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Old 11-10-2011, 03:34 PM   #1
EagleO-10
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Question Best Adirondack Lean-To's

I've recently compiling something of an Adirondacks bucket-list for myself for the upcoming year before I go away to college. Not that I wont be back, there is just a lot I want to do before I have to go away for an extended period of time. If I dont, it will eat away at me.

Anyway, one of those things is spending a few nights at some of the Dak's quietest, most senic lean-tos. Does anybody have any favorites for location, "amenities" (body of water, etc), and beauty? I've love to hear/see pics!

Also something to think about, the Northville-Placid Trail may or may not be on that bucket list (I have an idea what I want to do...more on that at a later date). What lean-tos along that trail do people recommend? Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!

Ryan
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:07 PM   #2
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I've stayed in nearly 110 out of the 275 or so lean-tos in New York State (including the Adirondacks, Catskills, State Forests, and the NY section of the Appalachian Trail), and visited many more that I've not yet stayed in. If I may be so bold as to say so, I guess at this point I'm something of an expert on Adirondack lean-tos.

Here are some of my favorites so far. They are in no particular order. I don't think I could pick a favorite, my favorite is usually the one I've stayed in most recently.

South Lake in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness. Faces the sunset, there is a beautiful sandy beach in front of the lean-to and the swimming is some of the best in the Adirondacks. It's a very popular lean-to, however, and is often filled on summer and early fall weekends. This lean-to is also on the Northville-Placid Trail (NPT).

Pillsbury Lake in the West Canada Lakes Wilderess. Situated in a pleasant conifer stand on a bluff overlooking the lake. Also a very popular lean-to.

Big Shallow in the Five Ponds Wilderness. Also faces the sunset, and it seems to get very little use- definitely off the beaten path.

Cowhorn Pond in the Five Ponds Wilderness. Situated in a beautiful stand of large hemlocks on a quiet and remote pond south of Cranberry Lake. I stayed here a few weeks ago and loved it.

Oxshoe Pond in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area. On a rocky bluff overlooking the lake. Beautiful views. Seems to get a moderate amount of use.

Duck Hole in the Western High Peaks. There are 2 lean-tos here, excellent views of what used to be a lake until Irene rerouted the outlet around the dam. Still a very peaceful and relaxing place. Also on the NPT.

Moose Pond in the Western High Peaks. Beautiful views of the Sawtooth Range across Moose Pond. Stayed here in the winter, the solitude and peacefulness of the area as the sun set across the jagged peaks of the Sawtooth Range was amazing. Also on the NPT.

Opalescent in the Eastern High Peaks. Has some great views across Flowed Lands. It's south of the main route into Lake Colden from Upper Works, so it doesn't get as much use as the lean-tos at Lake Colden do.

Grass Pond in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest. Lean-to is in a really nice pine plantation beside a beautiful little pond with marshy edges. Very easy 1.5 mile hike in on an old state truck trail. The whole Debar Mountain Wild Forest is rich in history and is a great place to explore.

St. Regis Pond in the St. Regis Canoe Area. Lean-to is on the south shore of the pond, with great views across the water. Only accessible by boat or bushwhack, so it feels pretty remote.

Bear Pond in the Black River Wild Forest. Haven't stayed here yet, but it's a brand new lean-to on a little visited pond. The lean-to faces a large glacial erratic against which the fire pit was constructed, reflecting light and heat from campfires back into the lean-to.

Sacandaga River in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. The lean-to is right on the bank of the river. One of the few lean-tos in the Adirondacks that is on a river rather than a lake. The hike to Siamese Ponds from this lean-to is easy and fairly flat, and Siamese Ponds are definitely worth a visit themselves.

Lapland Pond in the Lake George Wild Forest. This lean-to is on a rocky point that juts out into the water, with great views. It's a fairly easy hike in, but does seem to get a decent amount of use.

Millman Pond in the Lake George Wild Forest. A little ways further in that Lapland Pond, this lean-to seems to get a fraction of the use. It's a very nice lean-to that the adopter takes very, very good care of and is a great place to camp. In combination with a hike up Sleeping Beauty or Black Mountain, an overnight here would be a great trip that would be remembered.

Echo Lake in the Indian Head Wilderness Area (this one is in the Catskills). One of the few Catskills Lean-tos that is on a lake. Echo Lake is a very peaceful spot, but with 1 lean-to and 6+ designated campsites, seems to be fairly popular.

Old Job Lean-to in the Big Branch Wilderness Area in Vermont (threw in one VT shelter for good measure). You'd think that a lean-to only a mile off of the AT/LT would get a lot of use, but this one sees only a handful of campers a year it seems. It's pretty close to the site of an old logging town, and the area is full of history.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:33 PM   #3
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Here are a few more, which are favorites of mine:

On the NPT:
Spruce Lake #2 - near the lake, very beautiful view
Catlin Bay #2 - right on Long Lake, gorgeous
Millers Falls - on the Cold River at a remarkable spot

Elsewhere:
Gulf Brook and Lost Pond - easy hikes in the Hurricane Primitive Area, nice spots
Boquet - by the River, near some of the best bushwhacking areas
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:25 PM   #4
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My uncle (and family) are the adopters for Spruce Lake #2... also a nice spot, but also very popular and difficult to get all to yourself...

I'll also second Gulf Brook and especially Lost Pond. Great places for beginner backpacking trips with kids.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:50 PM   #5
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cold river leantos just upstream from shattuck clearing, i cant remember the specific number but its the one furthest from the bridge (also on NPT)
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:38 PM   #6
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It's hard to pick a favorite lean-to... There are countless lean-tos in the Adirondacks that are in great locations and have great views etc, and each has it's own different appeal in different ways in my opinion.
I'm not much of a 'lean-to guy' anymore like I was when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I much more prefer the lesser visited campsites now a days.
Lean-tos seem to be a big attraction for a lot of people, and unfortunately many lean-to locations see a lot of abuse...things like garbage left behind, live tree cutting, and other things that go along with popular campsites.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy the comforts of a good ol' backwoods lean-to every now and again, only now I'll usually only camp at a lean-to during the late Fall or Winter months.

Just to share a couple photos ...
Here's a view from West Lake Lean-to #1, and one from the Colvin Brook Lean-to...both are along/near the NPT:
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:15 PM   #7
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I'm in agreement with Justin as far as some of the lean to's becoming a land of unwanted toys, but they sure are convenient.
For a nice view, I liked Fishing Rock on Newcomb Lake.
And for solitude (at a lean to?!) my choice is Cedar Lakes #3...
Oh, and I almost forgot...to get your future wife to fall in love with you, spend a few days at the S lean to on Big Island on Raquette.
Take a look



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Old 11-10-2011, 09:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post
and one from the Colvin Brook Lean-to...both are along/near the NPT:
One of the nice things about this lean-to is how little use it gets. Hardly anyone ever actually visits it, and fewer people still actually camp there. Larry Weill mentions it in his book Excuse Me Sir, Your Socks Are On Fire as being a lean-to that no one ever goes to!
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:54 AM   #9
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The Northern lean tos on the Coldriver.Very seldom used.
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:58 AM   #10
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I am particularly fond of the Beaver Pond lean-to on Cedar Lakes (AKA Cedar Lakes 2). I especially love listening to the loons talk back and forth from Beaver Pond, which is behind you, and Cedar Lakes. This has become one of my favorite places to relax. It is also on the NPT.

I also agree with DSettahr, the Moose Pond lean-to on the NPT before Placid was very nice and seemingly secluded. This was where I spent my last night on the NPT, so I have fond memories here as well.

This picture is sitting in the Beaver Pond lean-to looking out onto Cedar Lakes.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stripperguy View Post
And for solitude (at a lean to?!) my choice is Cedar Lakes #3...
A great lean-to, if you can find it. The trail to it isn't marked, and it's a half mile away from the NPT, so it gets little use. Most people who've never been there before give up after searching for it without success...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKeagle View Post
I am particularly fond of the Beaver Pond lean-to on Cedar Lakes (AKA Cedar Lakes 2).
I'm fond of this one as well, but it also gets a lot of use...
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
One of the nice things about this lean-to is how little use it gets. Hardly anyone ever actually visits it, and fewer people still actually camp there.
Indeed.
I was just there last weekend, and the lean-to log book had only a handful of entries in it dating back as far as 2008... including a few entries from the former AFR.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:24 PM   #13
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i guess this is in the public realm now, so i will also say cedar lakes #3. no other leanto like it.

like others have said it's difficult to find, but not impossible. words of warning: i have talked to others who have not been able to find it and have either had to back track to cedar lakes #2 or keep going to the next leanto, which takes times. plan on getting there early just in case you need to find another place to stay for the night.

EDIT: lake colden #2 is great. right on the water, beautifully set between colden and algonquin. slant rock is nice if your in the johns brook lodge area. pillsbury is great to in the WCL.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:15 AM   #14
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I'll add another one to the list, that I just stayed at this past weekend: Sand Lake in the Five Ponds Wilderness. The lean-to is so-so, but there is a really nice sandy beach nearby on Sand Lake itself. It would make a great swimming spot in the summer (alas, I've only been there in the fall- twice!).
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:39 AM   #15
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also one of my favorites near the NPT are the two lean tos along moose creek about a mile up from shattuck clearing, on the horse trail
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
Millman Pond in the Lake George Wild Forest.
I second that.

Also:

Pharaoh Lake is not the quietest destination, but the 3rd lean-to is situated on such a beautiful piece of land, overlooking the sunset over Pharaoh Mtn, with excellent swimming, on the "quieter" side of the lake. A personal favorite.


Pharaoh Lake Lean-to #3:
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:08 PM   #17
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also one of my favorites near the NPT are the two lean tos along moose creek about a mile up from shattuck clearing, on the horse trail
Stayed there last fall, a great spot that is quiet, peaceful, and seems to get little use...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WiseFool View Post
Pharaoh Lake Lean-to #3:
Also a great one, the views across the lake of Pharaoh Mountain are amazing, and you're right, it doesn't seem to get nearly as much use as some of the lean-tos on the west shore. Unfortunately I've not personally stayed here yet...

The Lean-tos on Grizzle Ocean, Clear Pond, and Rock Pond are all nice as well...
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