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Old 02-07-2020, 12:13 PM   #21
montcalm
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Hello all,

Wondering if anyone on the forum has any experience hiking into Raquette Lake from big moose via West Mountain. I’m looking to make a short backpacking trip thru hike of the trail starting at the Judson Road in Big Moose Lake and finishing on Uncas Road in Raquette.

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Technically you can do this as a day hike, but it's pretty rugged, so my suggestion is to go slow and enjoy the nicer spots.

My rec is do a night at Chub or Queer, then hike out past Pigeon to Otter Pond and spend another night there. It's very close to the west side of West Mt, so it gives you the opportunity to get up there early in the morning and watch the sun come up over Raquette.

There's no designated site at Otter, but you'll find a place to land.

You could also do it as an overnight and stay at either Chub or Queer. Those are the best formal accommodations in that area, but pushing out to Pigeon or Otter has its advantages - mainly you're unlikely to see anyone out there.

Parking would be best at Windfall but I have parked overnight at the boat launch on Moose with no issue. And I'm told you can park overnight on Higby by Judson Rd.

You could even park South at Cascade and hike up that way. There's no real wrong way and not that many marked trails.
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:47 PM   #22
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Having tried all three approaches to the Queer Lake area (though I was parking a bicycle not a car, so I was able to hide it in the woods once I reached state land at the Judson Rd trailhead) I prefer coming in from Cascade Lake. It's a bit longer but much prettier in my opinion. The Judson Rd area is a mess at first, the 'trail' doubles back on itself, joins and then quickly departs from a couple of private roads as I recall, and generally requires constant attention to the map or guidebook. Then once you get into the woods properly the surface had (6 years ago, last time I was there) a lot of very rotten corduroy which is slippery in places and lets you fall through to the mud beneath in others. There are some pretty spots I recall on the way in by Windfall Pond, but the climb from Cascade up over the hill to the Windfall Pond-Queer Lake trail has really nice rock formations whichever arm of the V you choose. There's lots of parking at Windfall Pond and Cascade Lake, though when I was biking I would hide the bike at the old Cascade Lake trailhead, on a blind curve about 4/10 mile back toward Eagle Bay. It makes the hike a little shorter and only cuts off the part of the trail that is paralleling the road anyway.
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Old 02-07-2020, 07:20 PM   #23
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I was thinking about parking at windfall and staying at queer lake lean-to. However, is Judson being gated new? Right now itís a snowmobile trail and in the fall last year we parked on the side of the judson road at the hermitage trail. It wasnít overnight though.


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Judson Rd is private, and closed to motor vehicles, unless you have property on the road. the gate (which is actually a chain) is open so the property owners can get to their camps. hiking is allowed on the road to trailheads.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:01 PM   #24
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If you are considering a hike through Eagle Bay stop in at the Screamen Eagle best selection of craft beers and best pizza in the park! Say hello to Matt, the owner. You can't miss him. Just a humble referral.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:07 PM   #25
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If you are considering a hike through Eagle Bay stop in at the Screamen Eagle best selection of craft beers and best pizza in the park! Say hello to Matt, the owner. You can't miss him. Just a humble referral.


Best wings in the park, and maybe out of it too!!


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Old 02-07-2020, 11:06 PM   #26
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"Best wings in the park, and maybe out of it too!!"


Amen
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:14 PM   #27
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Then once you get into the woods properly the surface had (6 years ago, last time I was there) a lot of very rotten corduroy which is slippery in places and lets you fall through to the mud beneath in others.
That section sucks - and it's cord and hewn two-stringer bridges, which are slippery as hell. That trail is quite wet.

The whole traverse is quite wet. You really only get out of the lowlands in a few sections and on West Mt.

I would generally always expect it to be pretty thick between Pigeon Lake and the west side of West Mt. Unless you catch it right after a maintenance cycle, it's gonna fill in pretty quick.
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Old 02-08-2020, 12:50 PM   #28
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If you are considering a hike through Eagle Bay stop in at the Screamen Eagle best selection of craft beers and best pizza in the park! Say hello to Matt, the owner. You can't miss him. Just a humble referral.
Maybe I'll start/end on the other side (near Brown's Tract) so that I can take advantage of some cold draft beer in the middle of the trip...
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:03 PM   #29
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I haven't hiked this trail yet but it's been on my "to hike" list for a while. Every resource I've found concerning the current condition of the trail has indicated that it has become increasingly tough to follow over the past decade or so.
First time I hiked it was 25 years ago and it was VERY hard to follow then. It's probably been cleared once in that time.

Can you not get a beer at Raquette Lake Tap Room anymore?

You could do that trip in two days, but it wouldn't be fun. The southern trails in MRPWF you mention are not bad and you can do those in a day, in fact, I probably would.

There used to be a nice lean to on the North shore of 8th Lake, but it must have burned some time ago. I was there a couple years ago and it looked like it was never there - just a small, overgrown clearing. I would have recommended that as the return trip stop, but there are also some lean-tos on the North side of 7th lake that are OK.

I'd do what Zach recommends and start at Cascade - you'll have much less road hiking, just a short stretch along Rte 28 and Big Moose Rd from the Black Bear Mountain trail.

You could go either way, but I would start heading into PLW first. I'd get as close as I could to West on that first shot. Pigeon Lake and maybe even shortly past Chub to the west side of West's summit is going to be a marked bushwhack with a lot of lowland traverse, spruce swamps, etc... It's not a well designed trail...

Second day hike up over West and into town - it's a good huff but you can be there before lunch and have a beer. It's still a good hoof to those LT's on 7th though, but your third day will be a short hike back to the car, and easy to make the side trip up Black Bear mountain. The north trail is a really easy ascent and while the views aren't spectacular, the mountain top is really nice to explore with lots of blueberry meadows (I assume this is how it got its name - if I were a hungry bear, I'd be up there).

I'd def recommend it though, it's good trip. I've done it before but slightly different than I described, but if I was going to do it again, that's what I'd do.

Last edited by montcalm; 02-08-2020 at 09:48 PM..
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:57 AM   #30
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"Best wings in the park, and maybe out of it too!!"


Amen
I'm gonna have to agree with you all. Man are they some awesome wings! Have yet to try a flavor I didn't like.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:11 AM   #31
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If you are considering a hike through Eagle Bay stop in at the Screamen Eagle best selection of craft beers and best pizza in the park! Say hello to Matt, the owner. You can't miss him. Just a humble referral.
Screamin' Eagle is in Inlet, and would involve an additional two miles of road hiking from the Uncas Road, or addition of the trip over Black Bear Mountain.

"Best Pizza in the Park" should not be interpreted as meaning good pizza, although theirs has improved over the years!
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:14 AM   #32
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"Best wings in the park, and maybe out of it too!!"


Amen
If you want wings in that section of the Mountains, just down the South Shore Road from Inlet is the Red Dog Tavern, home of the original Nuclear Waste and Armegeddon hot sauces.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:30 AM   #33
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First time I hiked it was 25 years ago and it was VERY hard to follow then. It's probably been cleared once in that time.

Can you not get a beer at Raquette Lake Tap Room anymore?

You could do that trip in two days, but it wouldn't be fun. The southern trails in MRPWF you mention are not bad and you can do those in a day, in fact, I probably would.

There used to be a nice lean to on the North shore of 8th Lake, but it must have burned some time ago. I was there a couple years ago and it looked like it was never there - just a small, overgrown clearing. I would have recommended that as the return trip stop, but there are also some lean-tos on the North side of 7th lake that are OK.

I'd do what Zach recommends and start at Cascade - you'll have much less road hiking, just a short stretch along Rte 28 and Big Moose Rd from the Black Bear Mountain trail.

You could go either way, but I would start heading into PLW first. I'd get as close as I could to West on that first shot. Pigeon Lake and maybe even shortly past Chub to the west side of West's summit is going to be a marked bushwhack with a lot of lowland traverse, spruce swamps, etc... It's not a well designed trail...

Second day hike up over West and into town - it's a good huff but you can be there before lunch and have a beer. It's still a good hoof to those LT's on 7th though, but your third day will be a short hike back to the car, and easy to make the side trip up Black Bear mountain. The north trail is a really easy ascent and while the views aren't spectacular, the mountain top is really nice to explore with lots of blueberry meadows (I assume this is how it got its name - if I were a hungry bear, I'd be up there).

I'd def recommend it though, it's good trip. I've done it before but slightly different than I described, but if I was going to do it again, that's what I'd do.
The Tap room is still open, but if you were heading back to the start, it would be a bit of a detour. However, the OP wanted to end up in Raquette, so it would be the place to go. But DSetthar was describing a loop, and instead of taking a left at Beaver Brook and walking a mile or more out of the way to get to Raquette Lake, a right takes you back to Uncas Rd at Upper Brown's Tract Pond. If a hiker did opt to head into Raquette Lake, they could return to Uncas Rd at Upper Brown's Tract Pond by walking the old RR Grade back behind the Post Office. This is a pretty hike along Brown's Tract Inlet, I do it most year's with my wife as her knees do not allow steep elevation changes anymore, and we can see almost as much "nature" on that level walk as in Ferd's Bog, which requires a descent in and an ascent out.

From The DEC Webgsite on MRP:
"Eighth Lake Lean-tos (2) - One lean-to is located along on the western shore of lake and can only be accessed by water. The other lean-to is located at the northern end of the lake and can be accessed via the Mike Norris Trail near where it joins the canoe carry." It is possible to connect with this trail from the RR grade at the point where it crossed Brown's Tract Inlet. The Lean-to on the Island at Eighth has been removed but the North Shore structure was still plainly visible from the point off 28 across the lake last summer. But I have only ever visited by boat, and my Raddison is getting a little heavy
for carrying down the hill off 28, and every time we do, a storm blows in and we don't get to use the boats anyway.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:04 PM   #34
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@Lucky13 - do you know what the condition of the trail is between the north shore of Eighth Lake and Bug Lake? I'm sort of assuming it's a snowmobile trail and is probably less than ideal for hiking but it would be a few miles at most. The DEC website shows it as a hiking/snowmobile trail; the National Geographic maps show it as a minimally-maintained path.

I had known that the DEC had plans to remove the Eighth Lake island lean-to but hadn't heard that they'd yet done so. Makes sense in any case- small islands like that make for horrible campsites from an impact standpoint, as there is much less surface area of land to support the site. A lean-to on a small island is worse yet. Naturally, the DEC is still showing the lean-to on all of it's official maps- including both the MRPWF map and the general DECInfo site.

I've already stayed in the lean-to on the north shore of Eighth Lake. I was thinking about spending one night at the second lean-to on Eighth Lake on the west shore (and bushwhacking along the shore to reach it). Alternatively, I'd continue to the junction north of Bug lake and take a side trip south on the trail to Seventh Lake and stay in one of those lean-tos.
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:28 PM   #35
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Screamin' Eagle is in Inlet, and would involve an additional two miles of road hiking from the Uncas Road, or addition of the trip over Black Bear Mountain.

"Best Pizza in the Park" should not be interpreted as meaning good pizza, although theirs has improved over the years!
Screamen Eagle 172 Rt 28, Eagle Bay, NY 13331
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:54 PM   #36
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Screamin' Eagle is in Inlet, and would involve an additional two miles of road hiking from the Uncas Road, or addition of the trip over Black Bear Mountain.

"Best Pizza in the Park" should not be interpreted as meaning good pizza, although theirs has improved over the years!
Please read the statement directly below this sentence.
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:12 PM   #37
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Well I must be mistaken.

I stayed at the North lean-to by hiking from Windfall Pond TH through Pigeon Lakes and through Raquette Lake Village, and down Canoe Carry, I guess. This was 25 years ago when I stayed there, so maybe my memory is foggy.

I was there a couple years ago, on 8th lake with a canoe and on the North Shore I didn't see the LT. I guess I thought I remember it being down on a beach, perhaps it's not?

I have no beta on the trail from where canoe carry the Bug Lake/Uncas trail, but I do faintly remember seeing the intersection North of Bug when I last was on the trail. It didn't look like it had been lost - no idea what it looks like on the other side or in the middle.
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:16 PM   #38
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Screamen Eagle 172 Rt 28, Eagle Bay, NY 13331
172 Route 28, Inlet, NY 13360-1604

That's the address I get.

And it's definitely in the village of Inlet. Eagle bay is about 2 miles west.


I think the detours people mentioned didn't necessarily involve the shortest route for a loop, but potential destinations i.e. the lean tos on 7th lake are a couple miles off of the shortest loop. But I guess a moot point if the 8th North is still there
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Old 02-11-2020, 05:11 PM   #39
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Last time I was on 8th Lake was a few years ago, but at that time the lean to was there. It was on the north shore just a very short distance east of the island. As I recall it was visible from the water but not right on the beach, though there was a beach along at least part of the shoreline in front of it.

I'm not much of an eating out person so I don't have personal experience, but according to its own web site Screamen Eagle is in Inlet, near the corner of South Shore Rd and 28. Although if the geographical data of the proprietors is as novel as their spelling they may be mistaken about their location, I suppose.

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Old 02-11-2020, 06:25 PM   #40
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Screamen Eagle is literally right over the inlet in Inlet. It's impossible to miss, it's a big red building on the corner of the intersection of Rt 28 and South Shore Rd.

I gotta be honest, I never had a meal I liked there, but to each their own. As for wings, I'd be much happier at the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake But that's a little more out of the way for the proposed trip

I think my LT recollection is a is mis-memory. Must be. I have no idea how I failed to see it in my recent visit. I guess I just remember the sandy beaches.

https://www.cnyhiking.com/DunningLeanTo.htm

Edit: That link also shows a trail to the west LT. I'd be surprised if there isn't at least a well worn herd path, that area gets a lot of traffic.

The trail from Eighth lake to Uncas Rd by Bug Lake is very active, and in very good shape, even in the summer. It's wide in some areas, in others it's a grassy single track, but I hiked and rode it, and I saw many others as well.

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