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Old 01-21-2013, 11:58 PM   #1
clearshot798
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Question Multi-Day Backpacking Loops

Im looking for a few good multi-day loops to do this spring . . . i can usually cover 15 to 20 miles easy a day more if I wanna push it ... i prefer more strenuous hikes and definitely the more remote the better . . any suggestions?
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:36 AM   #2
DSettahr
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FYI, In a normal season, you're gong to still be on snowshoes in most of the Adirondacks until at least well into April...

Off the top of my head, the Cranberry Lake 50 might be exactly what you're looking for- a 50 mile loop trail around Cranberry Lake, that passes through some of the more remote sections of the Adirondacks.

I'll post more today after work.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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+1 on the Cranberry Lake 50. I am planning to go in late May and hike it over 3 days. DSettahr, do you have any tips or anything we should know about hiking the trail?
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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I've done Calkinsbrook to the Npt tril to Wardbrook then out to Corey's. That section is one of the most remote on the trail along the river, Hawk will agree with me on that. Just take your time an enjoy the views.

I'm going to be in there as soon as the gate is open in May.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:41 PM   #5
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+1 on the Corey's loop. Many other side spurs to add to it as well, including a few peaks if desired.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cold River Bob View Post
I've done Calkinsbrook to the Npt tril to Wardbrook then out to Corey's. That section is one of the most remote on the trail along the river, Hawk will agree with me on that. Just take your time an enjoy the views.

I'm going to be in there as soon as the gate is open in May.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:27 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:12 PM   #8
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other loop options are in the HadeRonDah Wilderness. This can gets into some remote sections too if you do the northern section heading towards and along Lost Creek. One loop idea here is to start/end at the parking area on Rt 28. Hike to Middle Settlement lake (nice spot, but lots of use), you can go directly there, or take the long route via Brown's Tract trail. Then to Pine lake, and to Otter Lake, then Lost creek to East Pond, little simon, to Middle Branch. Along the way you can hike to the old firetower spot on Moose river Mtn. From Middle Branch to Cedar and return to brown's Tract Trail. This can be a 25-30 mile trip depending on where you decide to camp and side trips.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:22 PM   #9
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Cranberry Lake is a must, wish I had the time to do more of it myself. There are more bears in the wilds over there then I prefer but if you take precautions everything should be fine. Didn't mean to interject, but I agree.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
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?
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:05 AM   #11
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are these loops all marked trails, sections of bushwhacking, etc?
now that i have my nat geo map as opposed to the adk map I can see the trails for the seward circumnavigation loop much more clearly. I suppose, as another poster suggested, you could work a peak(s) of the Seward range into this trip as well?
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsmileyns View Post
now that i have my nat geo map as opposed to the adk map I can see the trails for the seward circumnavigation loop much more clearly. I suppose, as another poster suggested, you could work a peak(s) of the Seward range into this trip as well?
Yep, all of the loops I mentioned are marked 100% of the way. And yes, with some careful planning, it wouldn't be hard to include some (or all) of the Sewards into the Seward Range circumnavigation. If you were really ambitious, you could include the Santanonis too, via the trail from Duck Hole to Bradley Pond.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:29 PM   #13
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Yep, all of the loops I mentioned are marked 100% of the way. And yes, with some careful planning, it wouldn't be hard to include some (or all) of the Sewards into the Seward Range circumnavigation. If you were really ambitious, you could include the Santanonis too, via the trail from Duck Hole to Bradley Pond.
thank you - after reading this thread and looking at the map I am pretty psyched to do this loop in may or september. Some of the other routes you described look great too. I am working on the 46 but there is so much to see in the ADK's to limit it to just peakbagging the 46 would be selling the park and myself short.
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:08 PM   #14
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To add to the Cranberry Lake 50, there are also two small peaks there, Bear and Cat Mountains which give spectacular views of the lakes and surrounding areas. I did the loop 2 years ago.

Also, the Wannakeena bridge was just destroyed due to the ice jam, the trail followed this bridge. There is a road bridge to get across the river, but not sure if and when the foot-bridge will be rebuilt or when the road-bridge will get trail markers.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:01 PM   #15
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Seward Range Circumnavigation

Does anyone have a digitized map of the Seward Range Circumnavigation loop mentioned above or specific trail names. Sounds like a great trip!
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:48 AM   #16
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Check out your National Geographic maps, It will tell you all you want to know. Map 742
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:13 AM   #17
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hojo, attached is a quick & dirty map -- no legend, hopefully it's self explanatory. The Nat Geo maps are excellent and recommended but this gives a pretty basic idea.
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File Type: pdf Seward Loop.pdf (715.1 KB, 195 views)
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:06 PM   #18
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Question Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Loop dog friendly?

Howdy -

I am interested in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Loop (Pharaoah Lk to Oxshoe Pond to Rock Pond to Clear Pond to Grizzle Ocean) - and will have my four legged labrador friend with me. He is a great hiker (distance), but no mountain goat. Any advice on if there are sections we might struggle with along the loop? Peace!
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:23 PM   #19
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Howdy -

I am interested in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Loop (Pharaoah Lk to Oxshoe Pond to Rock Pond to Clear Pond to Grizzle Ocean) - and will have my four legged labrador friend with me. He is a great hiker (distance), but no mountain goat. Any advice on if there are sections we might struggle with along the loop? Peace!
It really depends on how far you intend to go each day.

The Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area looks pretty tame on the map, but you should be warned that there are a lot of small ups and downs that don't show up on topographic maps of the area that do add up over time. On top of that, some sections of trail are rocky, requiring a certain level of nimbleness and balance. It's not like the trails are super rugged or difficult, but they are a bit more moderately rugged than many people expect. As long as you're not doing super long days, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

You should also be warned that Pharaoh Lake is a very popular backcountry destination and is likely to be crowded on any weekend, and even gets a fair amount of mid-week use. Definitely have backup plans in mind if you plan to camp there, in case the site you want is occupied.

You might find this post I made a while ago informative:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
I've put together a map showing all the lean-tos and campsites on the lake. Markers A through F are Lean-tos #1 through #6, respectively. The rest of the markers, G through Q, are the designated tent sites. Here is the link to the map: http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=43.80465,...0Mountain%20NY
As I posted above, Oxshoe Pond can also be popular, since it is only a 1 mile hike in from Crane Pond if you have a high clearance vehicle.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:09 PM   #20
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+2 on the CL50!
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