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Hiking in Adirondack Park
Siamese Ponds Wilderness
The Cisco Creek Trail has a new parking area was built in 2010 by the NY DEC with an accessible trail leading to an accessible privy was built just off the main Elm Lake Road at the last four way intersection. Boulders block the former parking area and there is a no parking sign in the area near the private lodge at the new end of Elm Lake Road.
It already was recommended that vehicles didn't attempt the final push toward the private lodge and the end of Elm Lake Road except for high clearance vehicles. The road is extremely poor for this final stretch and there is no longer any parking available at the end of the road. Although no signs tell you this at the four corners, we'll tell you that your risking damage to your vehicle and disappointment when you reach the end of the road and see the no parking sign. Park at the nice new parking area the DEC built.
Part of the Cisco Creek Trail may become part of the future North Country National Scenic Trail. The new parking area will probably become a very popular trailhead for the NCT and those looking to hike into Siamese Ponds Wilderness via the North Country Trail. There will be very few trailheads for the NCT in the Adirondacks, however this will be one.
The newly built parking area is on Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands and is reached after driving 7.9 miles on Elm Lake Road. You'll find Elm Lake Road off NY 30 at the intersection of NY 8 in the heart of Speculator. After driving a short distance on Elm Lake Road you will come to a parking area, kiosk and gate. This is where you enter the Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement lands.
The road will quickly become rougher, although can be driven on with regular vehicles. We would recommend that you drive slow and carefully on this part of Elm Lake Road. Remember that this road is used as a logging road. There are rocks that stick out of the road at times that appear without warning. Drive carefully! Be sure to check out "Outhouse Corners" on your journey along the road. Not only is there an outhouse, but a picnic table for those looking for a place to stop and take a break.
The "official" Cisco Creek Trail travels from the trail register near the Cisco Creek Bridge for 0.9 miles to the junction of the Rock Pond-Long Pond Trail and the Kunjamuk Trail. However, since the recent changes with the new parking area and the future North Country Trail, the real start of this hike is from the newly built parking area.
The hike that we describe below is an easy, pleasant 1.5 mile level walk from the parking area to the banks of the Kunjamuk River, which is a future major river crossing for the North Country Trail. This whole hike is along part of the proposed future North Country National Scenic Trail.
From the parking area walk back toward the main Elm Lake Road and at the four corners turn right on the rough last section of Elm Lake Road. You can see that the forest is beginning to shrink the width of the road. Muddy sections of the road are passed as you can see where vehicles are still attempting to drive this section of the road.
At 0.15 miles you'll pass a private lodge on your right. Soon after you'll pass boulders used for barriers as you enter Siamese Ponds Wilderness. There are a couple of campsites, first on your right and then on your left. This was the former parking area and trailhead for the Cisco Creek Trail.
You'll reach the trail register and the remains of an old gate just prior to reaching Cisco Creek at 0.3 miles. The bridge across Cisco Creek is being used as part of a large beaver dam. You will need to carefully maneuver across the beaver dam to keep from getting wet. Your following red discs.
After crossing the bridge/dam, you'll reach a trail sign with mileage. It's 0.9 miles to the junction of the Kunjamuk Trail and Rock-Long Pond Trail. The walk is almost level and real easy in this forest. Every so often you'll notice a large old growth tree in the forest.
At 0.9 miles the trail passes a boulder with a USGS survey marker emblem on the rock. I am unsure why a USGS marker was placed here. At 1.2 miles you'll reach an intersection with numerous signs. This is the junction of the Kunjamuk Trail and Rock-Long Pond Trail. Veer right here and begin to follow the blue discs of the Kunjamuk Trail. The future NCT will turn left here. You can see the more traveled path is left toward Long Pond. The cliffs on Long Pond are very popular and there are nice views on the top of the cliffs, which require a tough bushwhack to reach.
At 1.3 miles the trail crosses a small stream on old logs. You should start seeing the large marshy valley of the Kunjamuk on your right. You'll reach the edge of the river at 1.5 miles. There is a partial beaver dam on the right that looks like it is being used as help in crossing the river. The trail ahead is reported to be tough to follow, especially around Petes Hill. The panorama at the top of the page is the Kunjamuk River at the end of this hike (from 2010).
Simply turn around and retrace your steps back to the parking area for an easy three mile round trip hike. Below find a few pictures, a video and a map of this great short hike in Siamese Ponds Wilderness.
The new DEC parking area for the Cisco Creek Trail
Cisco Creek Bridge and a beaver dam (from 2010)
Junction of the Rock-Long Ponds Trail
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