Sunday, August 6, 2017


~Written by Linda M. Heistman, 
Publicity Clerk, Old Forge Visitor Center.

TOBIE Trail Bridge

I was biking over the TOBIE Trail Bridge, when thoughts of historical events carried me away in my mind’s eye to the 1800s.  Transportation in the Old Forge area was very difficult because of few and poor roads. The most convenient means of travel was by steamer ships that ran up the Fulton Chain of Lakes. The best the way for people to get to the area was by train which took them to the steamboat named the Fawn that traveled up the Moose River to the lakes.  In 1896, a railroad spur was built from the existing railroad for a more direct connection to the lakes. The current TOBIE Trail Bridge was built where the train used to cross over the river. In fact, there are many places along this trail to enjoy the beauty of nature and this area’s intriguing history. 

Between the Adirondack Scenic RR and Van Auken's Inne onForge Street is where the trail starts.

The TOBIE Trail starts in Thendara along Route 28, just southwest of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad Station and ends at Inlet’s Arrowhead Park. The neat thing about the trail is that you can do all of it at once, some of it or divide it up into sections.  

The trail is a well-marked, fairly easy trail that begins on pavement adjacent to town roads. But the majority of the 14-mile trail winds through the back country on a multi-use dirt road which functions as a snowmobile trail in the winter. 

TOBIE stands for Thendara, Old Forge, Big Moose, Inlet and Eagle Bay. The idea was to connect existing trails in the local communities into one long hiking/biking trail. The trail connections were completed in 2012 with the help of a multi-year federal grant. 

From the Thendara train station, the trail follows Forge Street and connects back to the side of Route 28.  It follows Route 28 for about a half mile and there is a sign for the TOBIE trail turning right onto Hemlock Lane, then left over the TOBIE trail bridge, where the Moose River never disappoints for a good photo opportunity. 

Moose River
The trail leads down Railroad Avenue and then along the base of Maple Ridge Mountain, where history once again whisked me back to 1939.  

The trail continues past the beginning of a town fitness trail, behind the school softball field and an apartment building, and then through a pretty garden area and out to South Shore Road. After crossing South Shore Road, I enjoyed the ride beside beautiful Old Forge Pond with its grassy shore area lined with benches. There were a few people fishing off the docks and an exercise class was being held in the tennis courts. It was still early in the morning and the beach was empty, but later in the day the beach would be open and free to the public. 

The trail weaves behind the Visitor Information Center where you can get maps for the TOBIE Trail and other bike and hike trails.  I biked through the Old Forge Covered Bridge which has been a permanent fixture since July 1987, crossed Route 28 and then headed down North Street. 

Approximately one mile down North Street the paved road ends and the trail continues the rest of the way on a well-marked dirt road (snowmobile trail #1). About ½ mile further, I turned right and continued to follow the TOBIE trail signs (snowmobile trail #5).  Soon the trail passes pretty little Wheeler Pond and continues on through the woods all the way to trail #8. 
Wheeler Pond
This part of the TOBIE trail runs parallel with the Adirondack Scenic Railroad tracks, so you may hear and see a train rumble by. 

The trail continues and turns right and goes over a steel bridge over the Moose River.

I followed the TOBIE trail signs that brought me to a right turn onto trail #5, and I breathed in the fresh air as I enjoyed the view between Rondaxe and West Lakes.  After a left hand turn, I found myself on another lovely, quiet back country road that used to be part of the Raquette Lake railroad line. 

Steel Brid

Next I came to Carry Lake which is true to its Adirondack character with it's water lilies, marshy areas, and a beaver lodge.  It is bordered by a hill and both and live wind formed trees. The whole atmosphere helped me feel free, rejuvenated and a part of the woods.
Northern outlet of Carry Lake on one side of the trail

It took me by surprise that the leaves were already starting to  change.

Carry Lake wraps around and can be easily mistaken as a totally different lake further down the trail. I pedaled my bike beside an eye-catching creek that is the outlet from the eastern side of Carry Lake. 

Carry Lake

 This is the last stretch of the back country woods, as the TOBIE trail then runs parallel to Route 28 the rest of the way to Eagle Bay. There are enough trees that it gives a sense of being in the woods, except for the sound of traffic on the highway.
Eastern side of Carry Lake by the TOBIE trail 

As I pedaled into Eagle Bay the dirt trail passed by a laundry mat, then in front of Big Moose Yamaha and behind two other buildings before crossing Big Moose Road to the Eagle Bay Information Rest Area where I stopped for a rest and to use the facilities.

 I continued pedaling on a quaint paved path running beside Route 28. The remainder of the trail is very pleasant with some glimpses of Fourth Lake as it follows Route 28 to the Inlet Chamber of Commerce and Arrowhead Park. 

What a great day and very pleasant ride!