Adirondack Forum  
Rules Membership Donations and Online Store Adkhighpeaks Foundation ADKhighpeaks Forums ADKhighpeaks Wiki Disclaimer

Go Back   Adirondack Forum > The Adirondack Forum > General Adirondack Discussion
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-07-2021, 01:06 PM   #1
forest dweller
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 665
Questions about the Five Ponds, Siamese Ponds and Dix Mountain Wilderness areas...

Star Lake through Sand Lake clear of significant beaver floods?

Easy to get around if it isn't?

And just how tore up is the trail into Cage Lake / Wolf Pond from vehicle use? (people with private property can drive back there, right?)

Also, switching gears, anyone know how easy it is to get to the far shore of the Siamese Ponds? There a trail there?

Finally, Is the unmarked trails back into the Dix Wilderness...the North Fork Boquet, the Lindsey Brook and the West Mill Brook pretty clear and easy to follow?
forest dweller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 02:32 PM   #2
Golddragon214
Member
 
Golddragon214's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 59
Star Lake through Sand Lake clear of significant beaver floods?
I can't answer this because I don't paddle.

And just how tore up is the trail into Cage Lake / Wolf Pond from vehicle use? (people with private property can drive back there, right?)
The trail to Cage Lake isn't bad as long as its dry. There is a private camp along the way and the road is deeply rutted where water fills them in. You can walk on the sides in most cases but expect to get wet.Some Beaver activity along the way also.

Also, switching gears, anyone know how easy it is to get to the far shore of the Siamese Ponds? There a trail there?
There is a trail but it only went to a small campsite about half way to the smaller Pond. Im sure if you know how to navigate through the woods you could get to the camp site in between the two ponds. I went there and only stayed in the side campsite.

Finally, Is the unmarked trails back into the Dix Wilderness...the North Fork Boquet, the Lindsey Brook and the West Mill Brook pretty clear and easy to follow?
I can not answer this one as I have not been to this area.

Good luck hiking in these areas though, they are very beautiful.
Golddragon214 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 02:43 PM   #3
MTVhike
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Elizabethtown
Posts: 297
Regarding the Dix Wilderness trails -
The North Fork of the Boquet is easy to follow - there's even a registration box there. And it's on the High Peaks map. Farther up, it may get a little dicey, but I've been all the way to Grace that way and had no problem following the route.
I can't speak about Lindsey Brook
West Mill Brook is pretty clear, I followed it for maybe 3 miles before it petered out, but it was an old road (before 1900).
MTVhike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 07:26 PM   #4
TCD
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,951
Lindsey Brook approach is officially "closed" but passable if you don't mind getting your feet wet in a beaver swamp. After the wet area early on, the rest of the way is fine. No path after you cross under the Northway, but pretty open woods if you can navigate.
TCD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 07:33 PM   #5
2505
Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTVhike View Post
Regarding the Dix Wilderness trails -
The North Fork of the Boquet is easy to follow - there's even a registration box there. And it's on the High Peaks map. Farther up, it may get a little dicey, but I've been all the way to Grace that way and had no problem following the route.
I can't speak about Lindsey Brook
West Mill Brook is pretty clear, I followed it for maybe 3 miles before it petered out, but it was an old road (before 1900).
+1 on Dix Wilderness path to Grace. I hiked it 3-4 years ago, but also had done a ton of online recon and was loaded with maps and trail descriptions. Open Street Maps was fantastic resource. Some tricky routefinding here and there but overall not difficult and highly recommended, especially the Grace slide.
2505 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2021, 09:36 AM   #6
TCD
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,951
On that North Fork Boquet path, watch your navigation in a few places:

>About 1/4 mile in, the path comes to the edge of the river and appears to end. Don't be deflected; just keep pushing along the edge of the river for a couple hundred feet and the path picks up again. You will see a variety of lesser paths in that area that want to climb high up the bank, but it's best to avoid these, unless you want a grand tour of Rhododendron Pond.

>The best place to cross the North Fork is at Shoebox Falls (visible on OSM). The downstream crossing shown on OSM is the "old original" crossing, before the path really developed to Shoebox. The old crossing is markedly inferior, with long jumps to small rocks and wet feet a high probability. At Shoebox, you can cross easily even in fairly high water.

>Further in, where the path crosses the North Fork again to start making towards Lillypad Pond, there is a junction. The right hand path continues along the river, before eventually becoming obscure (the right hand path is usually blocked with sticks). You want the left hand path as shown on OSM.

>WAY further in, at the campsite shown along the South Fork, there is a junction. The path SW towards the Grace Slide is the left hand choice. Avoid the right hand, lesser path which veers W along the tributary, and heads for the Beckhorn slide.

Have fun!
TCD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2021, 10:10 AM   #7
MTVhike
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Elizabethtown
Posts: 297
I agree with TCD, except that I still prefer the first crossing, even if I potentially get my feet wet. The one time I tried crossing at Shoebox Falls, the water was so high I chickened out and did the wet boot crossing. Maybe there's a better crossing farther above Shoebox.

PS In the summer, Shoebox is one of my favorite swimming holes!
MTVhike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2021, 01:42 PM   #8
DuctTape
Out of Shape
 
DuctTape's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 1,930
Tim,

If you are not a fan of theflooded parts of the five ponds trail from the CL-50 side towards the big five, then I do not think you will care for the Cage Lake trail. The trail has significant mud holes to go around. IIRC there might be a flooded section of trail or two.

After Cage lake towards Wolf, there is a flooded section which is worse than from the CL-50 direction.

-dT
__________________
"There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal
DuctTape is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2021, 03:00 PM   #9
LRL
Member
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by forest dweller View Post
Also, switching gears, anyone know how easy it is to get to the far shore of the Siamese Ponds? There a trail there?
When I visited that area, we did a bushwhack around the lakes and down Humphry's brook to Kings flow. We went counter clockwise around the lakes. Intermittent path for a bit and then it got pretty thick. If I was to give it another go, I would head clockwise from the end of the trail.
LRL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2021, 04:45 AM   #10
DSettahr
ɹǝqɯǝɯ
 
DSettahr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5,295
RE: Cage Lake trail from Star Lake: I hiked this trail once- in 2010- and swore I'd never hike it again unless the DEC cuts a new hiking trail that doesn't follow the ATV trail. As you note, there is a private inholding at Buck Pond and the property owners have the right to access their property by ATV. From Star Lake to Little Otter Pond (or thereabouts) follows an old railroad grade and wasn't too bad, but the stretch between Little Otter Pond and and Buck Pond was horrendously torn up, rutted, and muddy. And to date, I have been true to my word- even going so far as to hike in from a different direction when I returned to finally stay in the Cage Lake Lean-to as part of my quest to stay in every lean-to.

If you're comfortable with navigating off of any marked/maintained trail, the easiest way in to Sand Lake is actually from Watson's East Triangle to the west. In fact, this approach is so much easier than the longer marked trail approaches form the northeast that Sand Lake gets noticeably more use than some of the other lean-tos in the vicinity- including Wolf Pond and Little Shallow. The subject of the perceived "remoteness" of Sand Lake has come up on these forums in the past- and the reality is that it's not nearly as remote as hiking maps might seem to suggest.

Don't get me wrong, it's not exactly like Sand Lake is party central by any means, but I've read a few trip reports over the years from groups intent on staying at Sand Lake who'd traversed miles and miles without seeing a soul- and passed empty lean-tos along the way- only to arrive at Sand Lake to find the lean-to occupied by a group that had clearly come in via a shorter route, judging from the quantity of camping equipment.

With regards to beaver flooding, there's a couple of patches- There's one stretch between Cage Lake and Wolf Pond (I want to say it's the outlet of Wolf Pond) where the trail passes through a bog and you can expect wet feet. As I recall there's some bog bridging that sinks down a few inches into the water when you step on it.

If you decide to approach via the Five Ponds themselves there's also a stretch just west of Little Shallow where the beavers have wrecked havoc and swamped the trail. The DEC did cut a reroute that I thought was fairly obvious but I guess it's not universally obvious- I read an entry in the Little Shallow Lean-to log book during my last visit there (2019) written by a group who indicated they were unable to find a way around or through the flooding.

RE: Siamese Ponds: I've only been there once, in 2010. Some older maps show a marked and maintained loop trail circumnavigating the larger (lower) of the two ponds but this has not been the case for decades (if there every truly was an "official" trail around the pond). The official trail ends at a designated tent site near the outlet of the lower pond, and at that location there was no obvious continuation of trail in either direction along the shoreline. I didn't get a chance to explore further but two of my companions on that same trip did hike around the pond- they indicated that they found "bits and pieces" of herd path along the way but nothing contiguous for any solid distance. They did also say that the bushwhack wasn't an overly difficult one, however. (But again, worth pointing out that this information is a decade old at this point. And FWIW, my one friend in particular has a habit of underselling the difficulty of selected itineraries.)

RE: Various herd path approaches into the Dixes:Both the North Fork/South Fork and the South Fork herd paths have the appearances of an "official" trail in sections. Not entirely certain of their history but it seems as though they likely pre-date their co-option by the hiking community as express routes into the interior if this part of the Dix Range vicinity.

I assume you are mostly interested in the northern of these two routes- the one that starts on the North Fork for a few miles before bumping over to the South Fork and eventually provides access to the slide up the northwest face of Grace (or alternatively, the Grace-South Dix col). The biggest thing to be aware of offhand is that the area where Route 73 crosses the North Fork has become an incredibly popular hangout for folks looking to relax and swim in the stream- and accordingly, parking is problematic on any nice summer day (weekends in particular). There's also two decently nice designated tent sites quite close to the road- one on either side of the North Fork- and these sites also get high levels of use.

You actually have two options regarding where to begin- the "normal" approach which is the more well-used option starts on the south side of the North Fork. There is a "high water" approach that starts on the north side. This path gets less use and accordingly is fainter and a bit more difficult to find and follow- but it does gain you the advantage of being able to skip the first crossing of the North Fork entirely (useful during high water).

The high levels of day use along the North Fork have also resulted in a multitude of additional social trails up and down along the banks of the creek and this can further confuse things. But like TCD says, if you persevere along the bank every time you get sucked into a dead end somewhere, you can usually pick up the "main" path again without too much difficulty. The further in you go, the less and less frequent these "sucker hole" social trails become.

There is a third designated tent site on the south side of the North Fork perhaps a few minutes of walking in from Route 73. If you skip the "normal" first crossing of the North Fork and opt for the "Shoebox Falls crossing" instead, on the high gravel bank above the falls to the southeast there is a fourth designated tent site. A herd path to Rhododendron Pond- which is a quiet and scenic body of water- departs out of the back side of this campsite.

Whether you cross at the old first crossing or at Shoebox Falls, you are soon forced to re-cross the North Fork near where the main branch of this stream makes a sharp right turn to the northwest. Like TCD says, there is another path here- usually blocked with sticks but obvious if you look for it- that continues upstream along North Fork itself and eventually fades out. If you have the time, however, IMO it's worth the exploration- there's some nice waterfalls and a nice designated tent site along this herd path before it fades.

Continuing on the main path across the second crossing of the North Fork, it does soon get noticeably less use- but for the most part is still fairly obvious. And at this point, the "sucker hole" social trails that can lead you astray have mostly ceased to exist. Shortly after crossing the tributary that feeds the North Fork from the west, a side trail leads up to a small designated tent site on a hilltop on the northwest side of Lilypad Pond (a herd path continues down to the shore of this pond from the campsite).

You pass two more designated campsites shortly after arriving at the South Fork of the Boquet- if hiking in (towards Grace) the first is on the righthand side of the trail, moderately sized and an OK site. The second is on the left (downhill and between the trail and the stream), and is a smaller site. The path continues upstream, and crosses the tributary that drains the eastern slopes of Dix onto the narrow spit of land that separates this tributary and the proper South Fork for maybe a tent of a mile or so. Right where the tributary diverges to continue west towards Dix, there is a huge (but nice) designated tent site- this is the last good camping option (the terrain further upstream is too rugged for good options) and undoubtedly busier weekends probably see several groups sharing the site.

Like TCD says, the herd path does diverge here- and it seems like the more obvious route is the one up the tributary towards Dix, which is the route most hikers don't want. This does suck wayward hikers intent on accessing Grace into taking this "false" route and losing time- so it's important beyond this last campsite to make sure that you are following the correct route, which is the left option that continues along the main branch of the South Fork.

I'm fairly certain that the original trail (or herd path) ended here- as the herd path beyond this last campsite almost immediately takes on a much more primitive appearance. From what I remember, it does meander back and forth across the South Fork a time or two but these crossings are pretty easy during normal water levels. There's also a section or two where it traverses areas where small landslides have collapsed into the stream- and the going gets a bit slippery/dicey on the softer disturbed soils in these spots.

Eventually, the herd path cuts south away from the South Fork, following a small tributary up to the base of the slide. At the bottom of the slide you have two options- climb the slide or continue up the herd path to the col. As slide climbs go, the Grace Slide is not overly difficult (it's actually probably a pretty good "first time slide climb"), although near the top there is about maybe 15 to 20 feet or so where things get kind-of, sort-of technical and a rock climbing move or two may be necessary (I'd say just about on par with the more challenging sections of the Trap Dike in terms of skill required). From the top of the slide there's excellent views, and the summit is a short distance to the south (in the woods).

If you opt to continue up the herd path, it pops out in the Grace/South Dix col, a bit north of the lowest point in the col. This junction has often been a navigational hazard for unskilled hikers- most of those climbing Grace combine it with the rest of the Dix Range and accordingly are approaching from South Dix. Most of these hikers aren't expecting any sort of junction at all in the col (in the modern era of High Peaks peak-bagging the Boquet herd path approaches to the Dix Range aren't something that AllTrails users would necessarily have any knowledge of), and the appearance of an unexpected junction causes anxiety for some. Accordingly, the extreme upper end of this herd path where it arrives in the col is usually very well brushed in by do-gooders hoping to spare others the same anxiety they had forced upon them- so well brushed in, in fact, that it can be difficult to locate this junction if you're trying to find it coming from the summit of Grace or South Dix.

With all of that being said, honestly the easiest approach to Grace these days is probably still from the south- Elk Lake to Lillian Brook, up the Lillian Brook Herd path to either the Macomb-South Dix col or the Hough-South Dix col, then over South Dix to Grace. There's a moderate amount of elevation loss and regain between South Dix and Grace but it's not too bad. Lillian Brook doesn't get a huge amount of use but generally is easy follow. The hardest part is locating the start (lower end) of the herd path- it's not near the Lillian Brook Lean-to, but rather on top of the hill before the marked trail starts to drop down several hundred feet towards the bridge, lean-to, and nearby tent sites.

The other herd path from Route 73- the one that remains entirely along the South Fork- is another potential approach into this area. This one is easy to find and follow all the way to it's terminus where the South Fork makes a sharp turn to the northwest. The advantage to this path is that parking near the start on Route 73 is usually a non-issue- there's a huge pull-off nearby with plenty of room and there's usually no one parked there. (I don't think this pull-off was one of the ones recently blocked off but don't quote me on this.) This herd path terminates in another massive but nice designated tent site in a pleasant hemlock stand- the tent site is so massive and well established it makes one wonder how it came to be so big, given that this is anything but a popular approach into the Dix Range vicinity.

If parking at the North Fork is so problematic as to make that approach a non-starter, you could still get into Grace by following this second herd path to where it ends at the tent site, then bushwhacking upstream along the South Fork to where the other herd path crosses over from the North Fork. There's no established herd path connecting these two spots but the terrain along this stretch of the South fork isn't too rugged, nor is the forest ever so thick as to impede progress.

The old Lindsay Brook approach can be located with some careful attention- it's no longer signed on Route 9 but once you find it the old route is obvious for the first tenth of a mile or so (you can even see old trail markers from when it was a marked/maintained trails as far as the culvert under the Northway). However, it soon disappears into an extensive beaver pond. The beavers have built their dam more or less in line with the old trail so you could theoretically walk across the dam... but FWIW, when I went in there (2019? It was within the past year or two...) I took one look at it and said to myself, "my curiosity is not strong enough to justify how wet my feet will very obviously get from traversing this" and turned back. I know some folks have managed to get into the area by fording the Schroon River a bit further north and bushwhacking over the old trail but I've yet to attempt this myself. And I've also heard (anecdotally) that the Lindsay Brook approach to the Dixes generally has become a bit more ridden with blowdown over the past decade or so than it was ~20 years ago.

Regarding West Mill Brook, the public is normally allowed to drive up to the start of the trail on the west side of the Northway- following the driveway through the gravel pit and through a vehicle culvert under the Northway. However, as of last year (2020), the driveway was pretty badly washed out in a few spots and this approach was impossible for all but maybe the highest-clearance trucks- and I'm not sure if it's been repaired yet. (Also my memory is fuzzy but I want to say that you drive through the outlet of Holiday Pond, not over it on a bridge, so obviously this could be an issue for low clearance vehicles or when the water is running high.) But whether you're able to drive all the way in to the trailhead, or find a spot to park along Route 9 and walk the added distance, the trail starts out wide and easy to follow. Like MTVhike says, this is an old road- it's actually the original road route from Upper Works to Lake Champlain (used during the first iteration of the iron mines).

The lower stretches of this old road are in decent shape- some blowdown but it's mostly through open forest and makes for easy hiking. West Mill Brook is scenic and even has some nice swimming holes. The easy hiking on the old road persists to about the spot where both the USGS topo map and the Nat Geo map show the trail (herd path) ending. Beyond this point the road bed is easy to spot as it continues southwest into the notch separating Macomb Mountain from Camels Hump, but it soon becomes densely overgrown with young beech trees. I have heard that it is possible to find and follow remnants of this road as far as Clear Pond but have yet to attempt to follow it much further than where the easily traversed section ends (and obviously permission would be needed from Elk Lake to cross their private property to do this as a through hike).

I believe that parts of the Gulf Brook road into Boreas Ponds were also a part of this original road route from the MacIntyre Mines.

If you're interested in bushwhacking non-High Peaks peaks in the area, Camels Hump has stupendous views. Camel Mountain, however, has none. I've yet to make it up any other peaks in the area but I've heard that quite a few of them also have views.

Last edited by DSettahr; 05-14-2021 at 11:04 AM..
DSettahr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2021, 12:58 PM   #11
DSettahr
ɹǝqɯǝɯ
 
DSettahr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5,295
Here is a link to an album with some photos from the more delightful portions of the trail between Buck Pond and Little Otter Pond. Again, these photos were taken more than 10 years ago now so it's possible that this trail has gotten some attention and is in better shape now... although I doubt it.
DSettahr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:34 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.

DISCLAIMER: Use of these forums, and information found herein, is at your own risk. Use of this site by members and non-members alike is only granted by the adkhighpeak.com administration provided the terms and conditions found in the FULL DISCLAIMER have been read. Continued use of this site implies that you have read, understood and agree to the terms and conditions of this site. Any questions can be directed to the Administrator of this site.