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Bkgphoto 06-20-2019 03:46 PM

Kid friendly backpacking recommendation?
Looking for ideas on a fairly easy 1 or 2 night backpacking trip maybe a short loop? with my 10 year old son. This will be his first backpacking trip and Id like to suck him in with something on the easier side and fun. We are planning on mid to late July. He is a fairly experienced hiker and loves rock scrambles and swimming. To start ideas thinking 5 or so miles maybe ending with someplace he could swim.

webby459 06-20-2019 04:20 PM

I've done some backpacking trips so far with 3 kids, they are currently 10, 12, 12, but started a few years ago. Loops that short aren't jumping out at me, but imo that may not matter if your destination is cool. You can also build in a side trip or two (like a lollipop) to make it more interesting than just an out and back. I've found that especially with the 3 kids, to keep everyone happier the hikes should be more flat than not, so I pick them accordingly. So ideas that fit that are:

We did a short trip to Rock Pond in the Pharaoh Wilderness from the Putnam Pond campground. The Campground was kind of a base camp, we then did a night at Rock. It's not that steep or long and there is also stuff to see around the Rock Pond area.

Lots of hikes that integrate the NPT fit the bill, but of course are out and back. We've enjoyed Durant to Stephens Pond, you can also do Cascade Pond in the Blue Ridge wilderness as a similar option, the NPT trail-wise is a bit better. You can also go toward Tirrel Pond from the th near Durant, a nice option as well. I think you'll find a number of similar hikes from all of the NPT road crossings, I just happen to like the Blue Ridge area.

Also, look at the stuff on the eastern part of the Lake George Wild Forest, like Lapland, Fishbrook, etc. These are pretty flat hikes with a number of leanto and tent sites in short distances with many options to build short loops. I'd probably pick this as a first. I did a Tongue Range trip with the 3 kids that I wished I had done Lapland.

rdl 06-20-2019 04:22 PM

Not sure about availability in July, but I started my kids backpacking into the reservable lean-to's at JBL. Swimming in John's Brook is a blast, there are some nice easy hikes from JBL, if you reserve you're guaranteed to have a roof over your head. I think my kids were 7 and 10 the first time we did that. My daughter, who was 7, carried the cheerios, marshmallows and her pillow in her pack and we still laugh 20 years later when we look at those pictures.

Bkgphoto 06-20-2019 04:41 PM

Thanks. JBL is already booked. Something along those lines would work well. 5 or miles each day. Lean tos are not a must have. How are the bugs in late July?

webby459 06-20-2019 04:58 PM

One spot that isn't mentioned here often as a camping/backpacking spot is Camp Santanoni. Pretty nice easy 5 mile hike in with stuff to see on the way. Very nice lake with the camp at the end, a few nice tent sites. There's a side hike or two you can take. Last time I was there the boat house had some various canoes that you could borrow (don't know if they are officially for lend). The fishing is good in the lake.

Bkgphoto 06-20-2019 05:26 PM

Thank you everyone. The more I read the more I think something on the NPT with a shuttle would be great. Maybe something in Moose River Rec area?

2505 06-20-2019 06:33 PM

I'd recommend any of the ones mentioned. One great one that I did with my nieces and nephew many years ago was Gulf Brook lean-to in Keene. Easy walk in, and the older one we took up Hurricane while the younger ones hung around camp and explored up the trail at Lost Pond, where there is also a leanto.

Enjoy it! Hiking and backpacking with my kids has been a highlight for me. I am sure it will be for you as well.

Lucky13 06-21-2019 09:14 AM

The Moose River Plains is not usually mentioned as a backpacking destination, except as trailhead for West Canada Lakes Wilderness. Many users use the roadside campsites for their camp area and dayhike. The Lakes and ponds I have been to are not what I consider good swimming lakes, they are soft bottomed (with associated leeches), and there are no beach areas, just the drop off from the bog vegetation that surrounds them. That said, I have not been into Beaver, it is a 2 mile hike, very level, with what is said to be a great campsite when you reach the lake, fair fishing for brown trout, with some outsized fish caught every year. One advantage to the plains is its proximity to Inlet and Old Forge. If it rains and the kids are going stir crazy, it is only about an hour our for a "daytrip" and in Old Forge, you have the water park, movies, arcades, etc. Another advantage is the number of " short" hikes, 1/2 to 2 miles, that end in pretty ponds with frogs and newts, etc if they get bored with the campsite.

In August, the bugs are declining, most all the black flies are gone, less deer flies ( but they will still be out along trails), and mosquitoes only really a nuisance at dusk, or if you get stuck in a mud hole!

Bagadeez04 06-23-2019 07:43 PM

Took my then 5 and 7 year old boys to Hurricane Mountain last August, it was awesome. There is a designated camp site at Gulf Brook (a lean-to also I believe), the brook is fun for walking down rock hopping (water was very low). That site is like 1.5-2 miles or so.

From there, you can do short hike up Hurricane Mountain. Amazing views, fun rock scrambling and the kids loved the fire tower once they got to the top.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

OntarioSkiBum 06-23-2019 09:42 PM

Some ideas from places I've been to...

A loop in the Sargent Pond area could be nice. There's a loop in the Upper and Lower area. You might be able to push it all the way out to Tioga Point and stay in one of their reservable lean tos. Lower Sargent Pond has a first come first served lean to as well. There are tent sites on Upper Sargent Pond.

Another idea would be a tour through the Fish Creek Ponds area in the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest. You won't have absolute quiet, but if you stay away from the campgrounds, it's still quite peaceful.

I've always wanted to check out the 13th Lake area in the Siamese ponds wilderness. I'm not sure how good Puffer Pond is for swimming, but it's out there past 13th. There's another spur to Peaked Mountain and Peaked Pond. There's also a designated site on top of Chimney Mountain that would be cool to stay at if you can push it that far. Or, you could start from the Chimney Mt side and work your way towards Puffer/13th.

Bkgphoto 06-24-2019 12:42 PM

I appreciate all the recommendations. Are there any loops that incorporate the NPT I like the idea of doing a section of that trail but the shuttle prices I saw were pretty steep. A shuttle in the Wakely dam area was over 200.00 for the one place online that I saw. Once my guide and map comes I want to try and plan a 20-25 mile section on the NPT but only if I can find an affordable shuttle price. If not it’ll have to be a loop of one sort.

webby459 06-24-2019 12:49 PM

The French Louie loop starting from the Pillsbury Mountain trailhead in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness is right in the 20 plus a little bit mile range and integrates the NPT. I did it last year with my 11yo son (just turned 11 then) and it was fantastic. I think we did 4 nights but we started pretty late the first day and took one zero day in the middle.

Bkgphoto 06-24-2019 02:33 PM


Originally Posted by webby459 (Post 276430)
The French Louie loop starting from the Pillsbury Mountain trailhead in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness is right in the 20 plus a little bit mile range and integrates the NPT. I did it last year with my 11yo son (just turned 11 then) and it was fantastic. I think we did 4 nights but we started pretty late the first day and took one zero day in the middle.

Awesome I will research that now!

2505 06-24-2019 07:02 PM


Originally Posted by Bkgphoto (Post 276432)
Awesome I will research that now!

Camping on Cedar Lakes is tremendous. A beautiful leanto on a little hill by one of the outlets, plus other spots.

Bkgphoto 06-25-2019 06:06 PM

Definitely going to do the French Loui loop. How are the bears in the area? I use an Ursack for food/smelly stuff storage.

Justin 06-25-2019 08:33 PM

As a young kid I had a lot of fun hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, skiing, snowshoeing & exploring in the Pharaoh region. Still do at 42. :)

2505 06-26-2019 07:29 AM


Originally Posted by Bkgphoto (Post 276452)
Definitely going to do the French Loui loop. How are the bears in the area? I use an Ursack for food/smelly stuff storage.

I would not trust anything but the black Garcia canister.

webby459 06-26-2019 08:33 AM

We actually saw bear prints on the cedar lakes trail just past the dam in the vicinity of the couple tent sites that are there. Maybe I'm naive but imo the normal level of cleanliness and either an Ursack or a decent hang should be ok. I stay clean and bear hang in a dry bag wherever I go, and wouldn't feel any more or less comfortable with a canister. I'd also of course follow the local regs.

Bkgphoto 06-26-2019 11:10 AM

I know there are several ponds and lakes along the French Loui loop but are any suitable for swimming?

webby459 06-26-2019 11:44 AM

We didn't swim in them (although my son I think did wade in to West Lake to get out to the island nearest the lean to site) so can't speak to leach content. But West Lake at least has decent access for swimming, and Cedar Lake around lean to numbers 2 & 3 (the more northerly ones) have very good access for swimming. I was tempted to at Cedar 2 but didn't end up going in. It was kind of shallow for quite a while by the shore, but not sure how shallow or how far.

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