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Hiking in the Adirondacks
Benson Road to NY 8
This 26.6 mile stretch of the Northville-Placid Trail is located in Silver Lake Wilderness. It features Woods Lake, Rock Lake, Silver Lake, Mud Lake and the West Branch Sacandaga River. This stretch also features a newly built stretch of trail that was opened in 2013. A parking area on Benson Road is where this section of the NPT begins as the trail leaves Shaker Mountain Wild Forest and enters Silver Lake Wilderness. The GPS coordinates of the parking area is N43 14.853 W74 18.715. For thru hikers heading north, you have hiked 12.1 miles since the kiosk in Northville.
The trail crosses the road diagonally and enters the forest as well as the Silver Lake Wilderness. There is a trail register as you enter the woods. A red marked trail veers off to the left that travels to the shore of Woods Lake and a few designated campsites near the shore. Veer right at this junction and follow the blue discs of the NPT. You are now traveling on a newly built trail that was opened in 2013 as the trail travels toward Grant Lake. Nearly six miles of newly constructed trail now takes hikers off the local roads and into this wilderness. At 0.3 miles you will see the scenic Woods Lake through the trees and soon there is a nice designated campsite that overlooks the lake on your left.
At 0.6 miles cross a small stream on a log bridge. Cross another stream at 1.9 miles, then another stream is crossed at 2.4 miles. At 2.5 miles there is a log bridge. Grant Lake Outlet is crossed on a log bridge at 2.7 miles. Another stream is crossed at 3.0 miles and soon cross a hill utilizing switchbacks. Cross Abner Brook on a log bridge at 4.6 miles. There is a side trail marked with a cairn that leads to a campsite at 4.8 miles. The NPT is now following an old road. Cross Notch Brook on a bridge at 6.5 miles. There is a side trail that is marked with a cairn that travels to West Stony Creek and a campsite on the other side of the creek at 6.7 miles.
At 7.0 miles you will reach the end of Godfrey Road and back to the "original" Northville-Placid Trail. This is where many thru hikers used to begin their journey, in an area known as Upper Benson. You have traveled 19.1 miles from the Kiosk in Northville. There is a yellow marked access trail that travels across the bridge over West Stony Creek 1.25 miles to a parking area. The GPS coordinates of the parking area is N43 15.177 W74 20.684. At 9.2 miles cross the North Branch of West Stony Creek utilizing stones. At 9.8 miles a spur trail travels 0.1 miles to the former lean to site on Rock Lake on your left.
At 10.7 miles you cross the West Branch of the Sacandaga River. At 11.3 miles Meco Lake is off to your right and reach the overly popular Silver Lake Lean To at 12.1 miles. Be ready to encounter wet sections caused by beavers, especially between Silver Lake and Canary Pond. At 14.0 the trail crosses a wet area on a bridge. The trail passes near Canary Pond at 14.3 miles and there is a spur trail that brings you to the pond. There are primitive camping opportunities near Canary Pond. Reach a rather large beaver pond at 15.2 miles. The NPT detours right to pass the east side of the beaver pond. At 15.4 miles cross a stream in a very wet area north of the beaver pond.
Cross Noisy Brook at 16.7 miles and reach the shore of Mud Lake at 17.3 miles. After passing through a wet area on very slippery puncheons, reach the Mud Lake Lean To at 17.5 miles. The trail reaches a col at 18.4 miles to start a major descent of over 600 feet that ends at the crossing of the West Branch of the Sacandaga River on a suspension footbridge at 20.1 miles. You'll probably find anglers, families and campers enjoying this scenic spot along the river that is easily accessed from the end of West River Road. Across the river you'll notice the ruins of an old fireplace and at 20.3 miles you'll reach an old road plus a trail register. The Northville-Placid Trail turns left. This area is known as Whitehouse. Turning right and following the old road will bring you to the end of West River Road and a parking area in just under 0.2 miles. There are numerous road side primitive campsites near the parking area. The GPS coordinates of this parking area is N43 22.359 W74 25.909.
From Whitehouse the Northville-Placid Trail follows an old road until the junction of the Big Eddy Trail at 20.8 miles (currently unmarked). We have seen numerous entries in the trail register from hikers looking for the waterfalls. Big Eddy is nothing more than rapids along the river. To reach the secluded waterfalls (which I believe are more rapids as well) requires a bushwhack along the gorge of the river, which can be very dangerous especially during times of high water.
Now the NPT veers right off the old road and will cross Hamilton Lake Stream on a suspension bridge at 22.8 miles. Turn left after crossing the bridge and pass by a scenic campsite next to the stream. Soon reach a reroute due to beaver activity. Reach the Hamilton Lake Stream Lean To at 23.0 miles and the scenic Priests Vly at 23.8 miles. Cross Buckhorn Lake Outlet at 25.2 miles. There are some campsites to the left of the trail. Cross a snowmobile trail at 26.3 miles, reach a DEC register at 26.5 miles and reach NY 8 at 26.6 miles, leaving the Silver Lake Wilderness. You are 38.7 miles from the Northville kiosk.
As you exit the woods at NY 8, there is a general store across the road that has sandwiches, drinks and limited supply. There is lodging at the Oxbow Motel along NY 8 and a post office along County Route 24 as you head into Piseco. There is a map and detailed description of this section below. Piseco is the last time you will see a road for over 30 miles as you will soon enter the remote West Canada Lakes Wilderness or civilization for over 40 miles until you arrive at Lake Durant State Campground near Blue Mountain Lake.
Be sure to check out the NY DEC website at Adirondack Trail Information for updated trail conditions. We recommend that you purchase the Northville-Placid Trail (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map) to help plan your Northville-Placid Trail adventure. Look below for some videos featuring a through hike of this stretch of the Northville-Placid Trail plus a detailed description, some pictures and trail maps.
Mile Elevation Description (Northville to Whitehouse) 0.0 1389 feet Benson Road Parking Area. Trail enters Silver Lake Wilderness. Trail Register. 0.3 1413 feet Woods Lake through the trees. Soon pass a designated campsite on the left. 7.0 1428 feet Reach the end of Godfrey Road. Access Trail goes 1.25 miles to a parking area. North Branch West Stony Creek. 9.8 1999 feet
Rock Lake is on the left. A short 0.1 mile spur trail leads to the shore and campsite.
10.7 1867 feet
Cross West Branch Sacandaga River at the western end of an old clearing, then bear sharply right up the west bank of river
11.3 2113 feet
Meco Lake is on your right.
12.1 2038 feet
Silver Lake Lean To
14.1 1995 feet
Cross stream on footbridge
14.3 2059 feet
Canary Pond is off to the left.
17.5 1739 feet
Mud Lake Lean To
17.8 1780 feet
Cross small stream
18.4 1929 feet
Reach col between Grindstone Mountain and Mud Lake Mountain. Begin descent toward river.
20.1 1296 feet
Cross the West Branch of the Sacandaga River on a suspension footbridge.
20.2 1292 feet
Ruins of old fireplace on your left.
20.3 1311 feet
Reach old road and trail register. NPT turns left. Trail to right leads 0.2 miles to parking area at end of West River Road.
20.8 1356 feet Big Eddy Trail goes straight as NPT veers right off old road. There is no marking for this junction. 21.3 1482 feet
Trail skirts side of "Flat Iron".
22.8 1438 feet Cross Hamilton Lake Stream on a suspension bridge. Turn left and pass a scenic campsite next to stream. 22.9 1451 feet
Trail turns left on a reroute due to beaver activity in the area. Soon reach Hamilton Lake Stream Lean To north of trail.
23.8 1663 feet
26.3 1788 feet
Cross snowmobile trail.
26.6 1725 feet Reach NY 8. General store across street. NPT follows County Route 24 into Piseco.
Designated campsite on Woods Lake
Suspension Bridge over West Branch Sacandaga River
Northville-Placid Trail near Whitehouse
Suspension Bridge over Hamilton Lake Stream
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