Adirondack Directory - Wilderness

Blue Mountain Wild Forest

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



The Blue Mountain Wild Forest is in Essex County, in the Towns of Indian Lake, Long Lake, and Minerva covers 37,800 acres with thirty-two bodies of waters and the evaluations ranging from 1,542' at Chain Lakes and 3,759' at Blue Mountain Summit where the fire tower is placed.  The terrain varies from gentle to rugged.   Because of the rugged terrain, harsh winters and short growing seasons, early settlers were dependent upon local resources for food and income.    Log driving had its origins in the Adirondacks, and drives traveled down the Rock River to Rock Lake, then confluence with Cedar River and then into the Hudson.  This 12-mile segment was known as the Ordway's Rock River Drive. 

The Blue Mountain Wild Forest adjoins two wild forest (Jessup River Wild Forest and Sargent Ponds Wild Forest), three wilderness areas (Siamese Pond Wilderness, Blue Ridge Wilderness, and the High Peaks Wilderness) and one primitive area (Hudson Gorge Primitive).

Titbits:  The Indian named this mountain "To-War-Loon-Da" meaning "Hill of Storms".  It was later named "Mount Clinch" in honor of Charles Clinch, a State Assemblyman.  Blue Mtn. Lake was popular between 1878 and 1900 as one of the most fashionable resorts in the area.  The Adirondack Stage Company stage line from North Creek to Blue Mountain Lake and advertised as:   "Exceeded by none on the American continent for the boldness and magnificence of its mountain views, the domes of Marcy, Skylight, Haystack, McIntyre, and many others nearly their equals, rising in plain view at several points on the stage road."  *  Mt. Emmonds was named in honor of Professor Ebenezer Emmonds, an eminent geologist who explored the Adirondacks.  *   Tirrell Pond was named after Pat Tirrell, Father Olivetti's foreman.  Father Olivetti was the pastor of the nearby settlement of sixteen log homes and a church.  The lake was a favorite stopping place for sportsman at the Henry LaPrairie's Inn.  The Inn was built on state land illegally, and was later burned down.  *  Rock Lake was previously named Lake Maria; and Rock River had been called Canonquet River and used by the Indians traveling.  *  The CCC constructed a dam at 34th Flow for water storage and recreational purposes.  The widow of William West Durant (railroad magate), later christened the flow as Lake Durant.  *  Major files impacted the Blue Mtn. Wild Forest in 1903 and 1908; and serious blow-downs in 1950.  * In 1923, the Northville-Lake Placid trail was completed and it crosses into the Blue Mtn. Wild Forest.

Verplank Colvin's description:

The view northward was beautiful, the cluster of high peaks surrounding Mt. Marcy, sharp in outline, were whitened, as with snow, and between us and them was stretched a dark billowy sea of lesser mountains, among which we detected familiar mountain landmarks, from here appearing changed and new. At the east our more southern stations were visible -- Van de Whacker Mountain and the Chain Lakes -- and southward, through a long lane cut in the timber, Snowy Mountain, our discovery of last season, was seen, and the level here showed, as we had previously proved, that it as indeed higher than Mt. Emmons."





Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water except at camping areas designated by the DEC".  For full details of camping regulations in our wilderness (click here).  The reg's are suggested reading before going out into the wilderness.  Please practice "leave no trace".


      Primitive Tent Sites - (36 sites)

  • Bullhead Pond, 3 non-designated

  • First Lake, 2 non-designated

  • Indian River, 5 non-designated

  • Lake Durant, 3 non-designated

  • Lake Durant, 2 designated [Old Route 30] - car top launching available

  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail; Salmon River, 1 non-designated

  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail; Sandy Creek, 1 non-designated

  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail; Shaw Brook, 1 non-designated

  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail; Tracy Shanty Clearing, 1 non-designated

  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail; Old Stage Road, 1 non-designated

  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail; North of Route 28/30, 1 non-designated

  • Pine Lake, 2 non-designated

  • Rock Lake, 5 non-designated

  • Rock River, 1 non-designated

  • Tirrell Pond, 6 non-designated with fireplace and lean-u, and two privies

  • Unknown Pond, 1 non-designated

    Other Facilities

  • Leantu - 1 at O'Neil Flow (south end of Tirrell Pond); 1 at Tirrel Pond (north end)
  • Privies - 2 Ball Diamond, 1 at Lake Durant, 2 at Tirrell Pond
  • Fireplaces - O'Neil Leanto, Tirrell Pond Leantu, and Benson Road/Cedar River area

Rare Plants!! Please respect the Clinton's Clubrush (Scirpus clintonii) that last observed in 1952, as potentially within the area.    IAATAP maintains a full directory of Camping.  To explore nearby camping areas, Click here.

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.





The Adirondacks is rich in bird life.  Visit our Adirondack Bird Directory when you have time.  Birds associated with marshes, ponds, lakes, and streams are numerous including the common loon, pied billed grebe, great blue heron, green-backed 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. Birds of prey common to the area include the barred owl, great horned owl, eastern screech-owl, northern goshawk, red-tailed hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, and broad-winged hawk.  A variety of song birds such as woodpeckers, flycatchers, wrens, thrushes, vireos, warblers, blackbirds, finches, grosbeaks, and sparrows can be found among the various habitats present in the area.  The NYS Breeding Bird Atlas have identified 83 species as confirmed breeders in this area.  By the NY State's Unit Management Plan, the following species are under study, we have summarized their findings.  Pictures and links provided by Wikipedia.  The endangered birds in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest area:


Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)


Bald Eagle - Picture credits to Wikipedia

The bald eagle is currently listed as a threatened species by the federal government and New York. Buckhorn Mountain is believed to have been a center of eagle activity prior to 1970, although no nest sites had been confirmed.  Bald eagles are sensitive to human disturbance; so if you are fortunate to see one, please "Do Not Disturb".  Efforts to reestablish the bald eagle through "hacking" program began in 1981 and 1983.




Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)


Red Shoulder Hawk - Picture credits to Wikipedia

The Red-shouldered Hawk is listed as species of special concern and believed to exist in the Siamese Pond Wilderness.  Red-shouldered hawks breed in moist hardwood, forested wetlands, bottomlands and the wooded margins of wetlands, and sometimes close to cultivated fields.  They like cool, moist, lowland forests with tall trees for nesting.



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.  Breeding was observed on the Blue Mtn. Lake and South Pond.




Common Loon (Gavia immer)


Common Loon - Picture credits to WikipediaThe Common Loon is a species of special concern and are located through out the Adirondacks  They use small and large freshwater lakes in open and densely forested areas for breeding and nest on lakes (mostly less habited lakes). The Loons will use little shallow coves for nesting which are constructed on the ground at the water’s edge on sand or rock, wherever to avoided predators.  Small islands are their favorite or small peninsular.  They have a beautiful call - click:  Common Loon - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.   Sand Pond has been designated as important habitat for the Loon.  Please do not disturb.  "Special Concern" observed on Rock Lake, Tirrell Pond and Third Lake.




"Special Concern" - generally confined to remote area and favor cliffs and crags for nesting.  They been seen nesting at the Blue Ledge.


Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)


Indiana Bat - Picture credits to Wikipedia

The Indiana Bat is an endangered species and may reside in the Siamese Wilderness but not confirmed. The DEC is searching existing caves throughout NY and three caves along the borders of the Adirondacks have found indicating of wintering Indiana bats.  During spring, Indiana bats disperse from their winter hibernacula, some traveling hundreds of miles. Females congregate in nursery colonies, only a handful of which have ever been discovered. Nursery colonies have been located along the banks of streams or lakes in forested habitat, under the loose bark of dead trees, and contained from 50-100 females. In August or early September, Indiana bats congregate at the entrance of selected caves or mines where mating occurs. Indiana bats spend the winter months in secluded caves or mines which average 37 - 43 degrees F.



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.  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.



Great Blue Heron - while not threatened, an interesting note of great blue heron rookery is located east of Rock Lake.  Such rookeries are uncommon in the Adirondacks, so please DO NOT DISTURB.






Wild Species of Concern

Three species of turtles, eight species of snakes, eight species of salamanders, one species of toad, and six species of frogs are believed to be residents of the Blue Mt. Unit.


SpottedSalamander.jpgSpotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

The Spotted Salamander have two rows of yelloish orange spots that run along the back side.  They make their home in hardwood forest area and spend most of its time below the surface, under leaves or burrows; and use nearby ponds for breeding in the Spring.  They have poison glands around their back and neck, to release as protection against their predators.  This toxin is harmless to humans.  They are nocturnal hunters and are on the "Special Concern" list.



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.



Canada Lynx - A release of 83 Lynx were made between 1989 and 1991.  Mortality has been high.





The Blue Mountain Wild Forest has  thirty-two bodies of waters and the evaluations ranging from 1,542' at Chain Lakes and 3,759' at Blue Mountain Summit.  Below are some of the lakes and ponds with surveyed fishing species.  Visit our Fishing Directory for more information and the  DEC's Public Fishing Guide for more info




  • Lake Abanakee (361 acres)* - numerous stumps and boulders make motor boating hazardous.  Maximum depth is 20.7' and has a self-sustaining population of smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, northern pike, yellow perch and golden shiners, with occasional lake trout and lake whitefish.  Portions of the lake borders the Jessup River Wild Forest.  Occasionally lakers are caught in Lake Abanankee.

  • Lake Adirondack (198 acres)* - this is a warm water lake with a maximum dept of 19'.  The town of Indian Lake practices some aquatic weed control.  It is one of the most heavily fished lakes in this region and the captured species includes:  pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, banded killifish, golden shiners, white sucker and for the first time smallmouth and rock bass have been reported.

  • Lake Durant (293 acres)* - please observe navigational hazards for larger boats (i.e.. small islands, submerged rocks and stumps).  Lake Durant is a man-made lake with a state campground on the eastern and southern shores.  Brook trout are common.  Yellow perch, white suckers, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead and golden shiners are also found.  In 1978, Tiger Musky were introduced and are now a popular fishing species along with bass fishing.  Boat launching is regulated by a day use fee when the campground is open.  One can hike along the Northville-Lake Placid trail for access.  Occasionally lakers are caught in Lake Durant.

  • First Lake (51 acres)* - survey shows creek chub, pumpkinseed, white suckers, redbreast sunfish, golden shiners, brown bullhead and brook trout stocking.   This lake has a pH of 7.72, an ANC of 380, and a flushing rate of 16.7 times/year

  • .  First Lake is not accessible from any marked trails or public highways.  Float planes enable public access.
  • Pine Lake (91 acres)* - an  excellent brook trout pond with a maximum dept of 78'.  Brook trout are stocked.  Pine Lake has hard accessibility and is best accessed by float plane.

  • Lake Francis (106 acres)* - Yellow perch are abundant.  Also, golden shiner, white sucker, common shiner, redbreast sunfish, creek chub and hybrids of redbreast sunfish and pumpkinseed were recorded on this lake.  Lake Francis has a maximum dept of 21' with a muck bottom.   Public access is limited to bushwhacking for about .8 miles from Old Route 28B. 

  • Barker Pond* (8 acres) - public access is by herd path from O'Neil Flow Road.  Barker Pond is excellent for large brook trout.  Large brook trout are present.  The pond's maximum depth is 13' with a pH of 6.42 and a flushing rate of 5.1x/yr.  Because of the wetlands and outlet having a steep gradient, non-native fish have not been a problem.

  • Corner Pond (20 acres)* - a shallow pond that studies only captured only brown bullhead.  Corner Pond is a shallow pond with a maximum depth of 4', pH of 6.6 and a muck bottom and swampy shoreline.   The pond was stocked with brook trout by DEC some time ago; but surveys only found bullhead.

  • Clear Pond (23 acres)* - Poor brook trout fishing is attributed to predation by the lake trout and socking policy switched to rainbow trout yearlings.  Brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, brown bullhead, golden shiner, pumpkinseed and creek chub are now found.  Clear Pond (cold water pond) has a maximum dept of 40' with a pH of 6.2 and improves to 7.3 at 33'.

  • Bullhead Pond (19 acres) - This pond receives heavy fishing pressure.  White sucker, creek chub and northern redbelly dace have re-established in the pond; and the pond is managed for brook trout.   Non-native species have been found such as yellow perch, gold shiner; along with native fish of creek chub, pumpkinseed and brown bullhead.  The pond was reclaimed '51, and by '90's, the species of white sucker, creek chub and northern redbelly dane had been established.   The barrier dam on the outlet has been refurbished.  Bullhead Pond is 1.5 miles north of the village of Indian Lake.

  • Tirrell Pond (146 acres) - Tirrell a scenic pond and a popular hiking/camping destination.  The 3.3 mile trail from Route 30 (north of Blue Mtn. Lake) is the most used trail; but access is available on the Northville-Placid Trail also.  The pond's maximum depth is 18'.  Survey studies showed prior sampling of abundant brook trout, white sucker, redbreast sunfish, northern redbelly dace, blacknose dace, cutlips minnow, common shiner, pearl dace and creek chub.  Lake trout, brown bullhead, banded killifish and golden shiner were also added.

  • Rock Lake (253 acres) - a warm water lake with a maximum depth of 20' with rocky shoreline.  The lake has a small population of brook trout.  Smallmouth bass, white sucker, pumpkinseed, northern redbelly dance, cutlips minnow and brown bullhead have been caught.   Occasionally lakers are caught in Rock Lake.

  • Little Rock Lake (7 acres) - a hiking/snowmobile trails passes within .02 miles of Little Rock.  The pond is very shallow with 2' maximum depth and muck bottom.  It only contains creek chub.

  • Long Lake (4,071 acres) - only a small portion of the shoreline is in the Blue Mountain Wilderness.  The boat launch is at the end of Town Dock Road.  This popular tourist lake is 14 miles long.

  • Grassy Pond (31 acres) - Grassy Pond connects to Second Lake.   Brook trout and golden shiners were caught, as well as redbreast sunfish, creek chub, northern redbelly dace, brown bullhead and golden shiner.  Brook trout were well represented.  A pH of 6.9  and a flushing rate of 4.7 times/year.  Grassy Pond is not accessible from any marked trails or public highways.  Float planes enable public access.

  • Little Grassy Pond (5.4 acres) - the pond has brook trout population as well as creek chub, brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, banded killifish and northern redbelly.  Only a depth of 11' and this lake is access by bushwhacking west from the outlet to First Lake.

  • Green Pond (16.6 acres) - too warm for trout and a pH of 6.8, maximum depth of 14 feet.  Public access is difficult and best access by canoeing the Cedar River for 4 miles (some areas or rapids), and then bushwhacking 1/2 mile.    Survey shows white sucker, common shiner, brown bullhead and pumpkinseed in the pond.

  • Stonystep Pond (9 acres) - accessible by a 1/2 mile path from Old Route 28B.  It has boggy shoreline and an outlet with muck/rock/sand bottom and a maximum dept of 14' and pH of 5.7.  Prior survey showed Yellow Perch, Brown Bullhead abundant, with a sampling of white sucker, golden shiner and pumpkinseeds.

  • Unnamed Ponds - there are various small ponds (unnamed) that support brook trout, brown bullhead.  They are being reviewed and managed by DEC to preserve its native fish communities.  Fishing will be a grab bag surprise.  Please be careful as most need bushwhack access.

          *shoreline shared with private ownership


The Blue Mtn. Wild Forest has 40 miles of small coldwater streams which include some unnamed streams, and

East Inlet Brook, Sandy Creek, Tirrell Pond Outlet, Salmon River and Dun Brook, as well as portions of Indian River (3 miles), Rock River ( 10 miles) and Cedar River (14 miles).  Cedar River has III Class, Indian Lake to the Lake Abanakee Dam III-IV Class, and Rock River from NY28/30 Bridge to Cedar River, a class of III-IV.


The Fish Barrier Dam at Bullhead Pond was reconstructed in 1991.  A portion of the trail leading to Bullhead Pond crosses private land originally and has been rerouted.  Native brook trout and round whitefish have declined.





  • Indian River (below the dam on Lake Abanakee) -  designated "recreational" and the Town of Indian lake supplements the flow for rafting purposes in the spring and fall.  A section of the Indian River is stocked annually with brown trout and supports rainbow trout.  Occasionally, brook trout are caught, and smallmouth bass are present.

  • Cedar River - 8.6 acres lie within the Blue Mt. Wild Forest and seven miles is designated as "wild".  Rafting is limited to a few weeks in the spring.  Brown trout are stocked upstream.  A few brook trout are caught; but the summer water temperatures are too warm for trout.   Smallmouth bass, fallfish, creek chub, common shiner, blacknose dace, longnose dace, cutlips minnow and northern sculpin were also caught.  Cedar River has Pasley Falls and a gorge as a nice scenic vistas.  A deep water pool with adjacent sand banks attracts local residents to this natural swimming hole.  Portions of two snowmobile trails are located nearby; and the end of Elm Island Trail is designated Nordic Ski Trail.

  • Rock River -  a tributary of Cedar River, and is 8.1 miles within the Blue Mtn. Wild Forest and designated "scenic"  for 6.9 miles and "recreational" for 1.2 miles.   The Rock River is the outlet stream for Lake Durant, and is 53% flatwater with 21% being moderate flow and 26% rapids.  Small waterfalls occur 4.4 and 6.4 miles downstream from the Lake Durant dam.   Caution is to be used for canoeing.  Survey biologists captured or observed smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed, blacknose dace, cutlips minnow, longnose dace, creek chub, stonecat, central mudminnow, golden shiner and white sucker. Tiger muskellunge emigrating from Lake Durant utilize the Rock River to reach Rock Lake.

        Ice Fishing


          Ice fishing for tiger muskellunges are practiced on Lake Abanakee, Lake Francis and Rock Lake.





White Water Rafting


People in rubber rafts began braving the Hudson River Gorge as early as the 1950's. The popularity of white water boating did not blossom until, in 1979, a rafting company from Maine turned the thrill of riding the springtime rush of the Hudson River* into a paying proposition. From then on the guided white water rafting business grew into one of the area's major tourist businesses.  In 1985, 22 companies with headquarters as far away as Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Canada conducted more than 10,000 people on the 16-mile trip from the Indian River to the hamlet of North River.

Cedar River  - Only a portion of this watercourse traverses the unit between the NYS 28/30 bridge to the State boundary near Pine Lake.  This river drops 190 feet in its fourteen mile descent to the Hudson River.  There are Class III rapids after the junction of the Rock River.  The end of the Benton Road can be used for a take-out site for individuals that entered the river from NYS lands adjacent to the Cedar River Road approximately 1.5 miles upstream from the NYS 28/30 bridge.  The end of the Benton Road could also serve as a parking area and put-in for a Class III whitewater trip downstream into the Hudson River.


Indian River/Hudson Gorge - A vertical drop of more than 500 feet over the 16-mile ride yields class III, IV, and V rapids. With its rare combination of challenging white water and spectacular scenery, this river corridor now attracts customers from several surrounding states and Canada.



Hunters enjoy pack & paddling into the region for weeks of hunting.  The game species found in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest include the white-tailed deer and black bear.    Other larger mammals known to inhabit the area include beaver, river otter, fisher, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, pine marten, muskrat, striped skunk, porcupine, and snowshoe hare. A variety of small mammals can be found in the unit, including a number of species of shrews, bats, moles and mice, along with the short-tailed and long-tailed weasel, mink, eastern chipmunk, and red squirrel.

A small moose population has regained a foothold in the area.  They have a scattered population as they migrate north and east into the Adirondacks.  The State's Hunting Guide lines need to be abided (visit



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.” 

Because of the rugged topography and lack of suitable trails, horseback and all terrain bicycles are discouraged.   There are no official designated horse trails in this Wild Forest.  However, there are numerous signs and trail markers located in the Northville-Lake Placid and Blue Mountain trailheads and "multiple use trail" are designated to allow for snowmobiling, horseback riding, and/or all terrain bicycling in  addition to primitive uses.


All Terrain Bicycles


The use of all-terrain bicycles (ATB's) has become an increasingly popular recreational activity in portions of the Adirondack Park.  Recent regulatory changes prohibit bicycle use in wilderness, primitive, and canoe areas.  In wild forest areas ATB's are permitted on all unposted roads or trails.  A "multiple use trail" is designated to allow for snowmobiling, horseback riding, and/or all terrain bicycling* in  addition to primitive uses.  Consult your DEC trail map.  Visit our Adirondack Horseback Directory for other areas.  The following existing trails are located entirely on NYS lands and can be used by all terrain bicycle riders:


  • Rock River Trail (I-3.0 mi.) From the NYS Route 28/30 trailhead to the Rock River.

  • This marked snowmobile trail contains sections of steep trail with some sharp turns and wet areas.

  • Lake Durant-Rock Lake Trail (I-3.0 mi.) from NYS Route 28/30 to junction of Rock River Trail.

  • This marked snowmobile trail contains sections with rocks, wet areas, and exposed roots.

  • Unknown Pond Trail (A-3.5 mi.) From the junction with the Rock River Trail to Unknown Pond.

  • This trail is narrow with steep sections, rocky stretches, and wet/flooded areas.

  • Old Route 30 (B-.8 mi.) This section of old highway is a scenic loop adjacent to NYS Route 28/30.

    Riders are urged to use good judgment as trail conditions can vary or be impassable at certain times.


         Difficulty ratings from Adirondack North Country Association guidelines:

  • Beginner (B) - generally dirt roads with relatively smooth riding surfaces and gentle terrain.

  • Intermediate (I) - generally single-track trails with variable riding surfaces and moderate hills.

  • Advanced (A) - generally challenging single-track trails with difficult terrain and steep hills.


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 Hiking is generally permitted anywhere on State lands; however, special restrictions apply to both mountain biking and horseback riding.


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.




"Primitive use trail" is a trail designated for use by hikers, Nordic skiers, and snowshoers only.   This type of trail is     marked with hiking and/or ski trail markers.

  • Blue Mt. Trail Trunk Trail V

  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail Trunk Trail V

  • Rock Lake Trail# Secondary Trail IV

  • Tirrell Pond Trail Secondary Trail IV

  • Rock River Trail# Primitive/Secondary Trail III

  • Unknown Pond Trail Primitive Trail III

  • Pasley Falls Trail Nordic Ski Trail S

  • Elm Island Trail## Nordic Ski Trail S


A "multiple use trail" is designated to allow for snowmobiling, horseback riding, and/or all terrain bicycling* in  addition to primitive uses. This type of trail is marked with snowmobile, horse trail, and/or in limited instances foot trail markers.  The DEC may close "multiple use trails" to horseback riders and all terrain bicyclers during muddy periods of the year, especially in the spring.

  • Powerline Trail segment Snowmobile, Corridor B/C

  • Benton Road Trail segment Snowmobile, Corridor B/C

  • Lake Adirondack Trail# Snowmobile, Secondary C

  • Lake Durant-Rock Lake Trail Snowmobile, Secondary B/C

  • Rock River Trail Snowmobile, Secondary C

  • Unnamed Spur Trail Snowmobile, Secondary C

  • Rock Lake Trail Snowmobile Spur, Secondary C

  • Cedar River Trail## Snowmobile, Corridor B/C

Marked Trails (44.4 miles)

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.


  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail (Type-V, Blue markers) - total of 15.2 mi. from the outlet of Lake Durant across NYS 28/30 to the NYS 28N parking area; From the Tarbell Rd. trailhead turning easterly to High Peaks Wilderness Area boundary (Lot 61, Township 22).  An additional .7 of a mile of this trail is along the public highway (Tarbell Hill Road).  Sections of this trail can be steep rugged terrain.

  • Tirrell Pond Trail (Type-IV, Red markers) - 3.3 mi.  from NYS 28N to the Northville-Lake Placid Trail intersection.

  • Blue Mt. Trail (Type-V, Red markers) - 2.2 mi. from NYS 28N to the 3759' summit.

  • Rock Lake Trail (Type-IV, Blue markers & Snowmobile) - 0.7 mi. from NYS 28/30 to Rock Lake.

  • Rock River Trail (Type-III, Blue markers & Snowmobile) - 3.0 mi. from NYS 28/30 to the Rock River.

  • Lake Durant-Rock Lake Trail (G, Type-B/C) - 3.0 mi. from Lake Durant Campground to Rock River Trail.

  • Rock Lake Trail (Type-C) - 0.5 mi. from NYS Route 28/30 to Rock Lake (West of Johnny Mack Brook).

  • Rock River Trail (G, Type-C) - 3.0 mi. from NYS Route 28/30 to the Rock River.

  • Unknown Pond Trail (Types-C/D) - 5.5 mi.

  • From Rock River Jct.-Unknown Pond (G, Type-C/D) - 3.0 mi. from Unknown Pond to Cedar River (G, Type-C) 2.0 mi.

  • Indian Lake Landfill-Cedar River (G, Type-C) - 0.5 mi. (A combination of rocks, poor topography, and trail flooding limits the ability to groom or improve this section of trail.)

  • Elm Island Trail (G, Type-C) - 3.6 mi.. From the Indian Lake landfill to Elm Island.

  • Unnamed Spur Trail (G, Type-C) - 0.7 mi.. From the Adirondack Lake Rd. to Elm Island Trail.

  • Unnamed Spur Trail (G, Type-C) - 0.2 mi. from Elm Island Trail to Adirondack Lake.

  • Benton Road Trail (G, Type-B/C) - 0.5 mi. From Benton Rd. to NYS boundary. Additional trail segments cross private lands from the landfill to the golf course and NYS 28/30 crossing.

  • Powerline Trail East Inlet Mt. Section (G, Type-B/C) - 0.5 mi. from NYS Route 28/30 to Mt. Sabattis, mostly on private lands.


Unmarked Trails 

  • Includes the following major trails: Barker Pond from O'Neil Flow Road, Stony Step Pond from Old Route 28, First Lake to Grassy Pond, Old Stage Road, and Pine Lake to the Rock and Cedar River confluence. 

  • Including snowmobile activity on Rock Lake, Old Route 30, Lake Durant, and the Blue Mt. Lake Cemetery and Benton roads.

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 (17.5 miles)


Snowmobiling is a major recreational industry in NYS attracting many users to areas with suitable snow cover within the Adirondack Park.   While DEC snowmobile trails do not cross frozen waters a few of the lakes in the area are utilized by snowmobilers to access the marked trails. In such cases the public must determine if the ice is safe. ALL town roads in Long Lake are open to snowmobilers and   "Multiple use trail" is designated to allow for snowmobiling, horseback riding, and/or all terrain bicycling in  addition to primitive uses.


Bridges at Johnny Mack Brook, support bridges on the south trail of Rock Lake; bridge between Unknown Pond and Rock River Trail; bridge between Unknown Pond and Cedar River, bridge on Rock River trail; and bridge on feeder stream of Rock Lake.  


The longest snowmobile route within the Blue Mountain Unit runs from the community of Indian Lake to the "ball diamond area" on Lake Durant, a distance of approximately 12 miles.  Snowmobile activity on Rock Lake, Pelon Road Trailhead, Old Route 30, Lake Durant, Lake Adirondack and the Blue Mt. Lake Cemetery and Benton roads.




Cross Country Skiing


The only marked cross-country ski trail within the unit begins in the vicinity of the Indian Lake Landfill and ends below the summit of McGinn Mountain. The lack of adequate maintenance on sections of this trail has tended to discourage use.  Additional skiing activity occurs on the hiking and/or snowmobile trails in the vicinity of Rock Lake, Blue Mt., and the Cedar River.  Pelon Road has been used for Nordic skiing.

Cedar River Nordic Ski Trail (Under Rehabilitation)

The existing Nordic Ski trail begins at the Indian Lake Landfill and utilizes a snowmobile trail/woods road on private land for the first 1/4 mile before entering NYS lands next to the Cedar River. The trail parallels the river for approximately one mile, passing a small gorge and waterfall (Pasley Falls).   The trail originally continued along the river northeasterly to Elm Island. Lack of maintenance and poor trail layout encouraged many users to utilize a herd path to the south to intersect the snowmobile trail north of Adirondack Lake.




Rock Climbing


Zander Scott Trailhead/Chapel Pond Slab and the Spanky's Wall on Noble Mountain are the best rock climbing features in the Giant Mountain Wilderness.  Access is via the Zander Scott Trailhead on Route 73.  Visit our Rock Climbing Directory.







Rock Hounding


The geology of this area consist of metamorphoses igneous rock of the "Grenville Series" - marbles, quartzites, amphibolites and assorted mica-quartz-feldspar gneisses with abundant garnet.  This series were deposited between 1,300 and 1,150 million years ago.  Other mineral include Pegmatite, Gabbro (in small dikes), Syenite and Granite as most wide spread in the area.  There is a bare ledge of quartz syenite on Blue Mountain. 


Follow those have gone before:







  • Slide Brook - A major foot bridge on the North trail to Green Mountain

         Road Barriers

  • North Trail to Giant - A gate exists at the state boundary

  • BRPA boundary - a road barrier is at the access road to the boundary.

       Parking Areas (* maintained)

  • Route 28/30 at the beginning of the Rock River Trail (vehicle capacity: 6) *
  • Route 28/30 at the beginning of the Rock Lake Trail (vehicle capacity: 6) *
  • Route 28/30 at the crossing of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail, northside (vehicle capacity: 6), southside (vehicle capacity: 6) *

  • Route 28N at the crossing of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail (vehicle capacity: 12) *

  • Tarbell Hill Road - This section of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail enters the High Peaks Wilderness Area (vehicle capacity: 12) *

  • Route 28/30 at the beginning of the Blue Mountain and Tirrell Pond trails (vehicle capacity: 20) *
  • Blue Mt. Cemetery Road on the northwest side of Lake Durant (serves the Cascade Pond Trail within the Blue Ridge Wilderness Area)

  • The following locations are where snowmobile trails cross public roads and, although they provide access to State land, they are not designed primarily for that purpose: Adirondack Lake Road.

  • Route 28/30 at Lake Durant

  • Indian Lake Landfill (Town of Indian Lake).

  • Benton Road

  • Route 30 at Deerland

     Vehicles Access 

  • NYS Route 28N (north)

  • The Hudson River (east)

  • NYS Route 28 (south)

  • NYS Route 30 (west)

  • Chain Lakes Road - CAUTION:  please note the water release time!

  • Pelon Road

  • Benton Road

  • Durant Road

  • Tarbell Hill Road

  • Old Route 30

  • Old Route 28

      Aerial Access

  • Aerial flights - float planes use occurs mostly for spring fishing and fall hunting to the inaccessible areas of Tirrell Pond, Pine Lane and First Lake.  See our Flight Directory for a list of aerial services).


      Riparian Access

  • Hudson River

  • Long Lake w/public boat launch

  • Lake Adirondack

  • Lake Durant w/public boat launch

  • Lake Abankee

  • Cedar River

  • Indian River


     Scenic Vistas

  • Blue Mountain Summit

  • Mallard Point Overlook

  • Mt. Sabattis

  • McGinn Mountain



  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail (north side of Route 28/30)

  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail (Tarbell Hill Road)

  • Northville-Lake Placid Trail (Route 28N)

  • Rock Lake Trail (Route 28/30)

  • Blue Mountain Trail (Route 28N/30)

  • Waterway Access Site (Chain Lakes Road)



  • O'Neil Flow Road at NYS Route 30

  • Salmon Pond Road (west and east)

  • Long Lake Reservoir Road

  • Rock barrier on the Indian River put-in site


     Foot Bridges

  • Outlet of Pine Lake

  • Sandy Creek (part of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail)

  • Shaw Brook (part of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail)

  • Tracy Shanty Clearing and Salmon Pond Road (part of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail)

  • Rock Lake Trail over Johnny Mack Brook

  • O'Neil Flow boardwalk (part of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail)

  • Sandy Creek boardwalk (part of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail)


Blue Mountain Fire Tower


This 35 foot high tower was built in 1917. The steel structure encloses the 9'x 9' Hamilton County radio and generator building at its base. The large L-shaped foundation at the foot of the tower was the site of a radar station used during the Cold War. The three slabs are where the emergency generators were in case the power went off.  The rusted disc was the base of the antenna mast which was higher than the tower. 


The small square foundation on the opposite side of fire tower was the site of the original small observer cottage. The "new" observer's cabin was built in the 1970's.  Small iron disks are benchmarks for surveying. The original benchmark was put in by Verplank Colvin in the 1890's. It is approximately 75 feet north of the tower.  The benchmark at the foot of the tower was put in during the 1942 survey and marks the "official" summit of the mountain.  For other fire tower information (click here).


The tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.



Pictures and links provided by Wikipedia





Adirondack Mountain Club


Lake George


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!