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Hiking in Jefferson County
New York State Lands
The 526 acre Black Pond Wildlife Management Area is located on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario. Much of the barrier beach in Black Pond WMA has forested sand dunes that are as much as 60 feet high. Immediately north of the WMA is the 360 acre El Dorado Beach Preserve, which is a bird refuge owned by The Nature Conservancy.
A beautiful handicapped accessible boardwalk leads from a parking area, to Black Pond and then over sand dunes to Lake Ontario. From the end of the boardwalk on the sandy beach, you can head south along the beach for about eight miles. The beach passes a few residences, then enters Southwick Beach State Park and then the large Lakeview WMA.
Walking north along the beach leads onto the El Dorado Beach Preserve; a hiking trail and bird-watching blinds at the Beach Preserve are normally reached by Grandjean Road, which is north of Black Pond. This whole area is part of the Eastern Lake Ontario Marshes Bird Conservation Area as well as a New York Natural Heritage Area known as the Eastern Lake Ontario Barrier Beach and Wetland Complex.
There are two ways to access Black Pond: either walk two miles north on the beach from Southwick Beach State Park to get to the area, or use the handicapped accessible boardwalk. To access the boardwalk parking area, at the end of Bolton Road turn left on to a gravel road. Follow this road to the parking area.
There is no fee to enter Black Pond WMA and it's access to Lake Ontario. However, there are no bathrooms or lifeguards on the beach.
Black Pond can be reached either from NY 3, or from Exit 41 on Interstate 81. From Exit 41, take County Route 152 west to NY 3. Take a left on NY 3 and head south till you come to Bolton Road. Take a right onto Bolton Road. At the end of Bolton Road, follow the gravel road to the left, until you reach the main parking area.
The Hike: The total walk from the parking area to the pond overlook, Lake Ontario and back is 0.9 miles. However you can also walk along the beach to make your walk longer. This area is worth exploring.
Trail to Black Pond
Boardwalk section of the Black Pond Trail
Lake Ontario from the boardwalk
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