Ridge Wilderness – 2.6 miles round trip
- Slim Pond, Arietta, Blue Ridge Wilderness – 5.8 miles round trip
- Watch Hill, Indian Lake, Jessup River Wild Forest – 2.4 miles round trip
- Chase Lake Trail, Benson, Shaker Mtn Wild Forest – 5.6 miles round trip to lean to on Chase Lake
- Broomstick Lake, Arietta, Ferris Lake Wild Forest – 1.4 miles round trip
- Stewart and Indian Lake Trail, Caroga, Shaker Mountain Wild Forest – 2.2-mile hike to scenic overlook on lake.
- Lassellsville State Forest, Oppenheim/Ephratah – 6.6 miles of trails. Parking on Fical and Schullenburg Roads
- Rockwood State Forest, Ephratah/Johnstown – 1.69 miles of trails. Parking on Route 29
- Wolf Pond Trail, North Hudson, Vanderwhacker Mt. Wild Forest – 2.6 miles round trip
- Big Pond Trail, Schroon Lake, Hoffman Notch Wilderness – 1.7 miles to Big Pond. Trail continues 4.1 miles to Hoffman Notch Trail intersection.
- Ushers Road Trail, Clifton Park/Half Moon, Ushers Road State Forest – 1.5-mile loop trail
- Folded Rock Trail, Jackson, Batten Kill and Goose Egg State Forests – 5-mile loop trail
- Carters Pond Wildlife Management Area Accessible Nature Trail, Greenwich – .5-mile loop trail
Recreation during COVID-19
Keep in mind, the DEC is continuing to encourage people to get outside during this pandemic, but the department asks people to engage in responsible recreation. That means hiking locally, practicing physical distancing, and using common sense to protect themselves and others, according to the DEC.
“When choosing a trail, consider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19,” states the DEC. “Stick to local trails, hike in small groups limited to immediate household members, and maintain distance from other groups you encounter in the parking lot, at trail registers, on the trail, and at summits. If you arrive at a trailhead and the parking lot is full, please choose a different place to visit or return another time.”
DEC and State Parks launched a new hashtag – #RecreateLocal – to encourage New Yorkers to get outside and discover open spaces and parks close to home. For more information on DEC’s efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19, visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/119974.html.
Photo at top: Sawyer Mountain, courtesy of Adirondack Experience. Map of Black River Wild Forest courtesy of Adirondack Atlas.