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North Country Trail
Adirondack Park

West Canada Lakes

Moose River Plains Wild Forest
Little Moose Wilderness



NOTE:  This information is based from the information gathered from the DEC plan available at the DEC website.  The info below is for just part of what will be the North Country Trail in the Adirondacks.

The West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area, located in the southwestern Adirondack Park, represents about 168,920 acres of State Forest Preserve lands in the towns of Arietta, Indian Lake, Lake Pleasant and Morehouse in Hamilton County and the Town of Ohio in Herkimer County.  This wilderness has some of the most remote lands and waters in all of Adirondack Park. For thru hikers this stretch of the trail will be challenging, both hiking and being properly supplied.

The DEC plan is to utilize herd paths bringing the North Country Trail into West Canada Lakes Wilderness on the southern slopes of Ice Cave Mountain and to bring the NCT to the Indian River Trail about one mile north of Horn Lake.  From there the NCT will follow the Indian River Trail all the way to Indian River Road.  There is a fording of the Indian River about 3.3 miles from Indian River Road.

The North Country Trail uses Indian River Road as a temporary connector and follows the road for 4.2 miles.  As you follow this dirt road, you are walking along the boundary with the 50,000+ acre Moose River Plains Wild Forest. 

The Moose River Plains Wild Forest is bounded on the north by the Pigeon Lakes Wilderness Area, Raquette Lake and the Blue Ridge Wilderness, on the east and the south by the West Canada Lakes Wilderness and the private lands of the Adirondack League Club, and on the west by the Fulton Chain Lakes and NY 28. It is the largest block of remote lands in the Adirondacks readily accessible by motor vehicle and includes the Red River, the South Branch of the Moose River and the 675 acre Cedar River Flow.

The North Country Trail leaves Indian River Road at the Brooktrout Lake Trail trailhead.  Here the NCT turns and follows the West Canada Lakes Trail for 8.3 miles to the junction with the Northville-Placid Trail. This will be a temporary route as another, more difficult and more remote route is constructed in the newly classified Little Moose Wilderness. There is more information on this new route further down this page.

The NCT will turn right (south) and follow the Northville-Placid Trail for 0.6 miles until the junction with the Mud Lake to Pillsbury Lake Trail.  From here the NCT turns on the Mud Lake to Pillsbury Lake Trail for 6.5 miles to its junction with the Cedar Lakes Trail.  The trail becomes the Pillsbury Lake Trail as you pass Pillsbury Lake. 

Turn right and follow the Cedar Lakes Trail 1.6 miles to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead parking area plus the junction of the Pillsbury Mountain Trail.  The Pillsbury Mountain Trail offers hikers an opportunity for a 3.2 mile side trip (round-trip mileage) to spectacular views from the fire tower on the summit. 

The Pillsbury Mountain trailhead parking area and the rough road marks the end of the North Country Trail in West Canada Lakes Wilderness.  According to the DEC plan, there will be nearly 30 miles of the NCT within this remote wilderness and much of the trail is already available.  There are also seven lean tos along this future section of the trail.

New route of the NCT proposed in 2014

The 2014 updated proposed route of the North Country Trail has the above route as a temporary route. The final plan is to have the North Country Trail to continue to follow Indian River Road and then turn left on the Otter Brook Road at the junction of the Otter Brook Trail, crossing Otter Brook on a bridge at an area once known as Kenwells. There are nice roadside campsites along Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road, especially near Otter Brook. The trail will follow the dirt road to the trailhead of the little used Sly Pond Trail. While following the dirt roads, you are in Moose River Wild Forest.

The Sly Pond Trail follows old logging roads and due to the lack of use, the trail currently can be hard to follow at times and may be over grown along some sections. This trail, which the future North Country Trail will follow, takes hikers to a high elevation pond just over seven miles from the start of the trail on Otter Brook Road. This area, where the future NCT will travel, was recently reclassified by the NY DEC and renamed the Little Moose Wilderness.

After reaching Sly Pond, a new trail will need to be constructed that will take the trail up Little Moose Mountain. If you have ever been to Sly Pond and looked up toward Little Moose Mountain, you know this will be a challenging construction of a hiking trail. The spruce trees and the woods are very dense, making it currently impossible to even bushwhack toward the mountain.

There are open ledges on Little Moose Mountain that are visible from other spots in the area. The views from the ledges must be spectacular and we are hoping that the construction of the future NCT will include many of the open views. We believe that the 3620 foot Little Moose Mountain will become the highest point along the NCT in NY State. Little Moose Mountain is the 100th highest peak in New York. The future trail will also cross and descend nearby Manbury Mountain before reaching Otter Brook Trail. The NCT will follow the Otter Brook Trail briefly and then follow the little used Lost Pond Trail, reentering West Canada Lakes Wilderness.

The future NCT, following the Lost Pond Trail will pass the side trail that leads to the seldom visited Lost Pond. The NCT will continue on to reach the junction of the overly popular Northville-Placid Trail on the northwestern shores of Cedar Lakes. Here the NCT will briefly follow along the same tread as the Northville-Placid Trail for just over a half of a mile before turning onto the Cedar Lakes Trail. The future NCT will follow the Cedar Lakes Trail to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead parking area.

There are only two available roads for access to the North Country Trail in West Canada Lakes Wilderness. Both are seasonal dirt roads. The first is from Moose River Road in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest. It is a 17+ mile drive (1+ hour) along seasonal dirt roads from the main access point of Moose River Road near Limekiln Lake State Campground to Otter Brook Road and the end of Indian River Road. 

The second is a rough dirt road off of Jessup River Road at Sled Harbor.  This is currently the main trailhead for Pillsbury Mountain.  Jessup River Road is off from NY 30 south of Lewey Lake State Campground.  Look below for a map of the future North Country Trail in this area. Neither access point provide any type of resupply for thru hikers. This stretch of the North Country Trail will be challenging for thru-hikers, backpackers and day hikers. It will also become a favorite of many hikers in the Adirondacks.

Old campsites on Indian Lake

Old Indian Lake Road - Future North Country Trail


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