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Old 01-24-2013, 09:19 AM   #10
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 18
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
Ok, now that I've got time to really think it out, here are some of my favorite multi-day loop trails in the Adirondacks:

Expedition-Length Loops (more than a weekend to complete):
  • Cranbery Lake 50: 50 miles through some of the more remote terrain the Adirondacks have to offer. It's pretty much all flat hiking, so it's easy to do long days distance-wise. It is becoming more and more popular as more people find out about it, though, and it obviously gets more use than it used to before the loop was finished. Most people can complete it in 3 or 4 days, which means they only need to take 1 or 2 days off of work, so it's a popular weekend trail. I would go mid-week if you can. Especially avoid the campsites located right on Cranberry Lake- they are all accessible by motorboat and are very popular.

    If you want to make it tougher, there are numerous side trails you can add. The Five Ponds, Wolf Pond, and Cage Lake get very little use and make a great side trip. Sand Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes I've visited in the Adirondacks but it gets slightly more use as it's an easy bushwhack from the Bryant Pond trailhead. The trail to Big Deer Pond has been re-opened, and it's possible to hike all the way to the put in at the end of the Oswegatchie Headwaters Canoe Carry. Grass Pond can easily be reached via the canoe carry from South Bay, and is one of my favorite spots in the Adirondacks to Camp out. The Dog Pond trail passes through some really neat old growth stands. And finally, Burntbridge Pond is another excellent destination that gets very little use.

  • Seward Range Circumnavigation: Same as what Cold River Bob mentioned. It's a 30 mile loop in the Western Adirondacks, through the most remote terrain in the Adirondacks- the Cold River is the furthest you can get form a road. The Calkins Brook and Ward Brook areas are very popular with backpackers who are hiking the Seward Range, so avoid these spots. The rest of the loop gets very little use, except for through hikers on the Northville-Placid trail, but they tend to have very little impact. Be sure especially not to miss Duck Hole- even with the dam out, it's still a beautiful destination.

    If you want to make it tougher, come from Lake Placid, Long Lake, Upper Works, or (my favorite approach) Newcomb Lake. Newcomb Lake is beautiful, has some really nice campsites, and the whole loop is 60+ miles if you go in and out this way. You could also take side trips down the horse trail on the south side of the Cold River, or on the trail to Bradley Pond. The first 4 miles of the Bradley Pond trail south of Duck Hole is one of my favorite trails in the Adirondacks- beautiful hiking on an old logging road through boreal forests and swamps. The last mile to Bradley Pond is for red-liners only- it's horrendously washed out and treacherous. You could also add an ascent of some or all of the peaks in the Seward Range to further increase the difficulty of this trip.
Weekend Loops (can easily be completed in a weekend):
  • Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Loop: There is a loop around the interior of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness that can easily be completed in one weekend. Pharaoh Lake, Oxshoe Pond, Rock Pond, Clear Pond, and Grizzle Ocean are all beautiful destinations. It's a shorter loop, but don't let that fool you- the area is pretty rocky and rugged. This area can be very popular, though, so if you can go mid-week, that's the time to visit the Pharaoh Lakes. If not, at least be sure to avoid camping at Oxshoe Pond and Pharaoh Lake- both get heavy use. Pharaoh Lake is the most popular destination in the Adirondacks outside of the High Peaks.

    To make this trip tougher, you could add an ascent of either Pharaoh Mountain or Treadway Mountain. Both have views that are well worth the ascent. If you're up for some bushwhacking, the Devil's Washdish approach to Treadway Mountain is an especially nice hike. Even better, incorporate the Springhill Ponds and Berrymill Ponds trails into your loop- both of these trails get very little use and receive minimal maintenance, and are sure to provide an adventure.

  • West Canada Lakes Loop: Starting and ending at the Pillsbury Mountain trailhead, this 20 mile loop will let you see the heart of the West Canada Lakes- one of my favorite places in the Adirondacks. Much of this area gets little use, especially South and West Lakes, both of which are beautiful camping destinations.

    If you want to make this loop tougher, you can add side trips to Spruce and Brooktrout Lakes- or even incorporate the Otter Creek Truck Trail into your loop.
If you'd like further information on any of these trips, feel free to ask.
are these loops all marked trails, sections of bushwhacking, etc?
mrsmileyns is offline   Reply With Quote