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:

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.