Adirondack Directory - Wilderness

Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

As edited by IAATAP from the full DEC management report (click here for full report)

The Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest stretches three counties of Essex, Warren and Hamilton, and seven townships with a total of 91,854 acres and 47 bodies of water.  The highest elevation is 3,878'.  The Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest borders Hoffman Notch Wilderness to the east, Siamese Pond Wilderness to the south, and the Hudson Gorge Primitive Area on the west.  The largest private landowner is Finch, Pruyn & Company, and there are two mines (Barton Mines) and National Lead in Tahawus.   There are several private 'rod and gun' clubs (Northwood Club, Moose Pond Club and Beaver Meadow Club) and two children camps. 

Historically, this region is named after the mountain at its heart.  Some folks believe the mountain was named after an pioneer, or some local surnames of Vanderwacker.   Verplanck Colvin, the early surveyor, noted it down in his surveys as VanDeWhacker.  It is unknown how the 'h' arrived.  Nonetheless, much of this area was named after either their surveyors, guides, authors or the settling families named, like Balfour Lake with Balfour, meaning 'beautiful vale" to a Scot who originally purchased the pond for only $95 in 1835.  *  Roosevelt Hill was named to commemorate Theodore Roosevelt's midnight flight from Tahawus (where he was vacationing at the time) to North Creek following the assassination of President McKinley.  The story says that McKinley died about the same time Roosevelt was passing this hill (September 13, 1901).   Other stories collected:  *  Rist Mountain named for Ernest Rist, Newcomb's Town Supervisor.   *  Hewitt Pond from Sheldon B. Hewitt, a well-known guide living on the shores of the pond.  *  Cheney Pond and Cheney Cobble, for John Cheney, again a local guide living in the Tahawus area.  (Some believe he accidently shot himself at this pond.)  *  Barnes Pond for the Barnes family of which Wesley was a State Assemblyman.  *  Borrough Caves named for John Burroughs, a renowned naturalist and author of Wake-Robbin, who visited the caves in 1863.  *  Moxham Mountain and Pond named after Robert Moxham, who surveyed Dominick's Patten and supposedly fell from the cliffs and died.

 

The original industry of this region was logging dating back to the mid 19th century to today by Finch, Pruyn & Company.  The Hudson River, and the Boreas River served as log runs.   A system of flush dams in ponds served to bring logs to the Hudson and onto Glens Falls for processing.  Some of the journey took two years to complete!  With the logging industry, the tanning industry followed because of the vast hemlock timber (hemlock having the tannic).   Mining took place on private land; but the most well-known mines was the MacIntyre Mines in Tahawus for the production of iron extraction.  The ore had many impurities (one being titanium) which made production too costly at that time.  During the war, the mines were re-opened by the federal government for the needed of valuable titanium.  A railroad was constructed, but now since discontinued.   The present day plans are to renew this rail route for recreational use.  Other small mines like Minerva Iron Company on Green Mountain (known as Orebed Mountain) also operated in the town of Minerva in the 1870's.  Again, production costs and impurities forced closure.   The surviving mind, the mining of garnet has remained productive for the Barton Mines in North River.

 

The topography of this region was best described by Winslow Watson in his 1869 History of Essex County as "Rugged and mountainous" ... "containing about one-third mountain, one-third feasible land and the residue of rough and stony."  Elevations range from 700' at Schroon Lake to Rist Mountain at 3,858', or Cheney Cobble at 3,684 and Vanderwhacker Mountain at 3,386', Washburn Ridge at 3,054', Sand Point Mountain at 2,940', Beaver Mountain at 2,927', Green Mountain at 2,799' and Moxham Mountain at 2,464'.

 

Camping

 

 

 

 

 

 Primitive Tent Sites (used on first-come-first serve basis)

  • Moose Pond Rd - 6 sites

  • Boreas River & 28N - 5 sites

  • Cheney Pond (east shore) - 1 site

  • Cheney Pond (west shore) - 1 site

  • Cheney Pond overlook - 1 site

  • Oliver Pond - 2 sites

  • Boreas River & Blue Ridge Rd - 2 sites

  • 29th Pond - 1 site

  • Vanderwhacker Mtn. trailhead - 1 site

  • Northwoods Club Rd & Boreas River - 6 sites

  • Northwoods Club Rd & Huntley Pond - 1 site

  • elsewhere along Northwoods Club Rd - 3 sites

  • Roosevelt Truck Trail - south end - 1 site

  • Newcomb Lake (near Santanoni) 3 sites

  • 28N and Vanderwhacker Brook - 1 site

  • 14th Road at Deer Brook - 1 site

  • 14th Road at Sunnyview Farm Road - 1

  • Boreas River at Lester Dam - 1 site

 

 Privies

  • Moose Pond Rd - 4

  • Boreas River & 28N - 2

  • Cheney Pond - 2

  • Stony Pond - 1

  • Oliver Pond - 1

  • Muller Pond - 1

  • Newcomb Lake campsites - 3

  • Boreas River & Blue Ridge Road - 1

  • Boreas River & Northwoods Club Road - 3

 

     Buildings

  • Observer Cabin (old) Vanderwhacker Mtn. tower trail

  • Observer Cabin (new) Vanderwhacker Mtn. tower trail

  • Ranger Cabin 28N & Minerva-Newcomb town line

  • Garage (storage) 28N & Minerva-Newcomb town line

          

             

 

 

                 

  Fireplaces

  • Northwoods Club Road campsites - 1

  • Cheney Pond campsite - 1

  • Route 28N & Boreas River campsites - 5

  • Oliver Pond - 4

  • Stony Pond lean-to - 1

Nearby Campgrounds

 

The below table are some local campgrounds available, if primitive camping isn't your style.   Other Regions:  Click here.

 

Ranch Pines Campground Chestertown

Riverside Pine Campsite & Cabins Chestertown

518-494-2280

Minerva Lake Campsite

518-251-2869

Ranch Pines
Chestertown
518-494-3645

Country Haven Campground

Dixon Road

Chestertown

518-494-7391

Rancho Pines Campground & Cottages, Schroon River Road Chestertown

518-494-3645

Whispering Woods Campground

(100 sites)

518-624-5121

Eagle Point State Campground

800-456-CAMP

Lake Harris Campground

Newcomb

Sharp Bridge Public Campground

Route 9

North Hudson

518-532-7538

On The River Campground

Route 74

Severance

518-532-7768

Ideal Campground

Valley Farm Road

Pottersville

518-494-2096

Smoke-Rise Campground

518-494-3155

Wakonda

Pottersville

518-494-2610

Medcalf Acres Campground

River Road

518-532-7261

Schroon Lake Campground

Route 9

518-532-9999

On the River Campgrounds

Route 74

Schroon Lake

518-532-7768

Paradox Lake State Campground

800-456-CAMP

Rainbow Woods Campgrounds

(all male campground)

Route 74

Severance

518-532-9728

Blue Ridge Falls Campsite

Blue Ridge Road

North Hudson

518-532-7863

Paradise Pines Camping Resort (Yogi Bear) Blue Ridge Road North Hudson

518-532-7493

Eagle Point State Campground

State Route 9, Pottersville

800-456-CAMP

World of Life Campground

Route 9, Pottersville

518-494-4723

Hidden Pond Campsite

Brant Lake

518-494-2820

Park Mountain Campgrounds

Johnson Road

Adirondack

518-494-5876

Medcalf Acres Riverfront Campground River Road

518-532-7261

 
Titbits:  DEC regulation requires that groups of ten or more persons camping on state land obtain a permit from a forest ranger. DEC policy prohibits issuing group camping permits to groups wanting to camp on forest preserve lands in the Adirondacks that are classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe area. This policy was developed to protect natural resources, the primeval character of the area and exceptional wilderness experiences for all recreationists, and follows Leave No Trace practices. Except for the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness and the William C. Whitney Wilderness, where the group size is 8, camping groups in wilderness, primitive and canoe area lands are limited to 9 people or less.

 

 

Birding

 

The Adirondacks is rich in bird life, and with 6,172 acres of wetlands in this region, the avian population is abundant.   There are, according to NY Breeding Bird Atlas data, 147 species believed to be breed in the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest region.  In 1997, the Environmental Conservation Law of New York established the NY State Bird Conservation Area Program designed to safeguard the bird population.  In 2001, they designated the Adirondack mountain summits above 2,800 as the Adirondack Subalpine Forest Bird Conservation Area

 

Birds associated with marshes, ponds, lakes, and streams include: common loon, great blue heron, greenbacked heron, American bittern, and a variety of waterfowl. the most common ducks include the mallard, American black duck, wood duck, hooded merganser, and common merganser.  Other species of waterfowl migrate through the region following the Atlantic Flyway.

 

Bogs, beaver meadows, shrub swamps, and any areas of natural disturbance provide important habitat for species that require or prefer openings and early succession habitats.  Species such as alder and olivesided flycatchers, American woodcock, ruffed grouse, Lincoln sparrow, Nashville warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, Canada warbler, golden-winged warbler, mourning warbler, eastern towhee, brown thrasher, yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, indigo bunting, whip-poor-will, and field sparrow rely on these habitats and are rarely found in mature forests

 

The most common species found throughout the deciduous or mixed forest include the ovenbird, red-eyed vireo, black-capped chickadee, blue jay, downy woodpecker, brown creeper, wood thrush, black-throated blue warbler, magnolia warbler, American redstart, white-throated sparrow, pileated woodpecker, and black and white warbler. The golden-crowned kinglet, purple finch, red and white-winged crossbill, gray jay, boreal chickadee, black-throated green warbler, northern parula, and black-backed woodpecker are additional species found in the coniferous forest and exhibit preference for this habitat. Birds of prey common to the area include the barred owl, great horned owl, sharp-shinned hawk, and broad-winged hawk.

 

By the NY State's Unit Management Plan, the following indicated species are under study, we have summarized their findings below.  (Pictures and links provided by Wikipedia.)

 

Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli)

Bicknell's Thrush - Picture credits to WikipediaBicknell's Thrush utilizes fir waves and natural disturbances as well as edges of ski slopes. They breed  in the Adirondacks at elevations greater than 2800 ft.   The species is most common on the highest ridges of the Adirondacks, preferring young or stunted dense stands of balsam fir up to 9 ft. in height.

 

 

Osprey (Pandion haliates)

Osprey - Picture credits to Wikipedia

 

The American Osprey is of special concern. Osprey breed near large bodies of water where there is abundant fish populations. Numerous sightings are within the Adirondack. Osprey construct their nest in tall dead tress, but also use rocky ledges, sand dunes, artificial platforms, and utility pole cross arms for a tall advantage point. The power company has started to built Osprey poles because they often select power poles causing issues when moving their youth from the endangerment of the power lines.

 

 

 

 

Common Loon (Gavia immer)

Common Loon - Picture credits to Wikipedia

Loons have been observed in Wolf Pond, Mink Pond, Cheney Pond, Oliver Pond, Newcomb Lake, Henderson Lake, Trout Pond, Thumb Pond, Hewitt Pond and Boreas Pond.  Loons have mistaken fishing tackle for pebbles they need for 'grit'.  This has lead to lead poisoning when ingested.  NY passed legislation prohibiting the sale of certain lead sinkers (including 'split shot) weighting one-have ounce or less.   Nesting areas located in Newcomb Lake, Wolf Pond and Hewit Pond.

 

 

 

Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus

Both wetlands (forested and riverine wetlands, beaver impoundments, dead tree swamps) and uplands (grasslands with scattered trees, golf courses, pastures, roadsides) are used by nesting Red-headed Woodpeckers (Bull, 1974). Red-headed Woodpeckers also are attracted to old burns and recent clearings. Nests are usually located in snags or dead limbs of live trees, or in the absence of trees, poles, fences, or roofs (Ehrlich, 1988).

 

Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)

Two distinct habitats are used by nesting Common Nighthawks: bare flat rocks or bare ground in open fields and pastures and on flat, gravel rooftops. In upstate New York nighthawks also nest in mountainous areas, provided woods are interspersed with clearings or openings.

 

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)

The American Bittern is a bird of freshwater emergent wetlands where it typically nests on a grass tussock or among the cattails.  Here it lays its eggs from 4 to 18 inches above the water in scanty nests made from sticks, grass, and sedges.

 

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

Golden Eagle - Picture credits to Wikipedia

 

The golden eagle is a species once found in the Adirondacks.  The last successful nest in New York State was recorded in 1970.  Golden Eagles have nested at elevations between 1,500 and 2,600 ft; however, surveys conducted by the New York Habitat Inventory Unit, open habitat suitable for Golden Eagles has decreased.   The Goldens  have been found in the Santanoni Preserve and Newcomb Lake being chosen as a nesting site.

 

 

Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Red Shoulder Hawk - Picture credits to WikipediaRed-shouldered Hawks breed in moist hardwood, forested wetlands, bottomlands and the wooded margins of wetlands, often close to cultivated fields, Red-shouldered hawks are reported as rare in mountainous areas. Special habitat requirements include cool, moist, lowland forests with tall trees for nesting.  Red shouldered hawks forage in areas used as nesting habitat as well as drier woodland clearings and fields.

 

 

 

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Cooper's Hawk - Picture credits to WikipediaCooper’s Hawks use a variety of habitat types, from extensive deciduous or mixed forests to scattered woodlots interspersed with open fields. Floodplain forests and wooded wetlands are also used by Cooper’s Hawks.  Cooper’s hawk construct nests typically at a height of 35 to 45 feet in both conifer (often white pine) and deciduous trees (often American beech).  Nests are commonly constructed on a horizontal branch or in a crotch near the trunk. Cooper’s Hawks have been known to use old crow nests s well.  Foraging areas are usually located away from the nest in forested areas or open areas adjacent to forest.

 

 

 

 

 

Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus)

Whip-poor-wills select open woodlands in lowland deciduous forest,  or pine-oak woods that is imixed with open fields, with a preference for dry oak-hickory woods.  Whip-poor-wills nest on the ground in dry, sparse areas.  Eggs are typically laid in the open or under a small shrub on the leaf litter where they are well concealed.

 

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)

Sharp-shinned Hawks prefer breeding habitats that consist of open or young woodlands that support a large diversity of avian species for their prey . Although Sharp-shinned Hawks use mixed conifer-deciduous forest for nesting, most nests recorded in New York State have been located in conifers, with 80% of the nests found in hemlocks.

 

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) 

A combination of tall trees with a partial canopy closure for nesting and woodlands with small, open areas for foraging are important habitat parameters for the Goshawk.  They prefer dense, mature, continuous coniferous or mixed woods where they typically place their nest 30-40 ft. off the ground in the crotch of a tree.

 

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) 

The Northern Harrier is a bird of open country in associated wet to mesic habitats (Johnsgard,1990).Results of a 1979 survey showed that bogs and other wetland habitats provided nesting sites for Northern Harriers in the Adirondacks (Kogut, 1979 In: Andryle and Carroll 1988). Unlike most New York raptors, harriers nest on the ground, either on hummocks or directly on the ground in nests that are woven from grass and sticks (Andryle and Carroll, 1988).

 

Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis)

Possible breeding grounds in the Ausable Lakes.  The rare Spruce Grouse is a denizen of the boreal acid bog forest where it selects immature or uneven-aged spruce-fir habitat.  Mosses, lichens, and shrub sprovide nesting and foraging ground cover in areas where the forest canopy is less dense. Because their forested wetland habitat is poorly drained, grouse move on to upland summer range to dust and forage.  

 

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

 

Peregrine Falcon - Picture credits to Wikipedia

In 1974 New York initiated a program to reintroduce the Peregrine Falcon in the state. Peregrines were successfully hacked in the Adirondack Park with the release of the first birds in 1981. It is possible that Peregrines are utilizing the mountain cliffs for nesting.  Three basic requirements nesting Peregrine Falcons include open country for hunting, sufficient food resources of avian species, and steep, rocky cliff faces for nesting. The falcons typically nest 50 to 200 feet off the ground near bodies of water. Nesting sites for Peregrines usually include a partially-vegetated ledge large enough for it young to move about. The nest is a well-rounded shape that is sometimes lined with grass, usually sheltered by an overhang. Sometimes Peregrines may nest in old Common Raven nests.  Projects to re-establish the falcon have been successful, but do know that human disturbance of a breeding pair may result in nest abandonment!  "DO NOT DISTURB" please!  Climbers, not it is illegal to climb during their breeding season, and breeders will attack.   To report a falcon signings please contact NYSDEC Region 5, Bureau of Wildlife, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, New York 12977, 518-897-1291.

 

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - projects to re-establish the bald eagles have thus far been unsuccessful in this region; however, the neighboring High Peaks have had some observations of the Bald Eagles.

 

Small-footed Bat (Myotis leibii)

In the Adirondacks small-footed bats overwinter in mines and caves where hibernating populations exceed 500 individuals. Here they roost on exposed ceilings and walls, in cracks and crevices, and under rocks. Summer roosting habitat includes talus slopes, holes in the ground, abandoned swallow nests, and roosts in or near man-made structures.  

 

Caves/Bat Hibernaculum:  Of particular historical and natural history interest is a bat hibernaculum located in Burroughs Cave along the Boreas River.  In the 1860's, John Burroughs wrote “One afternoon we visited a cave, some two miles down the stream, which had recently been discovered. We squeezed and wriggled through a big crack or cleft in the side of the mountain, for about one hundred feet, when we emerged into a large dome-shaped passage, the abode, during certain seasons of the year, of innumerable bats, and at all times of primeval darkness.”   In a 4/27/77 survey, 18 little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) were confirmed by DEC personnel.   On 4/2/81, DEC personnel recorded 107 little brown bats and two northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) in Burroughs Cave.   These figures suggest Burroughs Cave is a relatively small hibernaculum when compared to others in the Adirondack region.  The difference in number of bats counted in each survey can probably be explained by the time of year when the surveys were performed.  The 1977 survey was performed towards the end of April, a time when many of the bats may already have ended their hibernation and left the cave. Management recommendations relating to the hibernaculum include: continue to monitor bat use of the hibernaculum; request that spelunking public avoid entering the cave from September 15 through May 15; refrain from developing trails and/or other facilities near the cave.

Visit our Adirondack Bird Directory when you have time.   

 

 

 

Wild Species of Concern in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

Relatively short summers and the long, cold winters limit the number of species of reptiles and amphibians.  Three species of turtles, five species of snakes, eight species of salamanders, one species of toad, and eight species of frogs are believed to be residents of this region.  Wildlife species listed as endangered, threatened, or species of special concern which may be present in the wild forest, include the osprey, northern harrier, spruce grouse, wood turtle, Jefferson salamander, and blue-spotted salamander.

 

Blue-Spotted Salamander -(Ambystoma laterale)

IC Ambystoma laterale.JPG

The Blue Spotted Salmander habits are much like the Spotted Salamanders described above.  Their skin is bluish-black with bluish-white spots

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)

The wood turtle is found in well oxygenated  good quality streams with sandy-pebbly substrates that are deep enough so that they do not freeze during hibernation Ideal habitat includes dense alder swamp and forested wetland habitat bordering the streams where the turtles can bask and have protection from predators.  Wood turtles forge for fungi and vegetation.  Wood turtles select both slopes and level sandy open areas for nest sites. They are listed as species of interest because of the long maturity rate (15 years) and high hatchling mortality.

 

Jefferson salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) The salamanders require pools that remain deep long enough to complete metamorphosis.  Typical Jefferson salamander breeding pools are ringed with scattered shrub vegetation in upland deciduous forest.  Although vernal pools are a limiting habitat parameter for Jefferson salamanders, adults spend a very short period actually using the pools, remaining there only during the breeding season.  Consequently, the surrounding forested habitat used during the remainder of the year (including during hibernation) is of utmost importance.

 

 

 

 

Fishing

 

 

Much of the fishing activity is concentrated on coldwater lakes, and on Adirondack brook trout ponds.  Trout fishing on lakes and ponds typically peaks in April, May, and June when trout can still be found in the cool water near the surface. Surface fishing activity declines in the summer due to formation of a thermocline which causes fish to move to deeper water. Warm water angling on the unit’s warm water lakes peaks in July-August.  The round whitefish is classified as endangered.  There are 23 bodies of water and many are small and contiguous with other waters.   Little fishery management has been conducted due to their remoteness and small size.  Accessible streams, like Boreas River and Newcomb Lake (446 acres) receive routine stocking of brook trout and rainbow trout.  Visit our Fishing Directory for more information.

 

Rivers

  • Boreas River - A main tributary supporting brown trout, brook trout, curtlips minnows, common shiners, blacknose dace, longnose dace, northern redbelly dace, creek chub, white sucker and slimy sculpin.  Some small mouth bass have been found in portions of the Boreas River as well.  11.5 miles from Cheney Pond to the Hudson River

  • Hudson River - 1 mile from Newcomb to the Cedar River.  Another portion confluences with Griffin Brook, and another Raquette Brook.

  • Vanderwhacker Brook

  • Minerva Stream

 

Ponds/Lakes

  • Stony Pond - assessable through Camp Santanoni

  • Rankin Pond - assessable through Camp Santanoni

  • Wolf Pond - assessable through Camp Santanoni

  • Hewit Pond - assessable through Camp Santanoni

  • Newcomb Lake - assessable through Camp Santanoni

  • Oliver Pond - - hand-carry launch

  • Cheney Pond -primitive sites available,

  • Harris Lake - no state launch facilities, private ones available

  • Balfour Lake - hand carry launch on the east side from Route 28N

Caution:  Below Lester Flow, the river is only runnable by expert boaters at medium-high water and contains class IV and V rapids In “Adirondack Canoe Waters; South and West Flow”,  Alec Proskine describes a section further down the river: “...the world suddenly tips, and your boat starts flying by trees, boulders and water so fast, you think you are in a new world of water. It becomes sheer ecstasy or terror, depending on your ability and the water conditions. [In this section] the river drops with a gradient of 111 feet per mile, making it the steepest canoeable river in the Adirondacks for this distance.”

 

 

 

 

Horse Trails

New York Codes Rules and Regulations (“NYCRR”) §190.8(n) authorizes the use of state owned lands by horses and equestrians.  However, the use of horses on designated foot trails is prohibited unless the trail is also specifically designated as a horse trail. Horse trails in a Wilderness area to: “those that can be developed by conversion of appropriate abandoned roads, snowmobile trails, or state truck trails.”  Currently, there are no 'designated horse trails" in the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest, but the use is available.  The guidelines for Wild Forest allow for the use of ATB’s “on roads legally open to the public and on state truck trails, foot trails, snowmobile trails and horse trails deemed suitable for such use as specified in individual unit management plans. Consult your DEC trail map.  Visit our Adirondack Horseback Directory for other areas.

 

 

 

Roads sometimes used for Equestrian travel:

  • Vanderwhacker Mountain Moose Pond Road

  • Hewitt Pond Hewitt Road

  • Stony Pond Route 28N

  • Boreas River Route 28N

 

 

Biking

 

 

Most trails in the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest are usable by mountain bikes, but some rough areas will make it eventful.  Most users prefer foot or snowmobile, but for the biker's work out, this area might be placed on their agenda.  The guidelines for Wild Forest allow for the use of ATB’s “on roads legally open to the public and on state truck trails, foot trails, snowmobile trails and horse trails deemed suitable for such use as specified in individual unit management plans.  The exception is the that all Terrain Bicycles are restricted from Lake Harris Campground - Santanoni Gatehouse trail; but all other trails are considered open. 

 

 

 

Hiking Trails

 

The backcountry acreage is enormous and the Adirondacks has the largest trail system in the nation with more than 2,000 miles.  Enjoy the glory of hiking the Adirondacks, nature's solitude, unbroken forest, lakes and mountains and take the path less taken.  Focus on your senses.  Visit our Adirondack Hiking Guide The Vanderwhacker fire tower offers spectacular 360o views of the High Peaks; and the summit of Moxham Mountain (known as Maxam) where you can spy on Gore Mountain and Pete Gay Mountain to the south.  The view ranging 180 degrees from the northwest to the southeast are awe-inspiring, we're told. (hint: photographers, please submit your panoramic shots).  Many of the lesser peaks offer rewarding views, and as far as the Green Mountains.  The hiking terrain doubles its usage for the winter snowshoeing.

 

The DEC trail classification system is outlined in the Forest Preserve Policy Manual. This classification system recognizes four trail classifications as outlined below:

 

Class 1:

Trail Distinguishable: Minimal biological or physical impacts, slight loss of vegetation and/or minimal disturbance of organic litter

Class 2:

Some Impacts: Tail obvious, slight loss of vegetation cover and/or organic litter pulverized in primary use areas, muddy spots or tree roots, or water action evident.

Class 3:

Moderate Impacts: Vegetation cover and/or organic littler pulverized within the center of the tread, exposed rocks and trees or small mud holes, but little evidence of widening beyond the maintained width of the trail.

Class 4:

Extensive Impacts: Near complete or total loss of vegetation cover and organic litter, rocks or tree roots exposed and roots damaged, or ruts more than 20cm (7.8 inches) deep, or widening caused by muddy areas or water action consistently.

Class 5:

Very Extensive Impacts: Trail to bedrock or other substrate, or tree roots badly damaged, or some ruts more than 50 cm (19.5 inches) deep or large areas (over 50%) of bank erosion, or mud holes so extensive that the trail is outside of its maintained width.

 

 

Marked Trails:

  NYSDEC Foot Trail Disk

Most trails are marked with color coded disks affixed to trees as shown (see left). Trail guides and maps correspond to these markers. Trail register boxes are generally located near major access points and parking areas. Although most state-maintained trails are marked, hikers are encouraged to consult topographical maps or other guides when planning to venture into the backcountry.  There is a total of 14.4 miles of man-made marked trails.

  • Boreas River Loop Trail - parallels a portion of the river and drops dramatically in a series of rapids above Hewit Eddy.  The woods of this region are known as the Boreas Hardwood"

  • Hewitt Pond Trail  (5.0 miles) - built in the early 19th for fishing access to Hewit and Barnes Pond, and then connects to Stony Pond

  • Tower trail (2.5 miles) - built before 1911 to access Vanderwhacker summit

  • Boreas River Loop Trail (2 miles) - the trail extends from Route 28N to the Moose Pond Club

  • Hoffman Notch Trail/north end (2 miles) - historic route; now only a foot trail

  • Camp Santanoni - Lake Harris Campground Trail  (2 -1.5 miles) - probably originally a herd path between facilities, and continues encourage  for use of single path

  • Rankin Pond Trail (0.4 mile) - originally a herd path for fishing access

  • Roaring Brook trail (0.4 mile) - built to connect ski use of Little Gore back in the early '20's

  • Rabbit Pond and Oak Ridge Trails (0.4 mile) - connect with Roaring Brook to connect for ski use originally

  • Center Pond Trail (0.2 mile) - popular fishing site with many trails leading to it

     Other Trails:

  • Sunnyview Farm Road - the road leaves Fourteenth Rd. just east of where it becomes, according to the current Dutton Mountain USGS quadrangle, a 4WD trail; the road, which appears on the 1901 Newcomb quadrangle, served as access to the privately held Sunnyview Farm until state acquisition in the 1980's. 

  • Oliver Pond fish barrier dam access road - presumably built in 1965 to aid in the construction of the Oliver Pond fish barrier dam.

  • Muller Pond Cemetery access road - part of original road around the south end of Muller Pond that junctions with Hoffman Road at both ends. Several old farm sites are located off of and along this road. Exists on maps from the early 1900's.

  • West end of Thilo Road - a connection between Trout Brook Road and Charley Hill Road.

       Rare Ecological Communities  

  • Inland Calcareous Lake Shore - a narrow band on the shores of Lake Harris of overhanging tree canopy of northern white cedar and balsam fir.

  • Limestone Woodland - small patches of limestone outcrops

  • "Aquatic Cave Community" and "Terrestrial Cave Community" - the Burroughs Caves are examples and have hibernating Myotis Lucifugus (Little Brown Bats) and and Myotis Septentrionalis (Northern Long-Eared Bats)

  • Sparse-flowered sedge (Carex tenuiflora),  Swamp pink (Arethusa bulbosa),  Balsam willow (Salix pyrifolia),  Pink wintergreen (Pyrola asarifolia ssp asarifolia), and tall thistle (Cersium altissimum), are plant species classified as endangered and last seen in the Newcomb area.  

  • Boreas Hardwoods - approximately 500 acres located on the east side of the Boreas River have large diameter mature Northern Hardwood.

      Follow those have gone before:

Titbits: Motorized Equipment in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC has adopted a regulation prohibiting the use of motorized equipment in lands classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe. Public use of small personal electronic or mechanical devices such as cameras, radios or GPS receivers are not affected by this new regulation.

 

 

 

Snowmobile

  • Cheney Pond - Irishtown trail 9.5 - 2 miles serving motor vehicle access to Lester Dam until the '50's, and was part of a road from Irishtown to serve other dams.

  • Vanderwhacker trail (currently closed) 8.0 - was a jeep trail.   Reopening is unknown at this time, but includes 1.0 mile of foot trail.

  • Stony Pond - Irishtown trail 5.8 - originally built  for access to iron mine on Green Mountain.  The middle of the trail is not well maintained and snowmobiles utilize the ponds rather than the trail.

  • Linsey Marsh trail 2.0 - old road with some old foundations along the road.  Some areas off-shutes of the trail are short and dead-ends.

  • Horseshoe Pond trail 0.9 - built by the Conservation Dept to improve snowmobile connections in Schroon Lake

  • Charley Hollow trail 0.85

  • Thilo trail 0.75

  • Thilo trail (northwest branch) 0.35

  • Horseshoe Pond bypass 0.2

  • Adjacent lands in Schroon Lake - see Schroon Lake's Snowmobile Trail Map (click here)

 

 

Hunting

A diversity of wildlife species may be observed near old meadows, beaver flows and other wetlands, lakes, and streams.  The two popular big game species in the area are white-tailed deer and black bear and both can be taking during archery, muzzle loading and regular seasons. 

In addition, there is an early season for black bear that begins in mid-September. Small game species that may be hunted in the unit include: waterfowl, woodcock, crow, ruffed grouse, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, weasel, skunk, varying hare, and gray squirrel. Terrestrial furbearer species that may be trapped include coyote, bobcat, fisher, marten, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, weasel and skunk. Aquatic species that may be trapped include beaver, otter, muskrat and mink.

Trappers are required to have beaver, fisher, otter, marten, coyote and bobcat pelts sealed by a Department representative within 10 days following the close of those seasons or before sale of the pelts, whichever occurs first.

 

 

Facilities 

 

     Fish Barrier Dam

  • Oliver Pond

       Fire Tower

  • Vanderwhacker fire tower - spectacular 360o views of the High Peaks.  Originally built in 1911, and replaced with a steel tower in 1918, was operated until the mid '80's.  The tower is listed as a National Historic Landmark.  In 2001, "Friends of the Vanderwhacker Mountain Fire Tower" group formed and adopted a mission statement "An organization of people dedicated to restoring, preserving, and promoting the stewardship of theVanderwhacker Fire Tower, observer’s cabins, and the public lands adjacent to it.”   The group entered into the Adopt-a-Natural-Resource Stewardship Agreement" with the state to do some rehabilitation to the tower.  This tower is probably the best views of the High Peaks from the south in the Park.

     Road Barriers

  • Roosevelt Truck Trail & Blue Ridge Road

  • Roosevelt Truck Trail & 28N

  • Cheney Pond snowmobile trail (north end)

  • Chaisson Road (Newcomb)

     Bridges

  • Foot Hewitt Pond Foot Trail (4)

  • Foot Muller Pond Outlet

  • Snowmobile Linsey Marsh Trail 

  • Snowmobile Vanderwhacker Trail (3)

  • Vehicle Moose Pond Road 

  • Vehicle Roosevelt Truck Trail 

  • Bog bridge on the northern end of Hewitt Pond foot trail

       Parking Areas

  • Vanderwhacker Mtn. trailhead - 4 vehicles

  • Moose Pond Rd near 28N - 4 vehicles

  • Stony Pond trailhead1 - 3 vehicles

  • Blue Ridge Rd & Boreas River- 2 to 6 vehicles

  • Hewitt Rd (east end) 2 to 5 vehicles

  • Cheney Pond - 1 to 4 vehicles

  • Rankin Pond trailhead - 1 vehicle

  • Roosevelt Truck trail (south end) - 2 vehicles

  • Oliver Pond - 2 vehicles

  • Muller Pond - 4 vehicles

  • Linsey Marsh trailhead1 - 5 vehicles

  • Boreas River Loop trail1 - 2 vehicles

  • 28N & Boreas River - 5 vehicles

    General Road Access

Minerva:

  Moose Pond Road

  Northwood Club Road

  Fourteenth Road

  John Brannon Road

  Hewitt Road

  Cheney Pond Road

 

Schroon Lake:

  Horseshoe Pond road

  Beech Hill Road

  Charley Hill road

  Thilo Road

  Charley Hollow Road

 

Chester:

  Old Schroon Road

  Route 9

 

Johnsburg:

  Barton Mines Road

 

Newcomb:

  Newcomb Lake Road

 

     Riparius Access

  • Hudson River

  • Borea River

  • Harris Lake

  • Balfour Lake

  • Bullet Pond

  • Hewits Pond

  • Bigsby Pond

  • Oliver Pond

    Registers

  • Vanderwhacker Mountain Moose Pond Road

  • Hewitt Pond Hewitt Road

  • Stony Pond Route 28N

  • Boreas River Route 28N

     Historic Sites

  • 19th Century Cemetery west of Muller Pond, Schroon lake

  • Old farm clearings, stone and barbed wire fences, foundations, old hunting camps and trails exist on Fourteenth Road near Cheney Pond, Balfour Lake and along Charley Hollow Road

  • 19th Century industrial site owned by Minerva Iron Company

 

 

 

References

 

Adirondack Mountain Club

 

Lake George

518-668-4447

Forest Fire - Search and Rescue     518-891-0235 or 911
State Land Regulation/Backcountry Law Enforcement     518-897-1300
Environmental Law Enforcement     518-897-1326
Poacher & Polluter Reporting online     1-800-TIPP DEC
State Lands Interactive Map (SLIM)      

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 *  DISCLOSURE:  "In and Around the Adirondack Park" is not affiliated with any of the above information, businesses, organizations or events, nor can we  vouch for the quality,  and is NOT responsible for the actions  of the above parties.  This is brought as a public service message only.   We publish your works (professional or amateur free).  Before going out in the Wilderness, please study your route and learn how to be prepared!