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Essex Chain Area

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  • #16
    Originally posted by bridgeman View Post
    Does anyone know the status of the planned bridge over the Cedar River? With that in place, you could park in Indian Lake and bike all the way through to the North side. If no bridge, is there a decent place to wade across?

    Mr bridge,
    Here's a look at the Cedar, at the Big Bend, proposed site of the new bridge.
    You're probably not gonna do much wading...

    Upstream view

    Downstream view


    • #17
      Originally posted by RichieC View Post
      No, not really "nice" they have been used a lot in the past. Picked over and nailed and built up "things", built and placed more for convenience rather than any particularly pretty vantage or placement- in fact if I recall, kind of muddy. . There is ( or was) a dock and a bunch of stashed aluminum canoes. . Not the sort of sites I prefer.
      I finally made it back into first lake. The framework shown in your second picture has been taken down- it looked like all of the poles had been piled up on the side of the site. Someone had taken an old "Posted" sign and written in sharpie on the back, "NYSDEC Emergency Tent Poles Do Not Remove," and placed it atop the pile of poles. Safe to say whoever it was that made that sign certainly does not work for the DEC.

      I agree with the general assessment of those two float plane sites- they are pretty lackluster at best. It appears that neither has gotten a whole lot of use in recent years; both were covered in knee deep grass.

      The Grassy Pond site was somewhat nice, although by far the buggiest out of all of the sites I visited on this trip.

      Third Lake site #2 has been relocated- this site was formerly located in a neat spot between rock outcrops on the north side of the lake, but the access to and from the site from the water was downright horrible. This site was closed, and a new site on the south shore (just about due south of the old site) has been designated.

      The new Third Lake Lean-to is pretty nice. I spent a night there (and was serenaded by flamboyant loons all night long).

      Every site that I visited has a fire pit. The fire pits are all on the smaller side, I'm sure as the use picks up that will change.

      There were also more folks out and about in the area, both by boat and bicycle, than I've ever seen (although I never made it into the area back during it's initial popularity, when the permit camping system was in place). I also saw hoof prints indicating recent use by horseback riders. I think the repeal of the fire ban especially has increased interest in the area and what it has to offer.


      • #18
        Essex Chain Lakes

        Last month I spent five days there. I went in on a Thursday and came out the following Wednesday. I spent most of the time on Sixth Lake and some time on Third. With the exception of the Sixth Lake campsite (#2), I thought most of the campsites were substandard compared to other places I have camped in the Adirondacks (however, I did not go to First or Second). I had no problem with the carry to Deer Pond or to Third Lake. Although the water level was high, I was still able to go through the culvert between Fourth and Fifth. However, after two days of heavy rain, that was not the case on the way back towards Third; I had to carry over the roadbed. There was only one vehicle in the lot when I went in. I only saw one canoe with two paddlers in it the entire time - they paddled into Sixth, around Seventh and then out. There were no other vehicles in the lot when I came out. Here are a couple of photos:
        Attached Files
        "Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing."
        - Henry David Thoreau


        • #19
          Essex Chain North update

          Spent two nights there recently. Updates from being there & a conversation with a very reliable source:

          The new lean-to on 3rd lake is nice (set back from water a bit) and getting use. Saw party of 2 there. One of the campsites (#2) on 3rd lake has been closed/relocated (to S shore), and #1 on 6th lake has been closed (it was bad). The map at the Kiosk has been marked up to reflect the changes. The DEC web site now has the current site locations accurately shown here:

          All campsites have fire rings now & campfires are legal at designated waterside sites. I did not see this info yet on any DEC website.

          Only saw one other person wheeling into 3rd lake.

          Beaver activity down a bit and I did the Deer Pond loop without getting my feet wet. Made it again to Cedar river for a dip. Road/trail section close to former bridge site flooded as usual. Saw a float plane headed for likely landing on Pine lake.

          For those wondering, no apparent activity on replacing the bridge over the Cedar river (saw flagging on S side a few years ago). Curiously, the DEC map shows a hand launch in this area. This surely not legally reachable by motorized vehicle (locked gates and at least one washout on N side above new lean-to). That would be long tough carry/wheel and a very short paddle unless you were committed to white water.

          Camp 6 road heading S (from E end of Goodnow Flow) has a 14" tree across rd .7 mi S of locked gate and not hospitable to pass further than 1 mile.

          Some increased signage at key intersections (thanks DEC) will help navigating for some. Could use a sign at N access from E side at locked gate. That too is a nice bike ride on the former logging roads.


          • #20
            Great info and thanks to all as usual. Does anyone know what fish are in first lake and grassy pond?


            • #21

              Just back from a 2 night trip and offering a couple of observations. First it’s a beautiful area. Quiet and peaceful. A lot of loons and a bald eagle flying around. Second, the new leanto is fantastic! Thanks to leanto rescue and others who made it happen! We spent our nights there and it was great. Third, having seen all but one of the designated tent sites, they are rough except for the handicapped site. I saw a couple of sites with a rock ring for a fire pit. Others had no fire ring. I doubt those rings were constructed by the DEC. I could be wrong but maybe that’s why the DEC website says “campfires are prohibited at the 11 shoreline tent sites”.


              • #22
                Bump for any fishing intel ��


                • #23
                  Was there just last week for 3 days and stayed at the new leanto. I must say I haven't stayed at a leanto in 30 years, though I do occasionally stop by and check them out on occasion and to have lunch on rainy days. This one was awesome, as expected as it was just finished 6 weeks or so ago. Very clean no graffiti no rodents (my reasons for avoiding them over the years), and the view is fantastic. Oh, and if you don't like the sound of loons , don't go there, they were calling all night. The leanto site is on the old Gooly club location so , though it was cleaned up, there still is plenty of junk around, (in 50 years that junk will be historical artifacts). Nice paddling , but you can do the 7'th to 1'st lake section in half a day if you want to. Fishing was mediocre, scenery very nice. Easy carry in, I used wheels no problem. Hiking mostly on old logging roads. Most of the campsites were Ah OK, not the best I've seen but fire ring at all I checked out. The floatplane sites don't look like they get much use at all and old stashed aluminum boats are at each site. Mosquitos seemed prevalent at the camp sites but not at the leanto. And the fire place at the leanto rates an A+, main fire area and a separate cooking area on the side with semi permanent grill, shovel some coals in and it is the perfect open fire cooking area.
                  Because It's There, and it may not be tomorrow


                  • #24
                    I stayed at campsite #2 on Sixth. That was a really nice site. Too bad the DEC doesn't allow camping on the island on Fourth.
                    "Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing."
                    - Henry David Thoreau


                    • #25
                      Went there Thursday to Sunday and stayed in the lean-to, it was a blessing in the rain Thursday! Great weather and there was some foliage. The loons were singing and a few bald eagles around.


                      • #26
                        Just came across this thread as I was researching the history of the Essex Chain since we just spent the weekend there. We were the only people on the chain for the first night and saw only one other party of two arrive last night.

                        We?ve done a lot of canoe camping over the years and I have to say that this experience ranks near the top. Sure, there are some remnants of the area?s pre-wilderness life. And many of the campsites don?t have the friendliest vibe at first glance. But the area feels very much unexplored by today?s paddler.

                        The new lean-to on Third Lake is the nicest I?ve seen in the park. It looks over a field of wild flowers that gentle descend into the lake. The paddle from third to seventh lake is beautiful and straightforward. We bushwhacked to Eighth Lake as the bog was impenetrable. But it felt remarkably remote and we had lunch at a spot where I?d venture few humans have stepped.

                        The day prior we tried to paddle from Second Lake to Grassy Pond. The bog became harder and harder to navigate (maybe 10 carry?s over beaver dams and downed trees). Then we hit a rocky brook and had to bushwhack with the canoe until we connected to the little used carry trail. A little bit of cursing might have been heard if there had been ears around to hear it.

                        On balance, if you?re interested in exploring something off the beaten path where the DEC has not yet fully developed the paddler ?infrastructure? then in the Essex Chain is a lot fun. Sure, St. Regis, Lila or Low?s might feel more ?untouched? by humans. But that?s really only because they?ve been within the forest preserve a lot longer than this little gem.

                        Highly recommend.


                        • #27
                          Went there on Sunday. Only two cars arrived after we did and only saw two other boats on water the whole day. Surprised as it was near bluebird skies all day. Swam off the site on North shore on 3rd Lake. Found leeches swimming around us like tiny sharks! Paddled most of the lakes and pulled kayaks around Deer Pond rather than paddling across it on the way back. Will go back again. Long drive in on dirt roads, but they're in decent shape, but that might be what keeps a lot of folks from visiting it perhaps? Camp sites I saw were all unoccupied except for the lean-to on south shore of Third. Chatted with a mountain biker when passing under the culvert. Must be a decent place to ride the trails.
                          Rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


                          • #28
                            Culvert plugged with debris on 7/19/2022.
                            "There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

                            My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal


                            • #29
                              I was able to get through the culvert, but almost tipped over sideways on the debris while holding onto the rope! :-) Just stuck my hand down into the brush to stop the roll.
                              Wish I had a hook of some type, could pull some brush out and open it up some.
                              Rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy