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Old 07-05-2021, 10:20 AM   #1
stargazr1116
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Unhappy Road Conditions - Pillsbury Mountain // Spruce Lake

Hopefully this spares someone from suffering the same fate I did:

Someone took the chains and road closure signs off of the 1.5 mile stretch of road that goes from Jessup River Road up to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead Parking Area. Having seen them up in past years, I assumed that the road had been repaired enough to get to the parking area. Big mistake.

It is not passable unless youíre in a high-clearance 4WD And honesty I canít even guarantee that because My CRV got stuck in the mud before I got that far. Thankfully a wonderful couple in a heavy duty pickup was able to get their truck up the road far enough to get me un-stuck. The only thing that saved my extremely bruised ego was learning that I wasnít alone and that other people have been getting stuck semi-regularly since the signs were taken down.

Bonus road condition report for the rest of Jessup River Road to the Spruce Lake Trailhead - it seemed rougher to me than it has been in past years. I was fine in my CRV but Iíd be a little concerned taking a sedan all the way there. Youíll be able to drive it, but Iíd be a little worried about damage on a car with lower clearance or a delicate suspension.
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Old 07-05-2021, 12:11 PM   #2
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Appreciate the road condition report and sorry to hear about your experience. Pillsbury is one of the next mountains I plan to hike in the ADKs and wouldn't want my vehicle getting stuck for a second time this year. Last month I got temporarily stuck on a steep/rocky/muddy road in Western Pennsylvania and was unable to accelerate. Fortunately, I was able to reverse my way out of trouble.

Is there an alternative parking location that you'd suggest? I assume the dashed-line section of Jessup River Road (below the Parking area) is where you got stuck.



Do you know if parking in the circled area below and roadwalking that rough 1+ mile road to the trailhead would be the best way to go? Also, how is the condition on the rest of Jessup River Road? Looking at satellite imagery, it doesn't look too bad in the spots where I can see the road. Wouldn't know for sure, though, since I've never driven there before.



Thanks again for the head's up...

Edit: I'm looking at CNY Hiking's page on Pillsbury Mountain and they mention alternatively parking at "Sled Harbor" around the area circled above. I think I'll do that to avoid possibly getting stuck on my way to the official trailhead.

https://www.cnyhiking.com/PillsburyMountain.htm
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Old 07-05-2021, 12:53 PM   #3
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Thanks very much for your post about the road conditions, particularly to the Spruce Lake trail head. I am thinking about making the drive there (in my Ford Fusion) so knowing if that is even possible is very helpful. Thanks again.
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Old 07-05-2021, 03:01 PM   #4
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@hikingandwildex - You’re correct that it’s the dashed area where I got stuck and is supposed to be closed. There’s a big open area along Jessup Road right at that intersection where you can park, so basically just head to the trailhead and don’t make the last turn.

The rest of Jessup Road until that point wasn’t bad, got a little rougher as I went further back towards Spruce Lake. I was fine in a CRV the entire way and wasn’t worried about getting stuck at all. You’ll be able to make it in a sedan or regular car, just be aware that it’s a dirt/gravel road. Further back towards Spruce Lake the road gets a little rougher with a few muddy spots and I’d be careful with a very low clearance car or a car that has a delicate suspension.
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Old 07-05-2021, 04:25 PM   #5
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Last year when I did the French Louie loop I took my Kia Optima and parked at Sled Harbor and then walked the mile or so up the road to the Pillsbury trail head. That car has really low clearance, so I wouldn't have tried to drive up to either of the trail heads - Pillsbury or Spruce. The Fusion has a bit more clearance, so as long as there are no wash outs or sections that you have to drive through a lot of mud, I can usually make it if I take my time and drive with extra caution. Again, thanks for the information you provided - every bit helps. Happy trails!
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Old 07-05-2021, 05:09 PM   #6
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@hikingandwildex - Youíre correct that itís the dashed area where I got stuck and is supposed to be closed. Thereís a big open area along Jessup Road right at that intersection where you can park, so basically just head to the trailhead and donít make the last turn.

The rest of Jessup Road until that point wasnít bad, got a little rougher as I went further back towards Spruce Lake. I was fine in a CRV the entire way and wasnít worried about getting stuck at all. Youíll be able to make it in a sedan or regular car, just be aware that itís a dirt/gravel road. Further back towards Spruce Lake the road gets a little rougher with a few muddy spots and Iíd be careful with a very low clearance car or a car that has a delicate suspension.
Good to know that Jessup River Road isn't too bad through Sled Harbor. I don't mind dirt roads as long as they're fairly dry and smooth without large rocks, holes, and other obstacles. My crossover vehicle should be able to make it to that intersection and then I'll just walk the extra 1+ miles to Pillsbury's trailhead. I could use the extra exercise as I've put on more than 25 pounds since the start of the pandemic.
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Old 07-05-2021, 07:08 PM   #7
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I could use the extra exercise as I've put on more than 25 pounds since the start of the pandemic.
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Old 07-06-2021, 10:47 AM   #8
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I didn't have a problem with the extra walk from Sled Harbor to the trail head on the way in. Probably the extra adrenaline that comes with the start of a hike. The extra walk at the end felt different - it would have been nice to get in the car at the trail head for the drive out. At least it is mostly downhill from trail head to sled harbor.
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Old 07-06-2021, 01:34 PM   #9
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Did you end up walking the final stretch to the Pillsbury trailhead? Just curious if some are able to make it. Haven't been there since Oct 2019, and the road was in good shape then, was wondering if they fixed the washout or were people just driving around it.
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Old 07-06-2021, 01:58 PM   #10
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Did you end up walking the final stretch to the Pillsbury trailhead? Just curious if some are able to make it. Haven't been there since Oct 2019, and the road was in good shape then, was wondering if they fixed the washout or were people just driving around it.
I hiked Pillsbury last summer and parked at Sled Harbor. At that time there were a few very large washouts. The washouts were several feet deep, I don't believe any vehicle could traverse them (I drive a 4Runner and not a chance). I don't believe there was enough space to go around the trouble spots. Barring repair, the road should definitely be considered closed to vehicles.

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Old 07-06-2021, 04:48 PM   #11
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washouts are still there. road is impassable to the parking area. need to hike he extra mile from sled harbor.
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Old 07-06-2021, 06:04 PM   #12
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Did you end up walking the final stretch to the Pillsbury trailhead? Just curious if some are able to make it. Haven't been there since Oct 2019, and the road was in good shape then, was wondering if they fixed the washout or were people just driving around it.
Yes, I walked from Sled Harbor to the Pillsbury trail head both ways.
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Old 07-07-2021, 10:36 AM   #13
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Russ, do you happen to have a pic of that impassable washout?
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Old 07-07-2021, 03:02 PM   #14
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Russ, do you happen to have a pic of that impassable washout?
I do not. Let me ask around though.
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Old 07-07-2021, 07:48 PM   #15
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Hiked it last summer. Parked at Sled Harbor, rode bikes to Pillsbury TH, stashed them in the woods, then had a lovely ride downhill to the car after the hike.

Not passable by vehicles last summer.
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Old 07-07-2021, 08:09 PM   #16
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...

Not passable by vehicles last summer.

Now wait a minute...

I imagine my Element would not stand a chance



But, seriously, NO vehicle could make it?? Not even my little CJ?

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Old 07-08-2021, 12:28 PM   #17
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If it's a few feet deep, probably even no go for a jeep. An enduro bike could probably do it though, with the right rider.
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