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Hiking in Lewis County
New York State Lands
Carpenter Road Trail System
The 13,793 acre Lesser Wilderness State Forest is actually a group of 6 neighboring forests with similar features. The area is located in the core of Tug Hill, with its mostly poor soils and severe winter conditions. Most of this property was acquired by the state during the 1930's and 1940's, and included abandoned open farm fields and cut over woodlands.
Recreational in the state forest include traditional activities like hiking as well as more contemporary winter activities such as cross country skiing and snowmobiling. Over 15 miles of maintained forest access roads, 1.8 miles of dedicated snowmobile trails, and 1.4 miles of roads limited to motor vehicle access for people with disabilities by permit only, round out the extensive public access offered by this unique area.
The Carpenter Road Trail System (info below) offers 8 miles of scenic pathways designated for skiing, biking and hiking. The NY DEC features a good Carpenter Road Trail Map.
Generally this state forest is located west of NY 26 from Constableville north to near Lowville.
DEC sign off NY 26
Carpenter Road Ski & Hiking Trails
The Carpenter Road Trail System is on the eastern edge of the Tug Hill Plateau, an area with some of the heaviest snowfall in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. It offers eight miles of scenic pathways for skiers in the winter and for hikers and bikers during the summer season. It is part of the Lesser Wilderness State Forest in the Lewis County towns of Turin, West Turin and Martinsburg.
The recommended access point for entry to this trail system is via Seymour Road at its intersection with Carpenter Road, which intersects NY 26 at 2.3 miles north of the village of Turin and 0.6 miles south of the hamlet of Houseville. Proceed up Carpenter Road for approximately one mile to its intersection with the Seymour Road on the left. Parking is available at 3 designated parking lots.
Parking along the Carpenter Road is not allowed. Seymour Road is an unplowed town road. Please sign in at the registration box at the Seymour Road trail head. You can use this road, or the Cone Trail along the west side of the road for 0.8 miles to reach the start of the West Loop Trail.
The entire trail system follows easy grades and is designed for the novice and intermediate cross country hiker/skier/biker. Users are urged to prepare wisely for each outing. Suitable clothing should be worn. Take along equipment for a range of weather conditions. It is wise to include an extra windbreaker as well as a beverage to avoid dehydration.
A compass properly used can be most helpful in finding your way. There are directional signs on the trails, however, vandals sometimes confuse users by removing them. Pay close attention to the wind chill factor. Carry a quick energy snack to refuel your system if you plan on exercising strenuously.
Below is a list of trails of the Carpenter Road Trail System:
The Cone Trail (0.8 miles)
There is a Japanese larch plantation on state land at the intersection with the Carpenter Road. Proceeding southerly, the next block of trees is white spruce, followed by a block of red pine. Some of these blocks of trees have been managed to facilitate the production and gathering of cones, by removing the tops of the trees to induce low branch development. The cones are used for seed extraction for the production of new seedlings at the Saratoga Nursery.
The open land to the east is privately owned farm land, with a fine view of the Adirondacks on the eastern horizon. After passing the cone production area, there are other red pine, white spruce and Scotch pine plantings, with interspersed native hardwood trees. The Seymour Road leads to two junctions with the West Loop trail and one junction with the Crossover Trail to the Slivka Road, another unused town road.
The Return Trail (0.9 miles)
This trail forms an alternate method of accessing or returning from the West Loop. The trail may be accessed from the Carpenter Road by crossing over the ditch at any point and you are on the trail. Due to the lack of wind and solar exposure, this trail normally will still be usable in the spring, long after the Cone Trail has melted out.
Starting at the West Loop, the trail leads northeast through a stand of hardwoods. It then enters a block of Scotch pine, red pine and white spruce. It next enters a Japanese larch stand and then turns southeast, paralleling Carpenter Road until it meets the register.
The West Loop Trail (2.3 miles)
This trail traverses a number of picturesque natural forest areas as well as a white spruce plantation. The southern portion of the loop follows, in part, a woods road leading to private lands.
The Short Cut Trail (0.1 miles)
As the name implies, this short section of trail begins and ends on the West Loop. It passes through a grove of mixed hardwoods. It enables the user to shorten the trip around the West Loop by 3/4 mile.
The Beaver Pond Trail (0.5 miles)
The main attraction of this trail is the beaver pond near which it travels. You can branch off from the West Loop, travel through some spacious hardwoods, until you reach the pond. There, you can stop and view the beauty of the beaver pond. The trail continues on south to the Seymour Road.
Mill Creek Run/Jack Track (1.0 mile)
The south fork (Mill Creek Run) of this trail traverses a white spruce plantation and a number of scenic hardwood and softwood areas of sugar maple, red maple, balsam fir, red spruce, white cedar, and beech. This provides a scenic view of Mill Creek. After the junction with the North Fork (Jack's Track) a white spruce plantation is again encountered along the Slivka Road.
There is a steep gorge just west of the intersection which blocks access from the South along the Slivka Road. Do not attempt to ski in that direction as the bridge is out. You may wish to take the Mill Creek Run on the way over to the Slivka Road and come back on Jack's Track for a change of scenery.
The Snow Ridge Loop (1.2 miles)
This includes a short section of the Slivka Road which joins the terminus of this trail loop. Besides access from the Slivka Road, there is access to the Snow Ridge Loop via cross country ski trails on property owned by Snow Ridge Ski Resort.
Snow Ridge, Inc. also maintains cross country ski trails on their property for public use. If these trails are to be used, Snow Ridge, Inc. regulations should be observed.
The Larch Loop/Douglas Creek Trails (1.2 miles)
The newest trail in this System can be accessed via the West Loop or by the Carpenter Road parking lot. A fairly steep incline behind the parking area leads to a level trail winding through a mixture of larch and spruce plantation and natural woods. Two wooden bridges cross tributaries to Douglas Creek along this trail.
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