Thursday, May 7, 2020

Lesser known hikes in the Southern Adirondacks

Sawyer Mountain, Indian LakeEarlier 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:

  • black river wild forestTwin 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

Photo at top: Sawyer Mountain, courtesy of Adirondack Experience. Map of Black River Wild Forest courtesy of Adirondack Atlas. 

Stay informed about news and information about the Adirondacks by signing up for the Almanack’s daily news digest:


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Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at [email protected]

10 Responses

  1. Craig Catalano says:

    Bad idea to post this now with things the way they are. When the Governor opens up the Adirondack first. There will be no place for native folks to go.

  2. Nehasane says:

    Wolf Pond is 2.6 miles one-way

  3. Phillip A. Bobrowski says:

    I know you can’t list them all, but one of our favorites is located along Old Piseco Road: Panther Mountain.
    The best part of this trail is Echo Cliff, with its wonderful view of Piseco Lake below. While this “walk” is not long, the last 100 feet is a challenge, as you have to scramble up a narrow and steep crack between the boulders in order to reach “the view”.

    • AdkAck81 says:

      shhhhh…. Keep this one a secret… 🙂

    • JohnL says:

      Funny you brought that up Phillip. I was born and raised in CNY and Panther Mountain is the ABSOLUTE 1st mountain I ever climbed. My wife and I (she was a girlfriend then) climbed it in the late 70’s and from my fading memories, I too recall it had some great views. Later in life I went on to become a 46’r so Panther, although technically not my 1st High Peak, was definitely the climb that planted the seed. Thanks for jogging my memory.

  4. ackroyd michaei says:

    Do you know of a publication listing southern adk hikes.thanks

  5. Bill Ingersoll Bill Ingersoll says:

    The Twin Lakes trail is impassable about 2/3 of the way to the old reservoir, due to beaver flooding. Bushwhacking around the site is possible, but it’s not something I’d recommend to a bunch of novices who are simply looking for an excuse to leave their home.

    It’s also worth mentioning that biting insects have already been hatching. The current bout of cool weather with dampen their appetites… but only until the nice sunshine returns.

  6. I’m pretty sure Wolf Pond trail is 2.6 miles one way, not round trip.

  7. michael steven ackroyd says:

    thanks we have also heard 12 hike series thanks again

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