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Old 08-06-2019, 09:42 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 1
Question Any primitive/public camp sites around Elk Lake?

Planning on doing the Dix loop with a base camp at one of the tent/lean-to areas along the trail that goes north from the south tip of Elk Lake. On the hike out i'd like to see if there's any places along Elk Lake to pitch a tent. I'll have a kayak with me on the car at the trail head, so water transport is fine. Can you camp on any of those little islands in the lake? Or is this all private property?
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:52 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Northampton, MA
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The lake & its shores are all private and there's no camping. And even if you stay at the Lodge, they don't let you bring your own boat, you need to use one of theirs. The first public camping is after state land begins a bit before the Slide Brook leanto & campsites, a couple of miles in.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:57 AM   #3
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Yeah, Rickhart is correct. Elk Lake is privately owned and you generally must be a paying guest of the Elk Lake Lodge to visit any part of the lake, even if you're not intending to paddle (and yes, they don't allow you to use your own boat even if you are a guest). The general public is allowed to pass through the property on the two state trails only (the trail to Slide/Lillian Brooks and the Dix Range, and the trail to Panther Gorge). Because the trail crosses said private property, there's no legal camping along the Dix trail until you pass onto state land, approximately 2 miles from the trailhead (and just before you arrive at Slide Brook).

A few other things to be aware of:
  • The main lot at the trailhead is rather small (compared to many of the parking lots at other High Peaks trailheads) and fills up fast. It can be completely full by 6 am on a weekend, and lately it has been filling up early even on weekdays (especially if the weather is nice). There is no overflow parking permitted along the road here; all late-comers must park at the overflow lot located 2 miles south, just south of the gate at Clear Pond, and walk the subsequent distance to the trailhead on foot. You'd be well advised to plan to arrive either really early or really late, or else anticipate that you'll have 4 miles round trip added to the overall distance of your hike.
  • Similarly, both Slide and Lillian Brooks tend to be pretty popular and both areas will fill to capacity on just about any Summer weekend. Slide Brook has 5 designated tent sites in addition to the lean-to, Lillian Brook has 3 designated tent sites in addition to the lean-to. Slide Brook will see ~30 people camped there on a busy Summer weekend, that number increases to ~40 people on a holiday weekend. Nearly every Summer weekend will see multiple groups sharing many of the sites especially at Slide Brook. If you decide to camp primitively at a non-established site instead of using one of the designated sites, please keep the DEC's 150 foot rule in mind.
  • If you've done your research you're probably already aware of this but a surprising number of hikers visiting the Dix Range are not: All of the peaks in the Dix Range (with the exception of Dix itself) are accessed by unmarked trails, colloquially referred to in the hiking community as "herd paths." These unmarked trails are generally easy to follow but you'll need to do at least some research on the route in advance- especially to identify where junctions are located (how to find them) and which trail to take at each junction. A lot of hikers especially miss the junction at Slide Brook for the herd path to Macomb Mountain via the Macomb Slide. There are also some spots along the ridge connecting the peaks where the trails may become momentarily unclear- such as where they traverse rock ledges and slabs. You'll want to make sure that you've got a paper topographic map and compass and are familiar with the use of both for backcountry navigation.
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camp, campsite, dix, elk, elk lake

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