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Old 06-19-2019, 01:26 PM   #1
OMG they killed Kenny!
trent's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Rochester
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Camp sites At Pigeon Lake Wildernes within hiking distance from Big Moose RR?

I started planning a different type of ADK trip. I'm in Rochester. It would be Amtrack to Utica. Adirondack Scenic RR from Utica to Big Moose Station. From Big Moose station, hike ??? to someplace to camp for a couple days. Then do the opposite and go home.

I guess after arriving at Big Moos options are North up Twitchell Rd toward Twitchell Mtn, roads East to hike in toward Contable Ponds/Cubb and Queer Lake, and maybe south to the Fulton Chain Wild Forest (not sure if there's camping there).

I'd like to think I could do 150' away from road/trail/water someplace, but ideally an official, cleared site, water would be nice is what I'm looking for. Is there anywhere close that would be nice without having to go the ~7 miles to Chubb and Queer lakes where I know there's nice sites/leanto.


EDIT: The closest I've found so far are Windfall Pond in Pigeon Lake Wilderness and Razorback Pond in Pigeon Lakes (more closer to Fultain Chain WF though).

Also, DEC says 2 sites on Big Moose lake, but I'm assuming they're access by water and nothing on the South or West shores?

Last edited by trent; 06-19-2019 at 02:03 PM..
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:20 PM   #2
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Windfall has a site, but I don't think it's a legal one. Same with Constable. Woods are very thick in there, a hammock might be the best thing to take.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:52 AM   #3
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Chubb Lake has really nice camp site, is that of of your way?

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Old 06-20-2019, 09:33 AM   #4
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From Big Moose station to Razorback Pond, you are likely looking at about 6 miles, it is 2.5 from the Twitchell Lake Parking lot to the pond, and it is quite a ways up the Twitchell road from the station. There is a campsite at the end of the trial, right on the pond, that at one time had a disc. The disc is gone, I don't know if DEC removed it or it is a victim of vandals. At one time there was a "no baitfish" sign that is gone too, but it is still "no baitfish." It is on the border of the Independence River WF, I think quite a way from FCWF. Bring a deer fly hat!

Big Moose lake is all private on South and West shores, the designated sites are boat access sites.

The last time we hiked into Queer along Windfall, I recall the woods being pretty open to the north of Windfall. There is a site near the beginning of the trial almost at the crossing of Windfall outlet, again I don't recall seeing a disc in a while but I vaguely recall seeing one there some time ago. In terms of the Queer lean to, never assume you will get it, there is almost always someone there, and very few hikers know the rule of sharing lean tos, and back at a lean to is not a good place to convince someone who got there first that you have aright to "cohabitate" with them for a couple of nights.

The easiest spot to get to on your map, again you'll be "150 feeting", but West Pond is a short hike up the Orvis trailhead just south of the Big Moose Glenwood Inn split in the Big Moose road, same trail that eventually goes to Safford Pond. Huge snappers in the pond if you are thinking of skinny dipping!

Just a suggestion, contact the railroad and ask them if there are any spots where they can drop you and pick you back up. They have done this for bikes, and they cross a lot of State Land. Or check with the Old Forge and Inlet Chambers of Commerce about a shuttle driver, the kind of site you are seeking is usually available at Moss Lake, a couple of miles further back toward Eagle Bay than the Windfall trailhead, likely about 8 miles from Big Moose Station.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:34 PM   #5
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I was also interested in something like this (coming from Penn Station), but when I compared the Amtrak and ASR schedules, it appears that the earliest Amtrak train arrives at Utica after the last ASR train leaves. But, I haven't confirmed this. Have you checked their schedules?
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:46 PM   #6
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I would walk the road back to Judson Rd and pick up the north trailhead. From there you can push out to Chub Lake, Pigeon Lake, or loop down to Queer lake. You could also continue south to Cascade Lake.

Chub, Queer and Cascade all have designated sites (Queer is the LT), but there are other legal sites in the area. I actually can't recall if the one at Chub is a marked site... either way, there are sites out there, but being a wilderness area it has a lot less marked.

The north lean-tos from Moose Lake are nice too, but as you speculate, they are all water access. I'm sure there are ways to whack to them from the south, but that area has a lot of low-lying wetlands and some really, really dense old growth forest. I find the trails out there to be trying at times... haha! But usually they are good out to Pigeon at least. Queer and Cascade are pretty well worn.

One warning though, the north trail does (or at least did) suck in wet years. It may be drying up now but early summer on that one can be brutal and you'll find yourself walking in a stream.

I can't advise on the first two southern trails from the Judson Rd trail that head toward Queer, but the far one that goes to Chub is a good trail. I'm sure one of the others is used, but I couldn't tell you which.

All the trails to the south of the Queer lake trail should be pretty clear and easy to follow, they get a fair deal of traffic.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:04 PM   #7
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Years ago I traveled from Queer Lake to Russian Lake by bushwhacking from the north trail over the ridge to Big Moose. It's a pretty easy traverse, the only difficult thing is finding a place to cross the wetlands just north of the trail. The best spot is close to the property line, the further east you go the worse it gets in my experience. I later bushwhacked from the north (Judson Rd) trail over to the Russian trail again and then went on to bushwhack north some more to the trailhead for Andy's Creek and the Sister Lakes. It was my worst day in the Adirondacks so far, involving a lot of peat bog type areas at first and then a beaver meadow crisscrossed by waist deep ditches which I would wade through only to come to open water and have to loop around some more. Chub Lake had a designated site in a very nice place, but I don't know if it's still designated, I haven't been there in 6 or 7 years.

On your map it looks like Safford Pond might be a fairly nearby destination, have you looked into that?
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:51 PM   #8
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Re the whack from the North trail - yeah, Constable creek and then pond, make that a challenge to go north. Constable creek is much easier to cross closer to Judson. I tried to follow the creek and the pond one time but it got pretty thick once you get near Constable Pond. The trail is not far away from either, and a lot of times you can see Constable Creek.
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