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Hiking in Lewis County
Hiking in Adirondack Park
Independence River Wild Forest
This easy hike takes you to a scenic pond and a lean to. For those who decide to explore the Panther Pond Trail further will find the Independence River a pleasant addition for their effort. The trail ends after five miles at the West Bridge over the Independence River.
From the trailhead at the end of Smith Road, the Panther Pond Trail heads south, first past a camping area and then past a stop barrier following an old road. The trail crosses over Pine Creek then passes an unmarked fork on the left before reaching a marked fork and trail register at 0.25 miles. To the left is the Independence River Trail that can be used as part of an eight mile loop utilizing other trails.
The yellow marked Panther Pond Trail takes the right fork after the trail register and continues 250 feet along the old road before turning left into the woods on a hillside on a footpath. Watch for the turnoff because the wider path continues straight as a snowmobile trail. There is a sign "Lean To" with an arrow at the turn. The Panther Pond Trail goes through some wet sections on puncheons then up a small hill before reaching the Panther Pond Lean To at 1.2 miles.
The lean to and the pond make for a beautiful setting, a great spot for a picnic. The trail continues near the shore, past a beaver pond on your left. The trail leaves Panther Pond finally at some notable cliffs after 1.9 miles. The trail now follows along Third Creek for a ways before going into the woods and crossing Snake Creek.
After passing a swampy area the trail ascends a little hill with an open rock summit ridge starting at 2.7 miles. While the open area is pleasant with the white pines, there are no real distant views. The hill has a gently descending ridge that the trail follows.
At 4.2 miles the trail turns left where an abandoned trail continues straight. Your now following an old road with the occasional wet spot. At 4.4 miles the trail begins to follow along Fourth Creek. You'll follow this creek until the Independence River, where the trail turns right following the river.
At 5.0 miles you'll reach the West Bridge, and the junctions of the Beach Mill Pond Trail and the Fish Trail. This marks the end of the Panther Pond Trail. There is a map below of the trail as well as some pictures plus a video of the hike to the lean to.
Trail and bridge
Directions: From Lowville, NY 26 to Number Four Road. Drive 16.2 miles on Number Four Road then turn right onto seasonal dirt Smith Road. There is a DEC trailhead sign at the intersection. Take Smith Road 3.8 miles to its end at a barricade. At 2.1 miles you'll pass a gate for Trout Lake (which is private property). You'll pass numerous road side camping spots (few look to be ever used).
Note: From this trailhead you can do a few out and back hikes. A hike to Panther Pond Lean To is a 2.6 mile out and back hike. A hike to Bills Pond is a 1.6 mile out and back hike (however it is unmarked as well as no longer maintained as a trail).
Panther Pond Lean To in Independence River Wild Forest
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