Sunday, May 17, 2020




 
Article written by Linda Grace,
Publicity Clerk
Old Forge Information Center




With nice days few and far between, it is no wonder people get so excited when the sun comes out. But there are safeguards that must be observed even when outdoors with the COVID-19 virus still lurking.  For guidance on precautions, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov .

Residents of this area don’t have to travel far to enjoy the more remote hikes in the area. But finding hikes that the whole family can enjoy may still be a challenge. Especially since a lot of people are working from home while also monitoring their children’s schoolwork, there may not be much time to look up family friendly hikes as well. So, hopefully, this blog will be helpful!

All mileages are estimated. Trail mileages refer to a full round trip total, unless otherwise noted. As there are inherent risks in all outdoor adventures, all hiking, biking and paddling trips are done at your own risk. Hikers should always wear shoes or boots with good ankle support and traction. All trekkers should carry maps, water, and basic first-aid supplies. Trail descriptions are as accurate as possible but we are not responsible for misinformation, excluded information, trail conditions, and the like.

Remember to practice social distancing: If the trailhead parking lot at one of these hikes is full, please go to a different one.


 
Moss Lake is a moderately easy 2.5 mile hike. Moss Lake is an iconic Adirondack lake trail.  It is a popular destination to hike, bike, run, x-country ski and snowshoe.  The motor-less lake is small enough that it can easily be paddled and explored in a day, and also offers many quiet and picturesque paddling spots. The hiking trail can be muddy in spots following rainy periods and travels some mild up and down terrain.

To get to Moss Lake take the Big Moose Road in Eagle Bay, drive about three miles and the trailhead parking is on the left.

After signing in at the register, the trail heading straight ahead will take you to a small beach area on the lake.  But the main trail can be followed either to the right or left of the register.  Starting to the right of the register (heading north and counterclockwise around the lake), the trail will pass the handicap parking area (on the right) at about 0.2 mile. Soon after that is the side trail on the left to the handicap-accessible fishing dock. Back on the main trail it has a gradual, easy uphill for a while and passes some campsites and outhouses between the trail and the lake.   This hike is good for kids because it is easy hiking and there are many things to see along the way. You will know that you are about halfway around the lake when the trail goes over a very scenic bridge.
 

   
 
Lock and Dam - Easy 2 miles. This is an easy, family-friendly trail. From the trailhead, the trail heads immediately into the woods and is very flat until about 0.4 miles, where there is a short, fairly easy hill. At about 0.9 miles there is another trail that turns off to the left and follows a snowmobile trail up a hill known as Humphrey Hill.  Keep going straight on the main trail. The very last part of the trail becomes more like a gully as the trail slopes down to an open grassy area at the top of the picture perfect falls. A short side trail to the left (south) of the dam leads to the bottom of the lock and dam. The lock and dam was originally built in 1888, in order to improve the very rough transportation conditions of the time. A train would carry passengers coming from the McKeever area (what was called the Moose River Settlement) to “Jones Camp” which used to be located near the lock and dam. The passengers would then board a steamboat named "The Fawn” and continue up the river to the Fulton Chain of lakes. 
For more information on this hike visit our website and blog: http://adirondackbasecamp.blogspot.com/      
To get there:  From NYS Route 28 in Thendara, turn onto Beech Street which is just north of the “New York Central” railroad bridge. Beech Street curves to the left after 2 blocks and becomes Green Bridge Road and then curves to the right and passes over the Moose River. Immediately after crossing the bridge, there is a small parking area to the right. This is the parking area for the trail.
 

 
 
 





Bubb and Sis Lakes - Easy 2.6 miles. It is widely believed that these lakes were named after Otis Arnold’s Children, Bubb (Otis, Jr.) who frequently fished this lake and Sis, Bubb’s sister. For more history on this area visit this link: http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2013/07/short-history-of-big-moose-landing-and-the-carry-trail.html. From the Old Forge Visitor Information Center, travel 7.6 miles northeast on NYS Route 28 to the trailhead and parking area located on the left side of the highway. There is a short incline right at the beginning of the hike. The trail can get very wet and muddy during rainy periods. But it is a nice hike to two beautiful lakes.
    



 










Cathedral Pines - Very short, easy hike measuring a 0.1 mile loop. This trail offers a combination of respect for nature and patriotic pride featuring huge pine trees and a memorial to a local forest ranger, Malcolm Blue, who was killed in WWII.  Traveling northeast on NYS Route 28 approximately three miles from the hamlet of Inlet, the trailhead is located on the left of the highway, but parking for this trail is located on the right.  To access the trail, carefully cross the highway.
 
Maple Ridge trails - This is a short, moderate climb up the historical area of Old Forge's original downhill ski area.  It starts up the old toboggan run; turn right at intersection 3 to see the old ski lift and some good views of Old Forge. To do the loop (2 miles total), continue toward the water tower and follow the wide dirt path down to an old ski hut at the base of the hill, then turn right on the TOBIE trail to get back to the parking area. This trail is part of the McCauley multi-use trail which can be explored by hiking, biking, x-country skiing, or snowshoeing.  There are options to make the original hike into a longer adventure. One option would be to continue upwards to McCauley Mountain and then ascend another mile to McCauley’s summit.  This longer, more strenuous hike will reward you with a wonderful view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes and the mountains beyond.  We strongly encourage bringing a map if doing the McCauley trails, as it can be a confusing trail system. Click on the link below to print out a map of this area. Maple Ridge trailhead is located on Park Avenue on the TOBIE trail just behind the Town of Webb School. For more about this trail and the wonderful history of the hill you can visit these links:  http://www.nelsap.org/ny/mapleridge.html  and http://adirondackbasecamp.blogspot.com/2016/11/mccauley-mountain-maple-ridge-multi-use.html.
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
McCauley Mountain can also be climbed for a very family  friendly hike. It is a little of a challenge, but compared to other local mountains, it is not a hard climb.  No need to worry about a trail, just follow the dirt road that leads all the way to the summit. You won’t have to deal with mud, boulders and climbing over fallen trees. Care should still be taken, as the small rocks on this road can be slippery.
To enjoy this hike to McCauley Mountain, at the base of the mountain right near the chair lift is a dirt road that leads all the way up the mountain.
 


 
 

 
Carry Lake and Fly Pond - A fairly easy 3 mile hike. With very little effort, this trail offers Adirondack beauty, wildlife, birding opportunities and history. It is a mile hike to Carry Lake which because of the way the lake wraps around it could be easily mistaken as being two different lakes progressing down the trail.  Just a short 0.01 mile further to the trailhead to Fly Pond which is a mile round trip.

To get to this trail: starting at the Visitor's Information Center parking lot in Old Forge, turn ring and drive north/east on Route 28 for almost 5.5 miles. Almost immediately after Daiker's Road on the right, turn LEFT onto the dirt road. (If you get to Daiker's Brookside Lodging, also on the right, you've gone a little too far). Park on the side of the dirt road and walk on the dirt road/trail south heading back towards Old Forge.  
 For a history of the railroad that once passed by these lakes and now is part of the TOBIE trail, click on this link:


 

 
 


 


   










Wheeler Pond Loop - Easy, family friendly, nice bike ride/ hike with
 pretty pond view. This is a multi-use trail that is used for snowmobiling in winter. The other three seasons, these motor-less dirt roads are mostly used as mountain bike trails, but can also be used for hiking or running.
 From the Information Center's parking lot, turn right unto Route 28, then it is the second left unto North Street. Follow North Street all the way to the bridge. Park in the parking area before the bridge.
 
 It is a two mile round trip from the parking area at the North Street Bridge to Wheeler Pond.  Ride your bike or hike on the multi-purpose dirt road (snowmobile trail #1) for a half mile to the TOBIE trail sign; turn right and follow this dirt road to Wheeler Pond (another half mile).  There is a small beach area where you can listen to and look for birds and other wildlife while enjoying a view of the pond. After you enjoy your pond visit, simply turn back the same way that you came. Or you can turn this into a longer hike by continuing down the TOBIE trail and following the sign to the right leading around Wheeler Pond, and then back out to trail #1.

http://www.oldforgeny.com/documents/MountainBikeRoutesonWebbRecreationalTrailSystem.pdf

 
 

      Webb Trail #6 to Elise Lookout - Moderate 5 miles. To find this trail: from Route 28 by the Thendara railroad over pass, turn unto Herreshoff  Road, follow to the gate. There are no motorized vehicles past this point. There is some parking available here. Hike or bike around the gate and head up snowmobile trail #6, which is a dirt road. Follow this for about 0.6 of a mile and then take a left onto snowmobile trail #7 and start your upward ascent. The gravel road narrows some into a trail through wet grass. At about the 1.8 mile point take the first right hand unmarked trail, you will find the sign for Elsie lookout a little farther after turning unto this trail. Once you see the sign keep following this trail another 0.2 miles to the lookout. Despite the wetness and muddiness, it truly is a great way to start one's morning.  
  
 



 

  



 
 
 

















Cascade Lake and Falls - A moderate 5-6 mile walk if you do the loop and the falls. This is a beautiful and pleasant trail which starts out flat, but has some ascending and descending on the south side of the lake. It is often extremely muddy and wet on the north/east side of the lake.  
From Route 28 in Eagle Bay, turn onto Big Moose Road. Follow this for 1.8 miles to the parking lot on the right.








 
 
 
 




 


 

 

 
 
 

 
 

 
 


 
 

 
 
 



Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Hiking Bald Mountain in the Winter
 
Written by Linda Grace
Publicity Clerk,
Old Forge Visitor Information Center
 
 
Walking the "Dinosaur Spine" to the Fire Tower. Picture by Carol Perkins.
 


Bald Mountain is a moderate mountain to climb with a few nice lookouts on the way up. Before sunrise one winter morning, my hiking buddy and I sat in our cars in the trailhead parking area with our doors open and facing each other as we stretched crampons over our winter hiking boots. In the winter when hiking up a hill or mountain, it is a good idea to always carry crampons even if you think you don’t need them.  Soon our backpacks were on and we were chugging through the 5 to 6 inches of fluffy snow. If the snow had been any deeper, we would have worn snowshoes to avoid post holing.  Post holing is when you step into deeper snow without snowshoes and sink in to create a hole. Such holes make a trail that is ineffective and dangerous to walk on.


Picture by Carol Perkins.
The morning was warmer than the past few days, probably in the low to mid 20’s as compared to the teens in the days before. We are dressed in layers. I believe a warm wool hat and the base layer is one of the most important parts of my winter attire. The best clothing for winter activities are wool or synthetic materials. Whenever you are doing outdoor hiking, whether summer or winter, cotton is not a good choice because it holds in moisture. I suggest you get additional advice on winter hiking through the many online sources that have more winter experience with hiking than I do.

The beginning of the trail is a pleasant walk through the woods. This ends quickly when you come to the first and the steepest part of the trail. We skirt the boulder and find better traction on the side, but not leaving the trail. Coming back down these tricky areas is a little harder!
Picture by Carol Perkins.

Turning to talk to each other about our trail navigation, we sometimes forgot that we had headlamps on, and we often ended up blinding each other.  We were thankful for our trekking poles which kept us from tripping on the uneven snow covering the trail. Our poles also assisted us as we pulled ourselves up the hill and they gave us extra support on the way down. The trail markers are sparse, and we were breaking trail on the new snow and there is only so much light a headlamp can give. We both know the trail well as we have hiked it many times, but in the limited light it is good that we have each other to help with navigating.

New Year's Eve picture by Wende Swick.
After this section of the climb the ascent isn’t as noticeable, and we took time to notice the beauty of the winter and woods around us. Soon we came to the second hardest part of the trail up a boulder. Again, we looked to stay on the trail, but tried to skirt the rock in case it was too icy. Cracks in rocks or tree roots can help provide good footing and “steps” up. Trees and trekking poles can help give stability and a pull up. After getting past this part, one can congratulate oneself for making it through the hardest climbing part of the trail. But don’t relax too much, because there are some technical areas yet to come!

When you get to the top of the mountain, just before you get to the fire tower, the trail becomes very narrow along the top of a rock. This part of the trail makes me feel like I am hiking on a dinosaur’s spine. In the summer it takes slight balancing skills; in the winter it can be a little scarier, as there may be ice underneath the snow. That is why it is very important to wear crampons. This is where snow may be deeper as well because it is open while most of the trail has tree coverage. It can also be much colder on top and very windy as well. If you decide to go up into the fire tower the steps can be very icy. So if you decide to hike Bald Mountain in the winter, please be careful and watch your step.

Picture by Ray Finney.

So, now people may be wondering why I would want to climb Bald Mountain in the winter. Well, I hope some of the pictures included here can start to answer that question.
View from the top, picture by Carol Perkins.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Five Hikes That Are Worth A Re-Visit

Nick's Lake      Picture by Linda Grace
 
There are so many wonderful hikes to explore in the Old Forge and surrounding area. But if you are like me, you may have hiked a lot of them and are wondering what trails to venture out to next.  Well here are five of the many hikes that are well worth a revisit!

1.      Death Falls (Secret Falls)

From Old Forge, it is about a thirty minute drive and then a short walk to Death Falls (also known as Secret Falls). It is a really nice waterfall, despite the name. You can find the trailhead by driving from the Old Forge Visitor’s Information Center, heading north on NYS Route 28 for about 35 miles. You will pass Raquette Lake and the pull off for this trailhead is on the right. If you get to the NYSDEC Golden Beach Campground, you will need to turn around and go back about 0.3 miles. There is no sign to mark this trail, but there is a metal gate that may be difficult to spot from the road. It is a very easy short hike (0.6 miles round trip) and good for the whole family as a little leg stretcher.
Death Falls       Picture by Linda Grace
 

      2. Wheeler Pond

Are you looking to take a mostly flat and very easy family hike? The trail to Wheeler Pond offers a view of a pretty little pond that is quiet and in the woods, but not too far away. It is a two mile round trip from the parking area at the North Street Bridge to Wheeler Pond.  Ride your bike or hike on the multi-purpose dirt road (snowmobile trail #1) for a half mile to the TOBIE trail sign; turn right and follow this dirt road to Wheeler Pond (another half mile).  There is a small beach area there where you can listen to and look for birds and other wildlife while taking in a view of the pond. After your enjoy your visit, simply turn back the same way that you came. Or, you can turn this into a longer hike by continuing down the TOBIE trail and following the sign to the right leading around Wheeler Pond, and then back out to trail #1 (Just note that going this way does not afford any views of the pond).

Wheeler Pond   picture by Linda Grace


3.      Lock and Dam

 

Easy 2 miles. This is an easy, family-friendly trail. From the trailhead, the trail takes you immediately into the woods and is very flat until about 0.4 miles, where there is a short, fairly easy hill. At about 0.9 miles there is another trail that turns off to the left and follows a snowmobile trail up a rise known as Humphrey Hill. Keep going straight on the main trail. The very last part of the trail becomes somewhat like a gully as the trail slopes down to an open grassy area at the top of the picture-perfect falls. A very short side trail to the left (south) of the dam leads to the bottom of the lock and dam. The lock and dam was originally built in 1888, in order to improve the very rough transportation conditions of the time. A train would carry passengers coming from the McKeever area (what was then called the Moose River Settlement) to “Jones Camp” which used to be located near the lock and dam. The passengers would then board a steamboat named "The Fawn” and continue up the river to the Fulton Chain of Lakes. 

For more information on this hike visit our website and blog: http://adirondackbasecamp.blogspot.com/

To get there:  From NYS Route 28 in Thendara, turn onto Beech Street which is just north of the “New York Central” railroad bridge. Beech Street curves to the left after 2 blocks and becomes Green Bridge Road and then curves to the right and passes over the Moose River. Immediately after crossing the bridge, there is a small parking area to the right. This is the parking area for the trail.
Aerial view of Lock and Dam by Kurt Gardner
 
 

4.      Nicks Lake from Bisby Road

If you want a nice quiet woodsy hike that will take you to a beautiful motorless lake, this trail is for you! There are a few ways you could do this hike. If you just want to get to a quiet place by the lake, you could hike the well-groomed trail about a mile to a sign; turn left here. Walk about another 0.2 mile to a trail off to the right; turn here. Now you only have a short walk to get to the lake.

If you want a longer hike, there is a 6.2 mile loop that goes all the way around Nick’s Lake. Start at the trailhead and continue straight past the sign mentioned above and follow the trail. Be aware that this trail can get very muddy and wet in spots. Please note that you will not see the lake until about a mile before reaching the other side of the beach area of the lake.

From the Visitor's Information Center in Old Forge, take a left turn onto Lakeview Road just past Slickers Restaurant. Follow Lakeview Road to the stop sign and turn right onto Park Ave. Follow Park Ave to the stop sign and make a left onto Joy Tract Road. You will follow this somewhat curvy road up a hill. As you come to a distinct right hand curve, you will see Bisby Road on the left; turn here. The parking area for the Nick's Lake trailhead is just a little way up Bisby Road, on the right side. There is a sign at the trailhead.

Nick's Lake Beach   Picture by Linda Grace
  


 

5.      Middle Settlement

This is about an 8-mile moderate round trip hike. It takes you through a fairytale-like wilderness with some ups and downs, and some muddy spots. This longer hike is well worth it with the serene lakeside lean-to at the end. Pack a lunch and plan it so you will have time to sit and enjoy the scene.

Heading south from Old Forge Visitor’s Information Center on NYS Route 28 about five miles is a C-shaped parking area on the left side of the highway. Park there and carefully cross Route 28 to get on the trailhead leading to Middle Settlement Trail. Be aware that there are other hiking trails in this area. So, make sure to carry a trail map.
 
Middle Settlement Lake   Picture by Wende Swick
 
 
We welcome you to share your experiences and pictures with us on our Facebook page. Search: Old Forge Visitors Information Center.
 

Friday, January 4, 2019

Best things to do when options seem few


Best things to do when options seem few
Article written by Linda Grace
Publicity Clerk, Old Forge Visitor Information Center
 
 
 
Well, winter is here! You are ready. You may have your ski pass and your parka ready, or have your cross country skis waxed or snowshoes and poles all set to go. If you're a snowmobile enthusiast, your machine is probably full of gas, you have a place to stay in the Town of Webb, you and your crew have been planning this getaway for weeks; you have your NYS registration and your snowmobile has a nice new pink permit in place. One problem, though: the winter weather is not cooperating with your plans!! Now what do you do?
Take heart! There are other things to do on bad weather days. Here are a few ideas:
The Strand Theater is a great place to see current movies at exceptionally low prices. It also is stocked full of film history memorabilia that makes it a two-for-one activity.  The art-deco Strand is located in Old Forge across from Point Park and the Old Forge Hardware Store.  Quite often on school holidays, they will play matinees in the afternoon. You may find out what is showing by visiting their website: http://strandoldforge.com.

 

 
Don’t be fooled by the small size of Goodsell Museum in the center of town. This notable red house contains all you'll want to know about the Town of Webb’s history with eye-catching exhibitions and kind, helpful staff to answer questions and show you around. Right now you can experience what it feels like to be inside of a fire tower cab without needing to climb a mountain. You'll find it is well worth your time to stop in to visit this local treasure. Goodsell Museum is located at 2993 State Route 28, across Main Street from the post office. The hours are Tuesday through Saturday 9 AM- 3 PM. You may visit their website at: http://webbhistory.org.              
Shopping in Old Forge may seem sparse in the winter, but the stores that are open provide for a nice variety of shopping experiences. Many offer not only useful items, but also unique treasures.  Nearly all are walking distance from the free parking offered at Point Park in the center of Old Forge.  Take a leisurely stroll along the main street and stop for a bite to eat at one of the restaurants along the way. You can find the list of all our area businesses and their contact numbers on our website: http://www.oldforgeny.com.
There are workshops, classes and exhibitions available in Old Forge. View Arts Center is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Enjoy the variety of art work on display or visit their website for workshops and events. From the Information Center in Old Forge, View is on the left about a half mile north on Route 28. See their website at: https://www.viewarts.org.


You could also have some fun making simple jewelry at The Beadbox at 2946 Spring Street on the corner of Route 28 between Kinney Drug and DiOrio’s Supermarket.  They are open Thursday 2-7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Kids love to join in the fun, too. You can find information about this shop on Facebook or you may call for information at 607-279-9925.  In the same shopping complex, consider weaving an Adirondack basket at Adirondack Green House Basketry.  Open hours are Thursday 2-7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Here is their website: http://www.adirondackgreenhousebasketry.com.              
The Old Forge Library usually has a small free art exhibition on display and it offers many events and workshops. It also has free wi-fi that's accessible even in the parking lot. If you didn't bring your laptop or tablet, there are several public-use computers inside. There are also magazines, newspapers, a children’s reading room, CDs and DVDs that can be rented, and, of course, lots of books! The library is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.  To see what this amazing library has to offer, you may visit their website: https://www.oldforgelibrary.org . It is located on Crosby Blvd. about a half a block from the Old Forge "busy corner."
Come meet our stars!! There is nothing like a winter sky at night!! There are many open spaces that you can go to be wowed by the constellations and falling stars. Here are several of those places:                
·         The park at the Hiltebrant Recreation Center is located about one half mile down North Street (which is also Snowmobile trail # 1). From the Information Center, take Route 28 north for a few hundred yards, then turn left (by Subway on the corner) onto North Street.
·         A little further down North Street is a parking area just before the North Street Bridge that spans the Moose River.  Park there and stand on the bridge to watch the blinking stars and listen to the mystical Moose River winding through the wild.
·         Here's another view from a bridge. If you have ever stood on the Green Bridge, you may have been awed by the view of the Moose River. For safety's sake, be sure to wear reflective clothing when standing on this bridge at night to take in the grand display of stars. From the Information Center, head South on Route 28, turn left on Forge Street (beside the Steak House) and then turn left onto Birch Street which curves around and becomes Green Bridge Road. Just after you cross the bridge, there is a parking area on the right. You may park there and walk back to look at the view from the bridge.
·         Another great spot for stargazing is over Fourth Lake from the Alger Island Boat Launch Access Area. From the Information Center, turn left on Lakeview Road (next to the yellow restaurant, Slicker’s). After the stop sign, follow the curve going left onto South Shore Road. Drive about 6.5 miles and turn left unto Petrie Road. Drive another mile to the Access area.
·         How about a short climb? You can head up Maple Ridge Hill for a nice overlook of the town and a grand display of the stars. From the Information Center in Old Forge, turn left onto Lakeview Road (next to the yellow restaurant, Slicker’s). At the stop sign, turn right onto Park Avenue.  Drive about one half mile and you will see a parking lot on the left (across the street from the Town of Webb School).  You may park in that lot and take the trail straight up the hill to get to the outlook area.

So, there's never a need to feel disappointed on a not-so-perfect winter day! Try some or all of the suggestions above and you may find that you're happy your plans changed!