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Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness Hiking Guide

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Hiking in Herkimer County
Hiking in Adirondack Park
West-Central Adirondacks
 
Ha-De-Ron-DahWilderness

Middle Settlement
Lake

 

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Middle Settlement Lake is located in the 26,600 acre Ha-de-ron-dah Wilderness in the western foothills of the Adirondacks, just west of the popular tourist destination of Old Forge. There is a lean to located on the lake, which is a moderately short hike to reach making this the most popular destination in the wilderness. This popular hiking destination in the Adirondacks is easily accessed off NY 28.

There are three routes to reach Middle Settlement Lake as well as a popular loop hike. Two of the routes begin from the large parking area off NY 28 (which is maintained all year round), locally known as the Scusa Trailhead. The parking area is located 5.7 miles north of McKeever and 2.8 miles south of Thendara. It is a huge "rest area" off of NY 28 that you can't miss. This the trailhead that most hikers use to enter the wilderness. The GPS coordinates of the parking area is N43 40.610 W75 03.104 for those who have a GPS devise.

From the parking area, cross NY 28 to get to the 0.6 mile Scusa Access Trail, which is marked with red DEC plastic discs. There is a steep climb almost immediately as you walk into the Ha-de-ron-dah Wilderness. This trail is #77 on the map below. After 0.6 miles of hiking you reach the yellow marked Brown's Tract Trail. Here you can decide on how you will do your trip. A left turn is the fastest route to the lake (as well as most popular), a right turn is a longer route used by many hikers looking for a longer loop hike. Below is information on both options.

First option: Left turn on the yellow marked Brown's Tract Trail (trail #76 on map below). In 0.9 miles reach the junction of the Middle Settlement Lake Access Trail. Turn right on the blue marked Middle Settlement Lake Access Trail (#75 on the map below). After 1.2 miles along this trail you'll reach the yellow marked Middle Settlement Lake Trail (#73 on the map below). Turn left at this junction and follow the yellow marked trail 0.5 miles to the lean to. It is 3.2 miles from the Scusa Trailhead to the Middle Settlement Lake Lean To.

Second Option: This is also known as the Middle Settlement Lake Loop. Turn right on the yellow Brown's Tract Trail and in 0.2 miles you'll turn left onto the red marked Cedar Pond Trail (#74 on map below). In 0.3 miles reach the junction of the yellow marked Grass Pond Trail on the right, which leads 0.5 miles to the pond. Continuing on the Cedar Pond Trail for 1.2 miles you'll reach the junction of the yellow marked Middle Settlement Lake Trail (#73 on map below).

Turn onto the yellow marked Middle Settlement Lake Trail. In 1.0 miles reach the junction of the blue marked Middle Settlement Lake Access Trail. Stay on the yellow marked trail and reach the Middle Settlement Lake Lean To in another 0.5 miles. This is 3.8 miles from the Scusa Trailhead. For those doing the loop hike, continue on the yellow marked trail. If you decide to visit Grass Pond, your one way hike total will be 4.8 miles to Middle Settlement Lake Lean To.

In 0.5 miles reach the junction of the seldom used blue marked Lost Lake-Pine Lake Trail (#70 on map below). Continue on the yellow marked Middle Settlement Lake Trail for another 1.7 miles until you reach the junction of the yellow marked Brown's Tract Trail (#76 on map below). Here you turn left and follow the Brown's Tract Trail for 2.0 miles. There will be a stretch of the trail that will have you scratching your head due to beavers. Your feet will probably get wet as you cross a large vly just about 0.3 miles from the Scusa Access Trail junction.

Turn right onto the red marked Scusa Access Trail (#77 on the map below). It is 0.6 miles to the parking area on NY 28 for a total loop hike of 8.6 miles. Just remember about the beaver vly that will have you frustrated if you decide to do this loop hike. There is NO way around the wetland and the trail goes straight through the fun.

Southern Route to Middle Settlement Lake

Another option to reach Middle Settlement Lake is from a trailhead that is not visable from NY 28, although it is off the main road on an old section of route 28. The old road is just north of the marked Nelson Lake Parking Area and is marked by a DEC Conservation Easement sign. Pull into the first parking area and then follow the old paved road to the start of the Brown's Tract Trail. The GPS coordinates of the start of the trail are N43 39.209 W75 04.942.

Follow an old logging road to a trail register and the start of the yellow marked Brown's Tract Trail (#76 on map below). Be sure to follow the yellow markers closely as there are numerous side roads as you travel through a conservation easement to reach the wilderness. At 0.9 miles you reach Copper Lake Road, an ATV path that leads to a private inholding. Turn left and follow this road for 0.4 miles, then turn right off the road into Ha-de-ron-dah Wilderness.

In 0.2 miles reach the yellow marked Middle Settlement Lake Trail (#73 on map below) and turn left to follow the yellow marked trail. After 1.7 miles on the yellow marked trail you'll reach the junction of the seldom used blue marked Lost Lake-Pine Lake Trail (#70 on map below). Continue on the yellow marked Middle Settlement Lake Trail for another 0.5 miles until you reach the Middle Settlement Lake Lean To. This route is 3.7 miles to Middle Settlement Lake. It is longer than the first option above (from the Scusa Trailhead), however you miss the steep ascent at the start of the hike.

Look below for a few maps of this popular hike in the Ha-de-ron-dah Wilderness. 

 

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