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Old 06-09-2020, 05:11 PM   #1
wiiawiwb
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Pharaoh Mtn hike

It's been years since I've hiked Pharaoh Mtn and looking to do it again. I don't know what trailheads and roads are available any more.

Is Crane Pond Road the recommended place to park and begin the hike nowadays? If so, can you park along the road?
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Old 06-09-2020, 05:40 PM   #2
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I was at Crane this past weekend. Lots of people out & about!
I believe Crane Pond Rd is the shortest approach to Pharaoh Mtn, but the road is like it usually is... very bumpy, rocky, wet, & muddy, and the flooded section near Alder Pond is pretty deep & scary, but no problems with high clearance. City cars probably best to park at the outer lot. Met the new AFR Logan. Nice guy! Always good to see DEC keeping an eye on things.
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Old 06-09-2020, 05:57 PM   #3
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The are two state trails to the summit. As mentioned, the first is from Crane Pond. While this area does get crowded, there should be plenty of parking. As Justin mentioned, driving all the way to Crane Pond is not recommended for low clearance vehicles. From the pond, Pharaoh Mountain is a 6 mile round trip. The other approach is from the Brant Lake side via Pharaoh Road (off of Beaver Pond Road). This approach also has a newer parking lot with plenty of spaces. The original parking lot at Mill Brook, a mile further in, requires a high clearance vehicle as it is in very bad shape. From the outer lot this is a 14 mile hike RT.
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Old 06-09-2020, 07:00 PM   #4
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The outer lot at the end of Crane Pond Road makes the round-trip 10 miles. Plenty of parking.

Even if you had a vehicle that could make the drive to the interior lot I would still recommend hiking the full 10. The road walk goes by quickly and there are some neat little waterfalls and things to see along the way. And FWIW there is some dispute over whether that road is even legal.
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Old 06-09-2020, 07:35 PM   #5
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... And FWIW there is some dispute over whether that road is even legal.
Same goes for the Pharaoh Lake Road approach.
The dispute occurred back in the late ‘80s, and these roads have been treated as “drive at your own risk” by DEC ever since no matter what a Judge said.

Last edited by Justin; 06-09-2020 at 08:30 PM..
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Old 06-09-2020, 08:33 PM   #6
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...And FWIW there is some dispute over whether that road is even legal.


Same goes for the Pharaoh Lake Road approach.
The “dispute” occurred way back in the late ‘80s, and these roads have been treated (and still remain) as “drive at your own risk” by DEC ever since, no matter what a Judge said over 30 years ago. Fact.
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Old 06-09-2020, 08:50 PM   #7
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https://www.adksports.com/2020-06-hiking
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Old 06-09-2020, 08:58 PM   #8
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Nice!
I too also remember being inside the fire tower when I was a kid on a day hike from our campsite at Crane. So many great memories, very little (if any) unhappy ones.
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Old 06-09-2020, 09:07 PM   #9
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Same goes for the Pharaoh Lake Road approach.
The dispute occurred back in the late ‘80s, and these roads have been treated as “drive at your own risk” by DEC ever since no matter what a Judge said.
article from 2014 on the history... https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2...is-a-mess.html
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Old 06-09-2020, 09:28 PM   #10
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If my memory serves me, DEC placed huge boulders to block the road then locals came in & moved them out of the way. I remember seeing anti-Cuomo (Mario) graffiti on one of the rocks.
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Old 06-09-2020, 10:34 PM   #11
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article from 2014 on the history... https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2...is-a-mess.html
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If my memory serves me, DEC placed huge boulders to block the road then locals came in & moved them out of the way. I remember seeing anti-Cuomo (Mario) graffiti on one of the rocks.
I remember both very well, Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2020, 08:38 AM   #12
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That's great, many thanks to everyone. Normally, I would do the hike during the week but have a friend who wants to join me and she can only go on the weekend.

Any idea what time in the morning on the weekend I would need to be at Crane Pond Road to find a place to park?
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Old 06-10-2020, 08:42 AM   #13
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The back and forth between the supporters of Crane Pond Road and the NYSDEC got very tense. NYSDEC initially placed rocks blocking the road. The rocks were removed by supporters of the road. DEC put them back and increased the patrolling of the area. Not coincidently a near-by forest fire (small) broke out and the DEC officers were called away to extinguish the fire. When they returned the rocks were gone again. This led to the present stalemate.
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:54 AM   #14
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Any idea what time in the morning on the weekend I would need to be at Crane Pond Road to find a place to park?
Earlier the better obviously but usually parking at the outer lot is not too much of an issue. When it fills up people just start lining up on the side of the road toward the farmhouse.
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Old 06-15-2020, 02:48 PM   #15
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More information about the Pharaoh area here;

https://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=20928
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Old 06-15-2020, 03:46 PM   #16
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On Saturday, I got to the Crane Road parking lot at 7:45am and there was still a dozen cards already there. Four pickups, all of which were lifted, made the journey successfully through the water. The additional walk was no big deal.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-15-2020, 04:53 PM   #17
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On Saturday, I got to the Crane Road parking lot at 7:45am and there was still a dozen cards already there. Four pickups, all of which were lifted, made the journey successfully through the water. The additional walk was no big deal.

Thanks again.
Perhaps if they had all been Bicycle branded ones, people could have ridden them all the way?

Or maybe not.
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Old 06-15-2020, 06:13 PM   #18
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Remember that the dispute became quite heated. On Labor Day weekend, after the rocks had been removed, a group from EarthFirst! staged a sit-in to prevent vehicular traffic past where the rocks had been. A crowd of locals converged on the spot with TV cameras invited along. During the confrontation, one of the EarthFirsters was leveled by a punch from Maynard Baker, one of the local protesters who was the elected supervisor of a nearby town. The end result was that the road has remained open. However, within the year, the non-conforming fire tower on Pharaoh Mt. was deliberately taken down by parties unknown. Payback perhaps?
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Old 06-15-2020, 07:00 PM   #19
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A rare case of where local residents stood up against the state government and actually won.
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Old 06-18-2020, 11:05 PM   #20
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My understanding is that the tower was removed due to vandalism that rendered it unsafe, not due to the wilderness classification. The state had decided to allow the tower to remain (even in spite of the wilderness classification), someone disagreed with that decision and cut two of the legs on the tower. It was dismantled and flown off the summit before it could collapse.

I believe there's more information on the specifics of this story in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness UMP.
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