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Old 06-02-2019, 07:56 PM   #21
Bagadeez04
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The other way to Horn lake is from the south, at North Lake. There is an access road on the west side of the lake to a large cleared parking lot on the north side of North Lake, but I have heard there is a washout part way along this spring. It is a good trail to get to a bushwhack, leaving the trail at Ice Cave Mountain, but pleasurable and very doable with a good bit of terrain association navigation to lead you to Horn and beyond. I've made that trek a few times, including a SAR incident in there.
Thanks, that's probably going to be the route I have to take. I'm also considering an option of bushwacking down from Rock Dam to Stink/Balsam Lake area, and going to Horn from there, or just staying put at one of those lakes. Any experience in that area?

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Old 06-02-2019, 08:44 PM   #22
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Thanks, that's probably going to be the route I have to take. I'm also considering an option of bushwacking down from Rock Dam to Stink/Balsam Lake area, and going to Horn from there, or just staying put at one of those lakes. Any experience in that area?

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Yes, been there too, all with a Hornbeck on my back (on my way to Plattsburgh from Boonville). There is an old ghost logging trail heading north from the north shore of Balsam Lake, circling from around the west end. From there the faint trail (more of a bushwhack) takes you to the east of Stink Lake and toward Rock Dam.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:52 AM   #23
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The backcountry site for the southwest Section dos not mention the road washout by North Lake this week, so they may have repaired it. http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/106197.html

There was a family from Fulton NY that had a camp near Limekiln that told me they used to go into Balsam from Rock Dam and had an illegal deer camp back there. But some years the Rock Dam road stays closed as long as the Indian Lake Road does.

There is also a trail to Squaw that starts at Beaver Lake, and would be accessible now, but it gets very little use, Gary Lee is the one who told me about it and he said he had done it a couple of times.

No matter where you start, Horn is very remote. Good luck if you try it, and you can check on the status of the roads on the above page for South West and this one for West Central, they update these pretty much weekly. http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9200.html
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:02 AM   #24
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There was a family from Fulton that had a small camp on the Limekiln Road that told me about the Rock Dam route, they apparently had an illegal hunting camp back near Balsam and used that trail to get there and other places back when the bridge over the Moose was out. But the road to Rock Dam often stays closed as long as the Indian Lake Road, and it would be a fair hike from the Red River bridge on the main road to the Rock Dam trailhead.

There is also a trail, faint, from Beaver Lake to Squaw Lake. Gary Lee told me about that one when the road was closed at the Moose back a few years ago (lack of NYS $ for maintenance, this is when the towns stepped up), he said he had hiked it and it was not easy, but it made Squaw accessible with out walking the road.

The Backcountry information page for southwest does not mention the washout on the North Lake Road this week, so maybe it has been repaired. http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/106197.html

To keep checking on the MRP roads status, here is the link for West Central. http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9200.html
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:03 AM   #25
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I mistakenly hit the arrow to back out when I wrote the first post and it did not show up as submitted, so I wrote the second one. Now they are showing. I used to work for the Department of Redundancy Department, sorry!
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:52 AM   #26
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Lucky you read my mind, my next question was going to be how I can find out if the road to North end of North Lake is drivable, because I'm pretty much set on taking the approach from there (would that road be included in DEC info being that it's on an easement? ).

Any idea where exactly that parking area is on the lake, or is it pretty obvious when you're up there?

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Old 06-03-2019, 12:39 PM   #27
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Call the Ranger, Bob Coscomb, or any other you can find who covers the area in Region 6. They would know washout status. The parking lot is at the end of the road as you head east then north, rounding the top end of North Lake from the west side. You can't miss it. The road goes through a couple of gates, defining some private camps, but then you pass through to state and easement land beyond. I believe the parking lot is also a staging area for logging, so it is huge and you can't miss it.

Unfortunately, Bob, a very good long time knowledgeable ranger in this area is retiring next month, His replacement's name is Scott Jackson
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Old 06-03-2019, 03:59 PM   #28
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Just to add a thought about Balsam, Stink, & Horn Lakes from Indian Lake Rd... Years ago when the road was still gated near Indian Lake I attempted to hike to Horn Lake, but the water in the Indian River was running high & fast, and I had my dog with me at the time & wasn’t prepared to attempt a crossing. I looked around for a boat but the only one I found was near the oxbow, and someone had left it right side up, so it was full of water & too heavy to dump out by myself & had nothing to bail the water out with. Definitely some pretty wild country back in there for sure. Always wanted to return for a couple days and explore around a bit more, but since they moved the gate back it’s kinda been on the back burner.
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:18 PM   #29
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The backcountry site for the southwest Section dos not mention the road washout by North Lake this week, so they may have repaired it. http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/106197.html
Yes it does, they call it Loop Road on there
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Loop Road (access to campsites along North Lake) is open for public motor vehicle use to the washout at Golden Stair Creek. (5/16)
I was camping at North Lake this past weekend and can confirm the washout still exists. The road is blocked off there and there is no way past it other than to walk. There is a big pull off for parking a short distance before the washout where you could park. There are some huge pipes in that pull off that I assume are to eventually fix the washout. The creek at the washout was rock hoppable and I think it would add about a mile or so to your hike each way.
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:27 PM   #30
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Yes it does, they call it Loop Road on there


I was camping at North Lake this past weekend and can confirm the washout still exists. The road is blocked off there and there is no way past it other than to walk. There is a big pull off for parking a short distance before the washout where you could park. There are some huge pipes in that pull off that I assume are to eventually fix the washout. The creek at the washout was rock hoppable and I think it would add about a mile or so to your hike each way.
For me this thread is quite the emotional rollercoaster! Thanks for the info cuterocky.

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Old 06-03-2019, 05:46 PM   #31
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It is the loop road because technically it completely encircles North Lake from logging days. You can also access on the east side, but it is a bushwhack, not a driveable road and the southern end may be on private land now. Best way today may be to launch a canoe from the landing at the dam and paddle north. That is what I would do. If not carrying to Horn Lake, stash your canoe safely and proceed on foot. There is probably more than one canoe hidden at Horn Lake.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:03 PM   #32
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It is the loop road because technically it completely encircles North Lake from logging days. You can also access on the east side, but it is a bushwhack, not a driveable road and the southern end may be on private land now. Best way today may be to launch a canoe from the landing at the dam and paddle north. That is what I would do. If not carrying to Horn Lake, stash your canoe safely and proceed on foot. There is probably more than one canoe hidden at Horn Lake.
I don't yet own a canoe. Would have to park before the washout and walk up there I guess.

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Old 06-04-2019, 12:28 PM   #33
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As WLDRNS says, call the ranger he'll be able to give you the best up to dates. Or, keep reading the back country pages, and read more carefully and thoroughly than I do!
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:54 PM   #34
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If the washout is at Golden Stair Creek, it is another 1.5 miles to the large parking area at the end of the road. There is a couple of other turn offs, on the left going in, so make sure you're on the correct track. From the end of the road, it's another 5 miles to Horn Lake. Last time I was in there I saw flagging along the way. I believe it was from an planning trip for the North Country Trail.

Lots of Moose sign along the way.
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Old 06-04-2019, 04:15 PM   #35
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If the washout is at Golden Stair Creek, it is another 1.5 miles to the large parking area at the end of the road. There is a couple of other turn offs, on the left going in, so make sure you're on the correct track. From the end of the road, it's another 5 miles to Horn Lake. Last time I was in there I saw flagging along the way. I believe it was from an planning trip for the North Country Trail.



Lots of Moose sign along the way.
Will there be a trail through there in the future?

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Old 06-04-2019, 08:20 PM   #36
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That's the plan. Search the North Country National Scenic Trail. Others on this forum might have more insight.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:47 AM   #37
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This trail is one to keep an eye on if you value the ability to drive close to Squaw Lake and the northern trail to Brooktrout Lake, Falls Pond, Wolf Pond, and Deep Pond. I fear that if the trial is routed as planned, the remaining spur of the Indian Lake Road could be closed to allow the trial to follow it without any cars, as opposed to routing it through the West Canada Lakes Wilderness, where initial studies say the trail will cause too much disruption (begs the question of why there are ANY trails if it is "wilderness"). Many of us have been involved at least through letter writing in trying to keep that portion of the road open, going back to the original UMP. Even as big a proponent of Wilderness values as former ranger for the area Gary Lee wrote some strong statements in opposition to closing the road. The creation of the corridor along the main road, and maintenance of a large number of the roadside campsites is in direct response to letters received (over 8000 in opposition to the original UMP as I recall), which resulted in the modifications to the UMP in place now (some of the language in my 8.5 page letter showed up word for word in the final plan). As this multi State trail proceeds, it may be necessary to get "loud" again if we want to see this road maintained as far as it has survived for the people already using it.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:08 PM   #38
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I worked with the NCNST for a time when planning was approaching this area. Most on what was called "Rome North" as the most reasonable and safe way to get north of Rome. The trail starts way out in the western U.S. and heads ultimately to the Long Trail in Vermont. It was mostly intended to be a village to village trail, using existing trails and canalways where possible, wherein people could stop overnight (hotels), and not to be of any particular wilderness character. Things got a bit bogged down with the Rome North segment, and it took a while to choose from at least three different possible routes through the Adirondacks and eastward. There was a couple of years worth of delay while the DEC (and APA?) made up their minds. Other than the hardy, or folks who would most likely be on this forum, I truthfully would not expect a lot of folks who the original trail was designed for, to head through the villageless wilds of the Adirondacks with little to no outside facilities or direct support.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:56 AM   #39
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I worked with the NCNST for a time when planning was approaching this area. Most on what was called "Rome North" as the most reasonable and safe way to get north of Rome. The trail starts way out in the western U.S. and heads ultimately to the Long Trail in Vermont. It was mostly intended to be a village to village trail, using existing trails and canalways where possible, wherein people could stop overnight (hotels), and not to be of any particular wilderness character. Things got a bit bogged down with the Rome North segment, and it took a while to choose from at least three different possible routes through the Adirondacks and eastward. There was a couple of years worth of delay while the DEC (and APA?) made up their minds. Other than the hardy, or folks who would most likely be on this forum, I truthfully would not expect a lot of folks who the original trail was designed for, to head through the villageless wilds of the Adirondacks with little to no outside facilities or direct support.
Thanks for the insight. I noticed NCNST signs along the Black River Canal trail between Boonville and Forestport and have seen a couple of people obviously hiking. I should have quizzed them on their plans heading out of Forestport.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:44 PM   #40
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Posted on the MRP facebook page today...

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