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Hiking in Madison County
Stoney Pond State Forest
Stoney Pond Loop
There are over 13 miles of trails to explore in the 1469 acre Stoney Pond State Forest. This 2.6 mile loop hike around the 44 acre Stoney Pond features a pleasant option that everyone in the family can enjoy that easily accessed off Jones Road at one of the main trailheads in the state forest. Starting from southern trailhead parking area, which is the main trailhead for Trail #1 of the popular Stoney Pond Nordic Ski Trail System.
Start at the southern trailhead off Jones Road. The GPS coordinates for this parking area is N42 52.968 W75 43.414. This is the trailhead for Trail #1, which you will use for the majority of this loop hike. The loop hike also uses Trail #2 and Trail #3 as well as seasonal dirt Stoney Pond Road plus the campground road for campsites 12-17. Look below for a loop hike description, a few pictures and a map of the loop. We've also included the trail map of the whole trail system at Stoney Pond State Forest, which you can also download at the NY DEC website.
From the parking area, enter the woods along Trail #1. Immediately you'll come to a trail register. Shortly thereafter you'll come to a trail split. Both trails are Trail #1. Take the right fork (you can take the other on the hike back to the parking area). At 0.2 miles you'll reach where the split of Trail #1 comes back together. Pass through a wet area (there are wooden planks) and the juntion of Trail #22. Stay on Trail #1. At 0.35 the trail heads right along the earthen dam along a small unnamed pond. Soon after the pond you reach the junction of Trail #2 at 0.4 miles. This is where you will be returning from.
Continue along Trail #1 and begin a series of three bridges that you will be crossing. Now you'll be coming near to the western shore of Stoney Pond. At 0.5 miles reach a bench with a scenic view of the pond. At 0.6 miles cross the second of three bridges and at 0.7 miles the third bridge. At 0.75 miles reach the junction of Trail #18 on the left. Continue right on Trail #1. After passing a swampy area reach the junction of Trail #19 at 0.85 miles. Continue right on Trail #1. You are now on the eastern side of Stoney Pond. Soon the pond will reappear on your right.
At 1.4 miles exit the woods into a grassy area. A trail comes in from the left. This is Trail #3 as Trail #1 technically ends here. You'll see the wooden planks that will take you over the wet, grassy southern area of the pond. That is where you are heading. You might see folks fishing in this area. Head toward the yellow gate and reach the Campground Loop Road at 1.55 miles. Trail #3 ends here. Turn right and follow the Loop Road, passing the boat launch ramp on your right and campsite #3 at 1.65 miles. Campsite #2 is passed at 1.7 miles. The loop split is reached at 1.75 miles as well as the main Kiosk for Stoney Pond State Forest.
At 1.85 miles reach a dirt road on your right. Turn right on this dirt road, passing Campsites 12-15 and then reaching another yellow gate at 1.95 miles. This is the start of Trail #2 as you pass by the gate. Soon you'll see a side trail on the right that leads to campsites #16 & #17. Continue straight on Trail #2. At 2.2 miles reach the junction of Trail #1, as you have completed the loop part of your hike. Turn left on Trail #1 and soon pass that small pond again. At 2.35 reach the junction of Trail #22 on your right. Stay on Trail #1 and soon reach that split of Trail #1. This time take the right fork. At 2.6 miles reach the trail register and the end of this hike.
Directions: From US 20 in the hamlet of Nelson, head south on the Eireville Road for approximately 2 miles. Turn left onto Old State Road, heading east. In approximately 2.5 miles, head south on Jones Road to the State Forest. You are looking for the second parking area on the left. The GPS coordinates of the southern trailhead parking area along Jones Road is N42 52.968 W75 43.414. This is the Trail #1 trailhead.
Trail #1 register at the Southern Trailhead Parking Area
Bench along Trail #1
Planks over the southern part of Stoney Pond along Trail #3
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