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Hiking in Adirondack Park
Silver Lake Wilderness features 106,770 acres of forest preserve lands located in the Towns of Lake Pleasant, Benson, Hope, Wells and Arietta in Hamilton County. It is the fourth largest and southern most wilderness area in Adirondack Park. The Northville-Placid Trail travels through the heart of the Wilderness. However, you won't find many marked hiking trails in Silver Lake Wilderness.
The wilderness is roughly bounded on the north by NY 8 and private lands near Piseco Lake, Oxbow Lake, Hamilton Lake, Sand Lake and Lake Pleasant; on the east by NY 30; on the south generally by the Hamilton County line; and on the west by NY 10, the West Branch of the Sacandaga and the Piseco Outlet. Surrounding nearby state lands include the Jessup River Wild Forest to the north; Wilcox Lake Wild Forest to the east; Shaker Mountain Wild Forest to the south; and the Ferris Lake Wild Forest to the west.
The most popular way to access Silver Lake Wilderness is via West River Road from NY 30 in Wells. This good dirt road juts into the Wilderness and ends near the site of Whitehouse, which is a popular trailhead for the Northville-Placid Trail. There are numerous primitive campsites located along the road, with a few of them along the West Branch Sacandaga River. Since vehicle traffic is prohibited in Wilderness areas, the road and its right of way that is located in state lands is considered in the Sacandaga Primitive Area. There is a proposal to close the road at the last part of private property, about 1300 feet from where it currently ends.
There are three shelters available along the trail in the wilderness. Silver Lake Lean To, Mud Lake Lean To and Hamilton Lake Stream Lean To are available for overnight shelter for backpackers and can be accessed via the Northville-Placid Trail. To keep the area in a wilderness state, the NY DEC has purposely kept from adding any additional marked trails in Silver Lake Wilderness. That does not mean there isn't places that couldn't be explored using map and compass skills.
Look below for a list of popular destinations, many of which are bushwhacks or along unmarked paths in the wilderness and a couple of topo maps of Silver Lake Wilderness. There is much more than just the NPT in Silver Lake Wilderness.
Silver Lake Mud Lake Hamilton Lake Stream Big Eddy Trail West Branch Path Vly Creek Falls Blackbridge Path Finch Mountain Jimmy Creek Falls Falls on West Branch Sacandaga West Branch Gorge Upper Stoner Lake Brown Lake Hidden Vly North Branch Reservoir Silver Lake Outlet Chub Lake Sherman Mtn Cliffs Trout Lake Mtn Cliffs Trout Lake Piseco Outlet/West Branch Confluence Rogers Mountain Duck Lake Three Ponds Mtn & Helldevil Dam The Notch Woods Lake Little Cathead Mountain Groff Creek Rock Lake Southerland Mountain
Hamilton Lake Stream Suspension Bridge along the Northville-Placid Trail
Mud Lake from the Northville-Placid Trail
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