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NCT in Hoffman Notch Wilderness East-Central Adirondacks
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East-Central Adirondacks

Hoffman Notch
Wilderness

 

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The 38,488 acre Hoffman Notch Wilderness is located in the east-central Adirondacks in Essex County. The Wilderness is bounded by County Route 2 to the north, I-87 to the east, Vanderwhacker Wild Forest to the west and Hoffman Road to the south.  Hoffman Notch Wilderness is probably one of the least visited areas in the Adirondacks, which offers adventurers solitude. The future North Country Trail will travel through the wilderness.

The wilderness has over 15 miles of hiking trails with the 1.2 mile Severance Hill Trail easily the most popular.  The highest point in the wilderness is 3693 foot Hoffman Mountain, located in the middle of the rugged Blue Ridge.  No trails lead to the heavily forested summit, which has little to offer with views. The mountain, as well as its neighboring mountains along the Blue Ridge see very few visitors.

Hiking trails in Hoffman Notch Wilderness:

Severance Hill Trail - The 1.2 mile trail to the 1638 foot summit of Severance Hill has scenic views.  The trail travels under I-87 via tunnels.  The trailhead is off US 9, north of Schroon Lake.

Hoffman Notch Trail -  This 7.4 mile trail transects the wilderness between the northern trailhead on Blue Ridge Road (County Route 2) and the southern trailhead at the end of the Loch Muller Road. This trail is a popular with individuals and groups coordinating to leave vehicles in the parking areas at each end of the trail.

Big Pond Trail - This 5.7 mile marked trail is accessed from a parking area along Hoffman Road. It passes a water body on Rogers Brook, continues past Big Pond and connects with the Hoffman Notch Trail a little more than a mile north of that trail's southern trailhead.  Part of this trail will become a section of the North Country Trail.  The NY DEC plans to formally designate, mark and maintain an existing unmarked trail south of the Big Pond Trail. This will create a loop trail system opportunity in that area.

Bailey Pond Trail - this trail shares the same trailhead as the Hoffman Notch Trail at its southern end. The one mile trail leads to Bailey Pond. A nearly two mile unmarked "bushwhack" trail provides access to Marion Pond from Bailey Pond.

There is an informal herd path that travels off Big Pond Trail to North Pond.  It is worth the view over the pond to see Hoffman Mountain in the distance to make this bushwhack.  Maps show an old (overgrown) road that travels the shoulder of Jones Hill, with another old road (overgrown) traveling  near the summit.

North Country National Scenic Trail (FUTURE) - A 12.5 mile section of the future North Country Trail will travel through Hoffman Notch Wilderness as part of its journey through the Adirondacks to its eastern terminus at Crown Point.  The trail will enter the Wilderness from Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest near Bailey Pond, then follow the Big Pond Trail, then follow a new trail past North Pond onto Jones Hill and Smith Hill before leaving the Wilderness under I-87. 

The NCT is a National Scenic Trail that travels 4600 miles from North Dakota to Crown Point.   Currently there are no lean to's in Hoffman Notch Wilderness, however a future lean to is planned for the NCT near the Platt Brook between Jones Hill and Smith Hill. The NY DEC plans to build two tent sites near Big Pond, one tent site near Bailey Pond and one tent site near North Pond when the North Country Trail officially opens in the wilderness.

Look below for some destinations and a few of maps of the Hoffman Notch Wilderness. 

Destinations in Hoffman Notch Wilderness

Severance Hill Big Pond North Pond
Jones Hill Hoffman Notch Trail Bailey Pond
Marion Pond Washburn Ridge Minerva Stream

 

Mount Severance Trail heading under I-87

Above map courtesy of AndyArthur.org

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