Hiking in Adirondack Park

Central Adirondacks Pine Lake Primitive Area
Hiking in Adirondack Park
Central Adirondacks

Pine Lake Primitive Area

Pine Lake


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Pine Lake is a pretty lake located in the central Adirondacks near the small hamlet of Indian Lake.  A pretty easy 3.7 mile one way hike along an old woods road takes you to a scenic campsite on the shore of the lake. The area is known as the Pine Lake Primitive Area and was part of the Essex Chain Tract lands that the NY DEC purchased in the summer of 2013. This is a great backpacking destination for those looking for an easier trip to a scenic lake.

A large parking area is located at the end of Chain Lakes Road South at the site of what was once known as the Gooley Club House. The GPS coordinates are N43 82.751 W74 20.081 for those with a GPS devise. There is a gate that stops further vehicle traffic along the road. There is a seasonal parking area further north along the road near the start of the Clear Pond Trail. However, it is available only during Big Game Hunting Season, which usually starts in early October. Chain Lakes Road South is located off NY 28, east of the small hamlet of Indian Lake.

From the parking area there is a nice view of the Hudson River. To start your hike, go past the gate and almost right away reach a trail register that also has a Kiosk. You are following a dirt road, now known as the Cedar River Trail and blue DEC plastic markers. At 0.25 miles there is a side trail on the right with a yellow Camp Here disc that leads to a primitive campsite. After a descent, cross a small stream that goes under the road via a culvert. The trail now climbs gently and at 1.2 miles reach the junction on the left of the Clear Pond Trail.

At 1.5 miles reach the seasonal parking area that is open for hunters during Big Game Hunting Season (usually starts in October) and a yellow gate. At 1.8 miles you'll see Mud Pond on your left and will continue to see the pond for a bit. At 2.6 miles the trail veers left at a junction of an unmarked woods road. At 2.7 miles reach the junction of the Pine Lake Trail. The Cedar River Trail turns right here and reaches the banks of the deep river in about 150 feet. The DEC plans to build a bridge over the river to link the Essex Chain Lakes Area to the north. We recommend the short side trip to see the Cedar River.

Continue to follow the old woods road, now following yellow DEC plastic disks of the Pine Lake Trail. There are a few unmarked junctions of old woods roads. Just remember to keep left at each junction and that you are following yellow markers. At 3.7 miles reach the designated campsite on Pine Lake. The campsite has an old picnic table and a side trail that leads to an open air privy. To the right of the designated campsite is an open area that the DEC has designated as no camping allowed that looks like it would be a nice picnic spot and a place to throw a fishing line in the lake.

Because this hike follows nice old woods road, one could probably bring a kayak that is on a wheel cart. The only downfall is that it is a long way to drag a kayak. The trails are also designated as bike trails, so you could ride your bike to this nice camping spot. This is a pretty easy 7.4 mile round trip hike to Pine Lake that could be enjoyed by all members of your family as long as you are properly prepared. Look below for a few pictures, a trail map and a video from CNY Hiking that features our hike on a rainy fall day.

Following the old woods road

Mud Pond

Campsite on Pine Lake



Hiking in Adirondack Park

Central Adirondacks Pine Lake Primitive Area

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