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Old 04-22-2021, 01:32 PM   #1
Adironzach
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Moose Pond (Newcomb) trail up to Moose Pond Stream Lean-To's

Had a trip fall through last minute and was looking to get a nice sub2500' elevation hike in the woods. My map (NatGeo) shows a trail heading from camp santanoni up to moose pond, continuing along to Shattucks Clearing. My plan was to make it to the Moose Pond Stream Lean-To's on day 1, and then hike out along the NPT down to Long Lake on day 2. Haven't been able to find any information really about the MPS Lean-to's or the section of trail between them and Moose Pond. I was wondering if anyone had any info for me before i head out tomorrow. I know that is is part of the old horse path and can be a bit overgrown at times so not too concerned there. Just more-so the fact that some semblance of a trail exists for me to follow and that the Lean-tos are still standing (i can always continue extra to CR 3&4 if not, but would prefer the MPS lean-to as it splits my days up better)

As always, appreciate the help!
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Old 04-22-2021, 01:53 PM   #2
DSettahr
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The stretch of trail north of Moose Pond to the junction with the Cold River Horse trail (just east of the Moose Pond Stream lean-tos) hasn't gotten much maintenance in recent years. There's a couple of stretches where the old trail is pretty much gone- where there's just about zero sign of any tread whatsoever. There also is some blowdown but this aspect at least isn't too bad. This is a long, lonely, and remote route that gets extremely little use.

FWIW, someone from the DEC did go through and put up a few new trail markers along this trail a couple of seasons ago- but they are few and far between. They did also put up wooden arrow signs at two of the more confusing junctions where the old logging road branches. But I'd still go with the expectation that this will be a navigational challenge. Carry a topo map and compass and be prepared to put them to use.

The Moose Pond Stream lean-tos are still standing and are in good shape. The trail from there over to Shattuck Clearing is also in pretty good shape.

There's also two nice designated tent sites on the south shore of Moose Pond, at the end of the spur trail that leads down to the pond. One is right on the shore, the other is set back from the pond at the edge of the obvious clearing where the spur trail terminates.

Edit: Moose Pond. Not Mouse Pond. Stupid autocorrect.

Last edited by DSettahr; 04-22-2021 at 02:12 PM..
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Old 04-22-2021, 04:14 PM   #3
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Much appreciated. Thanks for the info. Iíll definitely have a map and compass with me and hopefully will be able to borrow a friends GPS system for some added insurance. Based on the map, looks like it should only be 5-6 miles of the difficult trail so Iíll make sure to build in some extra time in case it gets really thick on me. I am very excited for this adventure though. A long walk in the woods without seeing anyone (or very few people) is exactly what Iím looking for. Gotta enjoy it while I can before the warm weather hikers all come back out


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Old 04-22-2021, 05:36 PM   #4
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It's not so much that the forest gets "thick." There's a few brushy spots but generally it's not too bad in this regard.

Rather, it's just that the trail simply doesn't exist in spots. In fact, the section where there's no discernable tread whatsoever is through a stretch of forest with a fairly open understory from what I recall. My memory pegs this stretch as being maybe a half mile in length, so not super long but long enough to get yourself into trouble if you're not paying attention (or not good with navigating with GPS and/or map and compass).

And also there's a few old spur logging roads that can suck you off the main route. But like I said, the two worst offending intersections that were previously unmarked did get arrow signs a couple of years ago.

If you want a thickly overgrown trail, though, the Cold River Horse Trail to the north definitely fits that criteria.
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Old 04-22-2021, 06:43 PM   #5
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I sat down with the map and wrote up a more detailed list of conditions based on my memory from my last trip through there (summer 2019):

From the Santanoni Gatehouse to the turn off with the direct route to Moose Pond is in excellent shape- this stretch is maintained for administrative motor vehicle access as well as horse-drawn carriage/cart access to Great Camp Santanoni on Newcomb Lake. The public is welcome to hike and ride bikes also.

From there to Moose Pond itself is in decent shape- there is some moderate blowdown but the route otherwise is a wide old road. Things start to get a bit brushy the closer you get to Moose Pond but the route is never not obvious. As previously mentioned, the short side trip down to Moose Pond is worth the added distance- this is a very pretty and (seemingly) remote body of water that gets few visitors.

North of Moose Pond is where the fun really begins. The trail does get brushy and there are some decent blowdowns, but the route follows an old logging road at least as far as Calahan Brook and the route is obvious until that point. There is a designated tent site at Ermine Brook, but it's not the greatest site ever. It's basically a grassy clearing about 100 feet north of the Ermine Brook crossing that the trail passes right through the middle of.

Between Calahan Brook and the junction with the Cold River Horse Trail is where things really get dicey. The trail leaves the old logging road (or the logging road ends, I've never been able to figure out either way on any of the 4 times I've hiked through here). It then joins another old logging road at one of the aforementioned newly-signed junctions. It then passes through the other newly-signed junction. On the north side of the hill due east of the crossing of Moose Pond Stream (where the lean-tos are located) is the stretch where the tread pretty much entirely disappears.

Once you hit the junction with the Cold River Horse Trail, it's pretty much smooth sailing from there- you're on a well-established old logging road all the way up to Shattuck Clearing.

If you're thinking about adding on the side trip down the Cold River from Shattuck Clearing to Pine Point, be aware that this trail is really well overgrown and gets super brushy in spots- it's just about gone in quite a few sections.

The NPT does have some beaver meadows to deal with between Shattuck Clearing and Long Lake. There is at least 1 reroute around one of the meadows, but FWIW I was able to hike through the meadow on dry ground the last time I went through there (spring 2020).

The trail along Long Lake tends to stay back pretty far from the lake- to get good views you have to take side trails out to the lean-to sites spread along the shoreline. Some of these side trails are marked and obvious, others... not so much. I think the motorboat crowd that frequents these lean-tos in the summer has a bad habit of tearing down lean-to signs when they are posted on the NPT itself to try to cut down on the number of hikers who come wandering into "their" campsites looking for space to stay.

If you had an extra night I'd suggest going by way of Newcomb Lake rather than cutting straight up to Moose Pond. Great Camp Santanoni is pretty neat and worth a visit, and there's a bunch of fairly nice designated tent sites located on the southeast shore of Newcomb Lake in the vicinity of the great camp. The two lean-tos on Newcomb Lake are also really nice. However, I will add that the cross-over trail connecting the north end of Newcomb Lake with the direct trail to Moose Pond is also in pretty rough shape. Someone from the DEC put up new markers on this also a few years ago but there's nevertheless a few spots here and there where it can be a real challenge to follow.
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Old 04-23-2021, 01:20 AM   #6
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Wow. Thanks so much for the detailed breakdown. Chalk full of useful information. Much much appreciated. Will make sure to let you know how it goes!


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Old 04-24-2021, 08:46 PM   #7
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I hiked that stretch around memorial day last year. It was certainly hard to follow at many points but not nearly as overgrown as I thought it would be.

I remember the stretch that DSettahr is talking about where the road tread disappears. Either the trail leaves the road for a while or the road is just gone. Lots of logging roads in that area. I do remember seeing some flagging in that area.

I didn't see another soul for two days...
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Old 04-27-2021, 01:43 PM   #8
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Had an awesome overnight trip so thanks again for the tips and descriptions, they were definitely useful. I only saw a group of 3 on the hike out along the NPT so the mission was successful to get out and away. The trail out was much easier to follow than expected. I recognized the area you mentioned where trail was tough to follow, however somebody had marked it with an occasional red marker on a few branches in between the actual markers. It wasnt really challenging at all to follow with the addition of those extra marks. There was a fair amount of blow down once i passed Moose Pond but it wasnt too bad to navigate. This trail would be much harder to follow in the heart of summer though (although there looked like a couple really cool swimming holes along calahan brook).

Moose Pond Stream LT was an awesome place to camp. I really enjoyed the site they had. Two LT's there and the stream was gorgeous. I didnt see any garbage either which is always a huge plus.

Unfortunately, i was running a little later than i wanted too on friday so i did not end up checking out newcomb lake/ Camp Santanoni so i will have to be back then. I hope the guys who dragged a canoe out to Moose Pond ended up catching some brookies too.

All in all i logged 31-32 miles (my gps turned off on me twice and i lost some distance) in 10 hours of moving time. Really pleased with myself as it was my first solo trip and also longest ive hiked on consecutive days with a full pack. A great barometer for planning my next few trips
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Old 04-27-2021, 04:22 PM   #9
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Great job! So you went from Newcomb to Moose Pond Stream Lean-tos and then the NPT to Long Lake?
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Old 04-27-2021, 09:06 PM   #10
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Yeah, Callahan Brook is neat. On one of my trips through there I spent a little bit of time poking around upstream of the crossing. Seemed like maybe there was a faint herd path along the north shore but given how little use the area gets, it was almost certainly something used by wildlife rather than humans.
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Old 04-28-2021, 04:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuctTape View Post
Great job! So you went from Newcomb to Moose Pond Stream Lean-tos and then the NPT to Long Lake?

Yes I did! Great little half loop if youíve got a ride back from LL to Camp Santanoni.


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Old 04-28-2021, 04:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
Yeah, Callahan Brook is neat. On one of my trips through there I spent a little bit of time poking around upstream of the crossing. Seemed like maybe there was a faint herd path along the north shore but given how little use the area gets, it was almost certainly something used by wildlife rather than humans.

Lots of wildlife on this route. I bushwhacked a little around MPSLT and saw more moose scat that Iíve ever seen in my life. I Easily encountered 50+ piles. Lots of other kinds of scat too and followed what I assume was a coyote for a while. It was kicking the dirt back along sections of the trail.



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Old 04-28-2021, 04:24 PM   #13
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Lots of wildlife on this route. I bushwhacked a little around MPSLT and saw more moose scat that Iíve ever seen in my life. I Easily encountered 50+ piles. Lots of other kinds of scat too and followed what I assume was a coyote for a while. It was kicking the dirt back along sections of the trail.



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Only had videos of them so took a couple screenshots to show the ground disturbance.


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