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Intel related to Upper & Lower Beech Ridge Ponds

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  • Intel related to Upper & Lower Beech Ridge Ponds

    Can anyone assist me with some intel on Upper & Lower Beech Ridge Ponds? I'm planning on bushwhacking to these two ponds that are somewhat sandwiched within inholdings in the southern Five Ponds Wilderness.

    My primary questions are:

    1) Is Bear Pond Road drivable all the way to the gate near the Upper South Ponds trailhead this year? With all the rain earlier in the summer, I've encountered some washed out dirt roads, so I am concerned that my little Honda Fit might not be able to make it the whole way down Bear Pond Road.

    2) Bear Pond Road appears to cross the Middle Branch of the Oswegatchie River twice south of the barrier near the Upper South Pond trailhead. I know the road crosses the river once before it ends at the private inholding, but does it cross a second time? In other words, I'm wondering if I can bushwhack to Upper Beech Ridge Pond from Bear Pond Road on State Preserve property without fording a major river?

    3) If 2) is a no, then has anyone reached Upper & Lower Beech Ridge Ponds from the east, via Willys Lake? It looks like this requires getting really close to the Oswegatchie River too. If possible, are there any pitfalls I should be aware of with this route?

    I'll probably have other questions as I investigate this further, but this is it for now.


  • #2
    Earlier this season I drove the Bear Pond Road to the gated trail junction shown on the topo map, about 0.8 miles past the Tied Lake trail junction. You can't drive beyond there. A 2-wheel drive car can easily make it that far. I hiked this trail to Beach Ponds and beyond quite a few years ago. As I recall, bridges were in place then, I don't remember fording any large waterways. But it is easier to come up the road from Stillwater (which is gated at the Stillwater dam).

    If you are at Willys Lake, you have already bushwhacked as difficult as it would get going further to the Beach Ponds. It's s pretty direct bushwhack from there with a loop toward Dismal Pond. There are some very old ghost trails in there that are fun to find and follow.

    Note that there are a good number of more recently abandoned large hard packed logging roads in the region around Beech Ponds, with many junctions that go nowhere. Some are very broad and wide open, though I suspect blackberries and other growth is taking over by now. Tempting as it is to follow an easy to follow road/trail going "almost in the right direction", it can be a confusing proposition in logging country. Thick growth on the road margins obscures any direct view into the woods. In the end in many cases I'd rather read the map and bushwhack by terrain observation for better location knowledge and more precise navigation, rather than try to figure out where the next winding logging road junction leads me.
    "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman


    • #3
      The bear pond road is easily drivable to the gate at south ponds.
      The bear pond club line is about 100 yards before where the road crosses the river the 2nd time. I usually just follow the line up stream a few hundred yards untill it recrosses the river. Here the river is usualy easy to cross on rocks without getting wet.