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Old 04-09-2013, 08:28 PM   #1
Zach
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West Canada Lakes from Otter Brook Rd.

I am hoping to get two weeks in the Adirondacks this summer instead of my usual one and I am thinking about doing the loop from Otter Brook Rd. to Cedar and the West Canada lakes and back via Brooktrout Lake and Falls Pond. I couldn't find much reference to this route on this forum, it seemed that most of the threads I found were either about the NPT or coming in from Pillsbury. The ADK guidebook describes the area in some detail, but I am wondering if anyone who has been there would recommend going clockwise or counter- around that route. I also have heard about a road being closed in that area but was not sure if the part that leads from the Moose River Rd to the trailheads has been affected. Any advice will be much appreciated.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
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The road is closed at Squaw Lake, so assuming that everything is open that should be (with budget issues, this is never a 100% guarantee), you should be fine.

The hike in along Otter Brook is ok. It follows an old logging road all the way to Lost Pond and is easy hiking. There's not really much of interest back there, though, except the remnants of some logging equipment near the junction with the Lost Pond Trail.

In the past, the Lost Pond Trail has gotten pretty over grown, although I guess it was recently cut open again by a DEC trail crew.

The lean-to at Brooktrout Lake is pretty neat- it faces a large boulder, against which the fireplace has been constructed.

You didn't say if you're planning on spending the full 2 weeks in this area- the loop is probably a bit short for a trip of that length, unless you also wanted to add side trips to places like Pillsbury Lake, Spruce Lake, etc.

On weekends, Cedar Lakes gets a fair amount of use, and West Lake/South Lake gets a moderate amount of use. Anywhere along the NPT, you can expect to encounter through hikers, although they are usually non-intrusive. They travel in small groups, have no problems making room in shelters for additional occupants, go to bed early, and are packed up and gone by 9 am the next day.

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Old 04-09-2013, 08:45 PM   #3
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I've done 2 variations of that loop, and both times I did it clockwise. There were two reasons: the first 6 miles to the Lost Pond junction aren't too interesting, so I preferred to get them out of the way first; and the last section past Falls Pond is all downhill.

If you extend the loop to include Pillsbury and Sampson, it is one of the best loops in the Adirondacks. If you extend it even further to include Little Moose Lake, then it's all that much better.

There are two road closures in the area. Indian Lake Road is closed near Squaw Lake, so that won't affect you. Also, the driveway to the Otter Brook trailhead was barricaded last summer, but if you are only using one car then you would be walking this section anyway (this is a loop after all).
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:45 PM   #4
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Thank you both very much for your (as always) cogent and helpful responses. I had thought I would be going for my usual one week trip and this year I really wanted to get back to Chimney Mountain and to spend a couple of days in the Five Ponds/Pepperbox area and I didn't figure I would have enough time to do those things and the West Canada loop, so now that I have more time I am thinking of spending three days or so in the West Canada area. I will be traveling on my bicycle, so I may be able to ride the section after the barricade depending on the regulations, or if not I can just hide it near the barricade and walk that part. It does sound like clockwise is the way I will go too, the downhill at the end sounds especially nice. I will plan on visiting Pillsbury and Sampson lakes, they do sound nice from what I have seen in the books and I may get over to Little Moose depending how the time works out.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:02 PM   #5
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I will be traveling on my bicycle, so I may be able to ride the section after the barricade depending on the regulations, or if not I can just hide it near the barricade and walk that part.
You can legally ride a bike on the Otter Brook Trail (from the barricade to the Lost Pond junction) but if you are doing a loop, then there is no point. You would then have to hike 6 miles to retrieve your bike.

As I recall, you are doing a bicycle tour of the Adirondacks, so that is how you will be getting to the trailhead. So you're starting point will most likely be somewhere near the Otter Brook bridge. Just note that the area around that bridge is popular with campers, and that there are a lot of people who just hang out there during the summer. Therefore you will want to choose where you leave your bike carefully.

Last edited by Bill I.; 04-10-2013 at 07:43 AM..
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:30 AM   #6
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Thank you very much. I will be careful where I leave the bike. I don't mind riding however far I need to go on the Lost Pond trail to get to an unoccupied area to hide the bike and then walking the extra distance at the end. I am not sure that it is technically legal to "store property on state land" in that way but it is what I always end up doing when I am going into the woods unless I am doing a day hike from a busy trailhead like Bald Mountain where there are continuously people going in and out.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:46 PM   #7
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The regulations read as follows:

Quote:
c. Upon termination of camping all equipment and supplies must be removed from State land. The storage of personal property on State lands is prohibited.
I would construe this to mean that from a legal perspective, as long as you are still in the woods and actively engaged in your trip, then your bike should be fine. It would be an issue if left the woods and ended your trip and didn't take your bike with you then.

As far as camping on the Otter Brook Truck Trail, your options are pretty limited. There's a campsite at Jimmy Creek but it's less than 150 feet from water and not designated (or at least it wasn't designated several years ago), so it's not a legal site. There's really no other established sites along that trail until you get to Cedar Lakes. The Otter Creek area gets very little use, mostly just hunters in the fall.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:10 PM   #8
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Thank you, that makes sense. I was just remembering the second sentence of your excerpt but I can see that in the context it seems more favorable to what I do. I won't be camping in that area, I am figuring to get to Cedar Lakes for the first night.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:23 PM   #9
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You can legally ride a bike on the Otter Brook Trail (from the barricade to the Lost Pond junction)...
I'm also curious about the conditions for riding a mountain bike on this stretch of trail...
When I was there several years ago it looked pretty good.
Any (more recent) info on blowdown, stream crossings, etc along the way?
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:46 PM   #10
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I'm also curious about the conditions for riding a mountain bike on this stretch of trail...
When I was there several years ago it looked pretty good.
Any (more recent) info on blowdown, stream crossings, etc along the way?
I'm probably the last person who should be asked that question, as I'm still not happy with the way APA chose to designate that trail.

http://adirondackexplorer.org/out-ta...r-plains-plan/

And to be honest, it is really only a "road" anymore as far as Jimmy Creek. Beyond that it maybe was a road 50 years ago, but it's aged a bit since and should be left alone. My last trip through was in 2010. It was fine as a foot trail, but there was small blowdown, some encroaching blowdown, and no bridges anywhere past Jimmy Creek.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:59 PM   #11
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Thank you Bill, and I understand completely.
I'm always in favor of more "Wilderness Areas", and I believe designated Wilderness Areas should always be managed exactly as the SLMP indicates, no exceptions.

I've been curious about riding this stretch of trail (road) ever since reading about it in the Discover book many years ago, still haven't done it yet...maybe this year, we'll see.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:32 PM   #12
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:17 AM   #13
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I am thinking about doing this loop this summer. I am planning on starting out on the Otter Brook trail. I will probably get a late start and will have to camp along the Otter Brook trail. Does anyone know if there is a campsite at Lost Pond?
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:39 PM   #14
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I am thinking about doing this loop this summer. I am planning on starting out on the Otter Brook trail. I will probably get a late start and will have to camp along the Otter Brook trail. Does anyone know if there is a campsite at Lost Pond?
I did this loop last summer as a 2 nighter. People have camped basically right on the trail as it reaches Lost Pond and there was sign of a duff fire. But that area really should not be used for camping. There is no designated site. You could of course find some suitable spot 150' from the pond or trail and camp there. IMO, since you are coming in late in the day, a better spot for this would be near the old logging equipment at the lost pond-otter brook trail junction, or somewhere along otter brook trail before then. I remember the woods being open in spots and most areas are just a short walk to running water.

PS I have lately been bringing a 12" round deep dish pizza pan, stainless steel and 5 oz in weight, that I use as a mobile fire pit. I store it in a thick plastic bag in my pack. That way I don't leave a fire scar, or worse start a duff fire, when utilizing the 150' rule.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:46 PM   #15
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Thanks very much for the dacipkowski. I hammock camp, use a stove and typically don't make a campfire, so your idea of camping (legally) off the trail would probably work well for me. Thanks again.
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