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Hiking in the Adirondacks
Northville-Placid Trail

West Canada
Lakes Wilderness

 

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This is one of the most remote and rugged areas in all of Adirondack Park. There is nearly 170,000 acres of wilderness and once you leave the safety of Piseco, there is nothing but wilderness for 30 miles.  In reality, with the exception of dirt Cedar River Road and Wakely Dam, there are no signs of civilization for nearly 50 miles until the trail reaches Lake Durant State Campground.  No stores, no roads, no homes, nothing but wilderness, except for the occasional lean to and campsite.

Anyone hiking this stretch of the Northville - Placid Trail should be fully prepared to expect anything. Be prepared for washed out bridges, water crossings, beaver activity, blow downs and enough supplies to get you through to Blue Mountain Lake (50+ miles away). You may not see a person until you reach the Cedar River Flow area. This is a tough, rugged section of the Northville-Placid Trail.  This can be a very dangerous place for those who are not prepared.

This is also one of the most scenic sections of the whole Northville-Placid Trail. Below are pictures, maps and a detailed description of this wild 32.0 mile section of trail. There is a three mile road walk to reach the off road section of the NPT. You are now 71.4 miles from the Northville Kiosk. The DEC has proposed a reroute of the Northville-Placid Trail that would take it away from Wakely Dam area of Cedar River Flow and off both Moose River Plains Road as well as Cedar River Road. We have not seen if this proposed route has been approved.

This section of the NPT starts as the trail reaches NY 8 outside of Piseco. The trail leaves the Silver Lake Wilderness section and turns left following NY 8 for about 250 feet. Turn right on County Route 24. At 2.1 miles pass the Piseco Post Office (Zip Code 12139). At 2.3 miles turn right on Haskell Road. At 3.0 miles the trail reaches the bridge over Cold Stream. There is some parking here. The GPS coordinates are N43 27.524 W74 31.339. End of road walk and enter West Canada Lakes Wilderness.

At 3.1 miles reach a DEC Trail Register. At 7.2 miles cross Fall Stream. You will find a few campsites on the south bank of the stream. At 10.5 miles you will need to cross the wide Jessup River. You might find rocks to hop across the river. There are campsites on both sides of the river. At 11.1 miles reach the junction of the Spruce Lake Access Trail that travels about one mile to International Paper land and the end of the Jessup River Road, where there is parking for about five vehicles. The GPS coordinates of this parking area is N43 31.408 W74 33.757.

At 13.0 miles reach Spruce Lake Lean To #1. At 13.7 miles reach a side trail on your left that travels 500 feet to Spruce Lake Lean To #2 and on your right is a side trail that leads 150 feet to an outdoor toilet. At 13.9 miles there is a side trail on your left that travels about 300 feet to Spruce Lake Lean To #3. Cross the outlet of Sampson Bog on a bridge at 16.3 miles. At 16.9 miles there is a boardwalk that crosses a couple of streams. At 17.4 miles reach the junction of the French Louie Trail on your right. The French Louie Trail travels by Sampson Lake, Pillsbury Lake and ends at the Pillsbury Mountain Parking Area near Sled Harbor, about eight miles from the junction of the NPT. The GPS coordinates of the parking area is N43 34.713 W74 28.685.

Soon after the junction of the French Louie Trail, cross West Canada Creek on a bridge. The West Canada Creek Lean To is located on the west bank of the creek. At 17.9 miles reach a campsite and the junction of a side trail on your right that travels about 200 feet to the South Lake Lean To. Cross the outlet of South Lake on an impressive boardwalk/causeway. At 18.4 miles reach a side trail on your right that travels about 200 feet to West Lake Lean To #1. At 18.5 miles reach a junction in a clearing that was a former ranger station. The trail to the right is the West Lake Trail and it goes to West Lake Lean To #2, then on to Brooktrout Lake as well as Indian River Road in Moose River Plains Wild Forest.

The NPT soon detours around an extensive beaver area as well as a destroyed bridge and uses a beaver dam to cross a stream. At 21.9 miles reach the junction of a side trail on your right that travels 0.5 miles to the Third Cedar Lake Lean To. At 22.0 miles pass a campsite on your left. At 23.7 miles pass a side trail on the right that travels 500 feet the Beaver Pond Lean To. Soon cross Cedar River on a boardwalk that seen better days. At 24.2 miles pass the First Cedar Lake Lean To. At 24.3 miles pass a campsite and soon reach the Cedar Lakes Dam as well as a DEC Trail Register.

At 26.1 miles pass a campsite on the Cedar River. At 27.6 miles reach the junction on your right of the Sucker Brook Trail that travels about one miles to the Colvin Brook Lean To and about nine miles to Lewey Lake Campground. At 28.0 miles cross a brook on a bridge. At 28.8 miles reach a side trail on the right that travels 500 feet to the Carry Lean To. At 29.1 miles cross stream on bridge. At 29.5 miles pass iron gates for the Moose River Recreational Area. Trail joins old woods road. At 29.6 reach the junction of an old woods road aka Wilson Ridge Trail on your left.

At 29.8 cross Wilson Brook on a bridge. At 30.9 miles there is a scenic campsite on your right along the Cedar River Flow. At 31.8 miles cross Payne Brook over a culvert. At 32.0 miles reach a metal gate, trail register and the dirt Moose River Plains Road. End of this section of the NPT. Turn right and follow the dirt road. 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.

 

Mile Elevation Description (Haskell Rd to Moose River Road)
0.0 1735 feet NY 8. Parking. Turn left and follow road for 250 feet, then right on CR 24.
2.3 1670 feet DEC Trail sign at the corner of Haskell Road and County Route 24.  Follow Haskell Road to end.  Parking.
3.0 1689 feet Bridge for Cold Stream.  Maps show parking area (did not notice any good parking here).  Follow blue marked trail into forest.
7.2 1953 feet

Cross Fall Stream.  Begin a long climb.

10.5 2072 feet

Cross a wide Jessup River on rocks.

11.1 2209 feet

Trail turns sharply left. The woods road to the right leads to International Paper land and a parking area.

  2400 ft

Spruce Lake #1 Lean To.

  2396 ft

Spruce Lake #2 Lean To.

  2405 ft

Spruce Lake #3 Lean To.

  2366 ft

Cross outlet of Sampson Bog on footbridge (washed out in 2006).  Small falls below bridge.

  2342 ft

NPT turns left.  French Louie Trail goes right.  Cross West Canada Creek on footbridge.  Lean To.

  2356 ft

Side trail on left leads 0.1 mile to South Lake Lean To.

  2352 ft

Cross outlet of South Lake on extensive footbridge.

  2407 ft

Side trail on left leads to West Lake #1 Lean To.

  2399 ft

Caretakers Clearing. Trail register.  Northville-Placid Trail turns sharply right here.

  2377 ft

Wet section.  Beaver activity can usually be found in this area.  Detour around beaver area.

  2384 ft

Mud Lake is off to your right.

  2356 ft

Cross Mud Creek on a bridge. NOTE: Bridge was reportedly washed out in early September 2010.

  2485 ft

Kings Pond is off on your right.  Cross Kings Pond outlet.

  2461 ft

Yellow marked side trail on right leads 0.5 mile to Cedar Lakes #1 Lean To.

  2694 ft

High point on trail while on Cobble Hill.

  2459 ft

Side trail on right leads to Cedar Lakes #2 Lean To.  Cross the deep waters of the Beaver Pond outlet on a bridge.

  2469 ft

Trail on left leads ten miles to Otter Brook bridge.

  2470 ft

Cedar Lakes #3 Lean To.

  2446 ft

Cedar Lakes Dam.  Trail register and soon junction of Cedar Lakes Trail on right.

  2424 ft

Trail turns left.  Begin old rerouted section which is now the trail.

  2299 ft

Cross stream.

  2208 ft

Reach old trail again.  Trail veers left.  Old trail and old foundation for bridge can be seen to right.

  2323 ft

Junction of Sucker Brook Trail on right.  Colvin Brook Lean to is one mile along this trail.  Lewey Lake is 7.9 miles away.

  2116 ft

Cross brook.

  2126 ft

Carry Lean To

  2127 ft

Old road on right leads to the river.

  2103 ft

Cross stream.

  2150 ft

Old road on left leads to Little Moose Lake.

  2157 ft

Another old road comes in on the left.

  2136 ft

Cross Wilson Brook.

  2104 ft

Trail comes close to Cedar River Flow.  Nice campsite on right with sandy beach and great view of Cedar River Flow.

  2182 ft

Cross Payne Brook on a culvert.

32.0 2217 ft

Pass by gate and reach trail register.  Turn right on seasonal dirt Moose River Plains Road.  End of this section.

DEC sign at Haskell Road

Campsite along the NPT near Cedar River Flow

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