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 .

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:      
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: 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:  and
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.


      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.