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montcalm 05-18-2020 04:59 PM

Fulton Chain WF Designated Campsites
Does anyone have a reference that might show these?

I'm trying to put together a backpacking route that traverses Ha-de-ron-dah and Pigeon Lakes Wilderness, but to do that, one must traverse some town of Webb land and some FCWF to connect the two wilderness areas.

The issue I'm having is camping - I know there is a site at Bubb Lake and multiple at Moss lake, but from a first night site at Middle settlement that puts you in the 15+ mile range to get to Bubb for the night. I actually looked at Safford route, but I don't know if there's a good spot to camp there. Last thing I want to do is whack down a site after a long, boring day of walking back roads and snowmobile trails.

I really think I could find a spot as I've hiked this route before and down a similar trip, but it'd be nice to land in the vicinity of Mountain Pond if I could, I just can't recall if there are any sites out there - I've hiked it, and I *think* there is at least one...

Any help is appreciated. I'll post my plan after I figure out this section.

DuctTape 05-18-2020 05:45 PM

I have been thinking about a trip like you have planned. Am curious to see the route you have devised. There are campsites on Cary Lake and Mountain Pond.

montcalm 05-18-2020 05:55 PM

Perfect, thanks!

I'll post the route in a bit. It's really simple, about 40 miles from Big Otter Lake to Raquette Village.

montcalm 05-18-2020 07:36 PM

See if this is viewable.

I think this actually makes more sense to do east to west. I think start at Brown Tract campground and end at Big Otter Lake. That way you get the most difficult stuff out of the way first, although you need to climb West with a heavy bag.

I'm thinking camping nights:

1 - Otter Pond
2 - Queer Lake
3 - Mountain Pond
4 - Middle Branch Lake

A little over 40 miles over 5 days, beginning and end days a bit shorter due to staging of campsites.

Logistically you'd need two cars or someone to pick up and shuttle you, or drop you off at the start.

DSettahr 05-18-2020 08:31 PM

Chub Lake (northeast of Queer Lake in the Pigeon Lake Wilderness), as I understand it, has an established tent site that I believe is meant to be a designated site, although there is no "camp here" disc (and it seems like there never has been one). It's shown on the DECInfo site, at least.

The DECInfo site also shows a designated tent site on west end of Queer Lake (actually on the smaller, separate pond adjacent to Queer Lake) but I don't remember seeing a site here at all when I took a day hike there a few years ago.

It's not directly on your route but I believe there's 2 or 3 designated tent sites on Cascade lake, south of Queer Lake.

Moss Lake has a bunch of designated tent sites, and they are all pretty obvious. This area can be popular for camping, however, since the sites are so close to the road.

Middle Branch Lake doesn't have any designated tent sites, but there is a ton of open woods here so the 150 foot thing wouldn't be too hard to do. When I camped there a few years ago, I remember seeing a group set up on the north side of the pond, set back from the water a fair distance.

It's not directly on your route but Middle Settlement Lake is also worth checking out. I remember seeing one designated tent site here in addition to the lean-to.

The DECInfo site shows a designated tent site at Pine Lake in addition to the lean-to there, but I don't remember seeing it when I camped there (although that trip was nearly 10 years ago now, so my memory isn't the best).

There is a well-established site at East Pond (the old lean-to site) that I thought was meant to be a designated site- I want to say that maybe it was mentioned in the UMP? When I stayed in this site a few years ago there was no "Camp Here" disc. I've noticed that this site is not shown at all on the DECInfo site, not sure if this is an oversight (wouldn't be the first designated site they missed in the official inventory) or if the site is actually meant to be designated (and is thus an illegal site, since it's too close to the trail).

montcalm 05-18-2020 08:39 PM

Yeah I'm not concerned about camping in PigLW, I know of a number of legal, but unmarked sites out there.

I looked at mileage and I think it's about:

6.5 miles first day but West mountain traverse.

7 the second

9.5 the third

15.5 the fourth

and about 3.5 to the Big Otter parking area on the last day.

Or in reverse...

One could perhaps push to Chub first day (longggg day though) but then do it 4 days/3 nights.

Logistically it might make sense to end back on RT 28 as it's a LONG drive to get back to BO. Guess that will depend on pickup or shuttle situations.

montcalm 05-18-2020 09:27 PM

Better map, perhaps:

BO to BT -

The Cal Topo doesn't load well on my phone.

paddles 05-18-2020 10:21 PM

Your map shows your route ending right at Big Otter Lake. Iím not sure what kind of vehicle you have, but thatís not much of a road in to there. Iím not even sure what type of vehicle would be required to make it the whole way to Big Otter.

The road has been rehabilitated up to Tommy Roaring Brook, but beyond that requires fording the brook, fording a fairly deep-looking beaver flood, navigating countless mud wallows, etc. ATVs make it in there, but thatís obviously illegal, and Iíve seen rangers patrolling there to try and catch trespassers.

Also, as of earlier this spring, there was a washout along the rehabbed section and DEC had blocked off access beyond that point. This isnít mentioned on their conditions page so it may have been fixed.

DSettahr 05-18-2020 10:34 PM

Yeah, during my one visit to Big Otter Lake, I was passed by a herd of 10-15 ATVs and side-by-side UTVs. They tore up the road pretty good (amazing considering it was in pretty rough shape to begin with), and left no shortage of trash in their wakes (lots of take out food wrappers). I would not be particularly enthusiastic to drive to, or walk the road to Big Otter.

snapper 05-19-2020 08:37 AM

Montcalm - For what it's worth, your second map didn't show up when I clicked on the link. All I got was an "error" message.

That's all for now. Take care and until next well.


montcalm 05-19-2020 09:01 AM

snapper, I tried updating the link.

It works from my computer and phone... but so did the old one.

DuctTape 05-19-2020 11:30 AM


Originally Posted by montcalm (Post 281550)
snapper, I tried updating the link.

It works from my computer and phone... but so did the old one.

Your second one also gives me an error. Might work for you as you are "signed in"?? Just a guess.

I got a good idea of your route based on the Caltopo anyway. The endpopint for "my route" was near Gull Lake on Rt 28. Then heading to North towards Middle Settlement ultimately to East Pond and those northern stretches of the Haderondah. I like to keep the "heavy lifting" towards the end when my pack is lighter.

Have fun!

montcalm 05-19-2020 12:11 PM


Originally Posted by DuctTape (Post 281553)
Your second one also gives me an error. Might work for you as you are "signed in"?? Just a guess.

I got a good idea of your route based on the Caltopo anyway. The endpopint for "my route" was near Gull Lake on Rt 28. Then heading to North towards Middle Settlement ultimately to East Pond and those northern stretches of the Haderondah. I like to keep the "heavy lifting" towards the end when my pack is lighter.

Have fun!

Interesting - it's supposed to be public. I'll try messing with it again later.

I see - I mean it could be done either way - I'd post the map of the one I did previously but I don't think it will work until I figure the last one. :rolling: I went from the edge of Haderondah to the Eighth Lake looping down from PLW.

I've done a few other trips and hikes in this area since then, but nothing as long as this.

You'd think it might be easier to do West and the thick bits last, but it might be easier to do when fresh... I don't know, I might stick that route because I've never done anything in that direction! It might be a totally different perspective.

I think also I'll ditch the idea of ending at Big Otter - it just seemed right to traverse Haderondah, but I suppose I could just kind of loop around the interior for two days. I didn't have any plan to include any BRWF sections, but you could surely add a lot more mileage on that way. I'd really like to do a separate multi-day out there and hit up my favorite spots - it's big enough to do 3-4 days itself, IMO.

Not sure when this might happen - I'll need to find at least 5 days free and probably find a partner or two.

DuctTape 05-19-2020 12:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Mine was a bit longer. About 55 miles.

Wldrns 05-19-2020 03:08 PM

if going in or coming out via Big Otter, you can park at the end of the Partridgeville Road at the bridge, then hike to BO. As DS has already pointed out, the old truck road from there to BO is in extremely rough shape for the most part. Horribly ruined by illegal ATV traffic, including many side trails made randomly heading off into the woods. I once hiked beyond there, along the eastern shore of the lake when I witnessed several ATVs running their machines in the water in the sandy shallows on the western side. There is a clearing where an old hotel once stood, making for a popular junky garbage strewn ATV campground.

montcalm 05-19-2020 03:24 PM

I see DT - different Gull Lake! I thought you meant the one in BRWF.

But yeah, you added a little bit on in Haderondah but actually quite a bit more on the west side looping back down through MRPWF by Black Bear Mtn.

If I was going to add that last part I might as well just start in Eagle bay and just close up the last loop. The worst part of the original trip I did was the section between Haderondah and Rondaxe Lake. It looks like about the same route I picked. When I actually hiked it I didn't have a good map of that section and it's a maze of snowmobile and 4wd trails. There are also ways to get through there on the south side of the Moose River which is FCWF land.

DSettahr 05-19-2020 03:36 PM

Pine Lake is nice. When I was there I did see old evidence of ATVs but it looked like it had been some years there'd been any illegal ATV use there.

Middle Settlement is gorgeous- but a bit close to the road, and I think it receives more use than either Pine Lake or Middle Branch.

Since you mentioned BRWF: I've found that this area is generally good for solitude. I think the majority of use here is in the winter, by snowmobile. From the south end of Ha-De-Ron-Dah, a little bit of road walking will get you to the access road down to the Middle Branch Moose River (west of Nelson Lake). From here, you can either ford the river and pick up the trails on the other side. Both the Nelson Lake and Remsen Falls lean-tos are nice, Neslon Lake gets light to moderate levels of use, Remsen Falls gets very little use. The trails here do get brushy in spots but they mostly follow old roads so the tread is usually fairly obvious. You could end your trip at Nelson Lake or even up in Thendara.

If you're particularly brave (and prepared for a wet crossing), fording the South Branch Moose River at Remsen Falls gets you to more trails and perhaps another day or two of hiking. There's 2 or 3 designated tent sites on the south side of the river right at the falls (but you can drive pretty close to here so they do get a decent amount of use). The Woodhull Lake lean-to is moderately to very popular; it sits literally right on the shoreline (and adult male could probably pee into the lake while standing in the lean-to; unfortunately I've no doubt that it's been done, either). The Bear Lake Lean-to is newer and I think it will get more use as the word continues to get out about it (although Nat Geo mistakenly left it off the most recent version of their maps for the area). The fire pit at the Bear Lake Lean-to is really nice, it's built up against a rocky outcrop that the lean-to faces. Further south, Sand Lake Falls gets relatively little use (although from what I remember, the trail that runs south through here to North Lake gets pretty wet in spots).

With a little bit of road walking at North Lake, you can get back on trails that will take you all the way to Nobleboro.

backwoodsman 05-19-2020 04:12 PM

You can definitely hear traffic on Rt 28 at Middle Settlement , and be prepared for yahoos. Middle Branch you can hear atvs running off towards Big Otter , Partridgeville Rd , maybe even Steam Mill Rd on a quiet night . There is a campsite on Pine Lake , I think there used to be a "camp here " tag on it but there isn't anymore .
I carried and carted a canoe into Pine one time and when I was out on the lake someone went down the trail on an ATV with a canoe on a rack over it , like a ladder rack on a pickup. He couldn't hear me as I screamed WTF !

montcalm 05-19-2020 04:28 PM

Iíve been to middle branch in the winter and it was about the only place in the area I couldnít hear snowmobiles.

Iíve never been to the east side of haderondah...

Iíve camped or at least hiked most marked trails in brwf and perhaps it would be better to do haderondah with that area and mrpwf with plw.

I linked a different map page. Should work now.

Wldrns 05-19-2020 04:46 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The "other" Gull Lake in the BRWF, the leanto is around the point on the far left :

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