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North Country Trail
NOTE: This information is based from the information gathered from the DEC plan available at the DEC website. The info below is for what will be the future North Country Trail in the Adirondacks.
The North Country Trail will cross the blue line into Adirondack Park along North Lake Road. There is a sign that welcomes you to the town of "Ohio" and to the park. Further down the road on the left, there is a trailhead for the Stone Dam Trail with plenty of parking along the shoulder of the road. It looks like the shoulder of the road was improved for the future increased use of this trail.
You are in Black River Wild Forest (BRWF). The Black River Wild Forest is located in the south-western foothills of the Adirondack Park. This wild forest is comprised of over 121,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands in Herkimer, Lewis, Hamilton, and Oneida counties. Look below for a map of the future trail in Black River Wild Forest.
There is a trail register at the trailhead. Currently there is no markings or signs for the North Country Trail. This is still known as the Stone Dam Trail. The trail leads 3.2 miles to Stone Dam Lake and 5.4 miles to Chub Pond. The North Country Trail will use this trail and then turn right onto a future new connector trail somewhere between Stone Dam Lake and Chub Pond.
There are numerous wet areas where the new trail will be traveling, so this will be challenging. Our guess is that the new trail will turn off the Stone Dam Trail on the higher ground after the crossing of Big Brook, which will put the trail within a mile of Chub Pond Lean To #1. The Stone Dam Trail does travel over some wet spots as it makes its way toward Big Brook.
From here the connector trail will be built toward Little Woodhull Lake Trail. This connector trail will need to make a possible difficult crossing of Little Woodhull Creek near the south long arm of Little Woodhull Lake. This whole area is a bit swampy, so it will be another challenge for the trail builders to find the right place for trail. After the creek crossing the trail will soon reach the Little Woodhull Lake Trail. The North Country Trail will follow the Little Woodhull Lake Trail for about 1.6 miles to the junction of Sand Lake Falls Trail.
A connector trail will take the North Country Trail past the junction of the Sand Lake Falls Trail to enter DEC conservation easement lands. The DEC plan is to meet up and use the Grindstone Creek Trail to bring the North Country Trail toward the end of Loop Road. The trail will follow Loop Road to the end of the road, which has a large parking area, before utilizing the North Branch Trail to bring the North Country Trail into West Canada Lakes Wilderness on the southern slopes of Ice Cave Mountain or along the North Branch Black River.
Overall the DEC plan is to have about 16 miles of the North Country Trail in Black River Wild Forest. Of that, some of trail is already available. Look below for a detailed description for the first "unofficial" 3.2 off road miles of the North Country Trail inside of Adirondack Park that is currently available to hike. Follow the yellow DEC discs. We have included pictures, a video and maps of this future section of the North Country National Scenic Trail.
Bridge over Little Woodhull Creek
Future North Country National Scenic Trail
North Lake Road Trailhead to Stone Dam Lake
From the trailhead along North Lake Road, follow the yellow DEC discs along an old woods road. At 0.4 miles cross "Mulchy Spring" Brook on a small footbridge. At 0.9 miles reach the footbridge at the scenic crossing of Little Woodhull Creek. A great spot of a picnic. After crossing the creek, the trail becomes thinner and a bit harder to follow.
At one mile of hiking you'll start to notice large boulders randomly "tossed" in the area. At 1.15 miles the trail passes by "Big Boulder". In another 0.3 miles the trail passes a very wet section. At 1.6 miles the trail is next to a small "ravine" and will eventually descend into this glacial anomaly. At 1.9 miles the trail reaches a line of large boulders along a hillside and veers right.
From near this point, the trail was relocated closer to the side of Stone Dam Mountain, rather to closer to Stone Dam Creek (as its shown on most maps). I read that this was done due to the wetness of the area and the new DEC trail standards to keep trails away from streams whenever possible.
At 2.2 miles the trail is ascending Stone Dam Mountain. At just 1801 feet, this "mountain" is nothing more than a small hill. The trail never reaches the "summit", but at 2.7 miles reach an elevation of 1768 feet and the highest point along the trail on the mountain. You'll have winter views to the east and at 2.9 miles is your first view of Stone Dam Lake.
The trail never gets any closer than a couple hundred feet from the lake and we didn't notice any herd paths that lead to the shore. The trail crosses a small stream at 3.2 miles and the end of this "unofficial" future section of the North Country Trail in the Adirondacks. The North Country Trail will turn right on a future connector trail probably somewhere after the crossing of Big Brook, about a mile south from the Chub Pond Lean To #1. The Stone Dam Trail continues another 2.3 miles to Chub Pond (from our "end" point).
There is suppose to be an old "campsite" along the northern part of Stone Dam Lake. From what I've been told it is nothing more than an old decrepit lean to with trees growing through it. The area is boggy and overgrown.
Directions: From Alder Creek, take NY 28 north to just past the bridge over the Black River/Forestport Reservoir. Turn right onto road toward Forestport, then right at bottom of ramp onto North Lake Road. Take North Lake Road into Adirondack Park and there is a trailhead sign plus wide shoulders for parking along the road. The GPS coordinates of the trailhead is N43 27.416 W75 03.964.
DEC sign at trailhead along North Lake Road
Mile Elevation Trail Description - follow yellow DEC discs 0.0 1467 feet
From the North Lake Road trailhead, head north along old woods road. Shoulder parking. Trail register.
0.4 1451 feet
Cross "Mulchy Spring" Brook on a small footbridge.
0.9 1473 feet
Cross Little Woodhull Creek on a footbridge.
1.0 1494 feet
Numerous big boulders scattered near and along trail.
1.15 1537 feet
Pass by "Big Boulder"
1.45 1562 feet
Trail goes through a very wet area.
1.6 1562 feet
Small ravine to your left, but no stream.
1.9 1610 feet
Trail turns right as you approach "boulder line".
2.2 1641 feet
Now ascending the side of Stone Dam Mountain.
2.7 1768 feet
Highest point along trail on Stone Dam Mountain.
2.95 1718 feet
Filtered views begin on your right of Stone Dam Lake.
3.2 1675 feet
Trail crosses a small stream. End of this section.
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