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Blue Mountain Wild Forest

Township 19 and Township 20 Conservation Easement Tracts

hikingprimitive campingfishingpaddlingboatinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingcross-country skiingsnowshoeingrock climbingparkingfire towerboat launchhand launchicon key

Blue Mountain Wild Forest Locator Map

The 37,800-acre Blue Mountain Wild Forest is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. It is comprised of five separate tracts of land in the central Adirondacks situated between the communities of Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Long Lake, and Newcomb.The terrain varies from gentle around the easily accessible and popular Rock Lake to extremely steep and rugged in the remote Fishing Brook Range. The 3,759-foot Blue Mountain dominates the landscape for some distance around.

The 1,400-acre Township 19 Tract Public Use Area is private land with a Conservation Easement which allows for full public recreation access on the portion of the Tract south of the O'Neill Flow Road. The Tract also provides access to forest preserve lands in the Blue Mountain Lake Wild Forest which it borders to the south.

The 1,081-acre Township 20 Tract Public Use Area is private land with a Conservation Easement which allows for full public recreation access on the portion of the Tract west of the Minerva Club Road and Six Mile Brook. The Tract also provides access to forest preserve lands in the Blue Mountain Lake Wild Forest which it borders to the west.

Snowmobile trails and other limited public recreation access are allowed on other portions of both of these Tracts. The public may only recreate in those corridors as prescribed in the easement condition and described below. Any use of lands and waters on other portions of the Tracts or other than described is prohibited.

Logging trucks, skidders and other logging equipment and activity may be encountered while recreating on the Township 19 and Township 20 Tract. Certain access roads may be closed when logging operations are active.

Outdoor recreation opportunities on the tracts of Blue Mountain Lake Wild Forest located north and east of the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area and south and east of the Cedar River are included in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex web page.

Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks provides general information regarding backcountry and seasonal conditions; specific notices regarding closures and conditions of trails, roads, bridges and other infrastructure; and links to weather, state land use regulations, low impact recreation and more.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

While few in number, the trails of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest provide a variety of hiking opportunities - take a long distance hike, hike to a mountain, hike to scenic lake, pond or river.

Northville-Placid Trail (NPT) traverses 15.2 miles through the Blue Mountain Wild Forest. The majority of the length is between the southern trailhead on State Route 28/30 (near the DEC Lake Durant Campground) and the northern trailhead on State Route 28N. The trail ascends approximately 1,200 feet from the trailheads over the shoulder of an unnamed mountain - the highest point on the 133-mile NPT. The trail passes along the foot of Blue Mountain and the shore of Tirrell Pond.

The trail continues north of State Route 28N for 0.7 mile on the Tarbell Hill Road and then another 0.4 mile across another parcel of the Wild Forest before entering the High Peaks Wilderness. A trailhead and parking areas is located on Tarbell Road for hikers doing the section of trail through the wilderness.

The trail also continues west of State Route 28/30 for 0.2 mile to the DEC Lake Durant Campground access road, then along the access road for another 0.2 mile and finally 0.6 mile across the Wild Forest before entering the Blue Ridge Wilderness.

Blue Mountain Trail (3,760 feet) extends 2.2 miles and ascends 1,550 feet from the trailhead on State Route 30 (near the Adirondack Museum) and the summit of the mountains. The rocky summit provides partial views in all directions of the central Adirondacks including Lake Durant, Blue Mountain Lake, Raquette Lake, Essex Chain Lakes, Blue Ridge, Vanderwhacker Mountain and the High Peaks. Also on the summit is the Blue Mountain Fire Tower which is open to the public. Climb the stairs to the cab at the top and enjoy the view.

Tirrell Pond Trail extends 3.0 miles to the Northville Placid Trail turns right and traverses another 0.3 mile to the shore of Tirrell Pond. The trail ascends 170 feet in the first 1.75 miles before dropping 450 feet over the last 1.5 miles to the pond. The trail provides views of Blue Mountain and Buck Mountain along the way. A lean-to and a sandy beach at the end of the trail provide a view of Tirrell Mountain to the east.

Rock Lake Trail extends 0.8 mile from the trailhead on State Route 28/30 to the shore of Rock Lake, dropping only 80 feet in elevation in that distance. Rock Lake is not only scenic but provides paddling and fishing opportunities as well.

Rock River Trail extends 3.0 miles from the trailhead on State Route 28/30 to the banks of the Rock River, dropping 380 feet in elevation. The majority of the descent occurs on a .3 mile section of trial approximately 0.5 mile from the trailhead. The trail skirts the eastern shore of Rock Lake and is used by anglers in the summer and snowmobilers in the winter. It offers pristine forest views ending at a scenic view of Rock River.

Fire Tower

fire tower

General information on Fire Towers includes historic and current uses of fire towers and links to other locations with fire towers.

The 35-foot tall Blue Mountain Fire Tower appears on the National Historic Lookout Register along with the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places. The cab of the fire tower is open to the public and provides a 360 degree view of the central Adirondacks including but certainly not limited to views of Lake Durant, Blue Mountain Lake, Raquette Lake, Essex Chain Lakes, Blue Ridge, Vanderwhacker Mountain and the High Peaks.

The current steel AerMotor Model #LL‐25 fire tower was constructed in 1917, replacing the wooden fire tower constructed in 1907. Verplank Colvin's survey crews had constructed a signal tower on the summit of Blue Mountain in 1873 which he later explained "...commanded a view of all the more important mountain stations in the southern centre of the wilderness."

The closed observer's cabin, a radio tower and the remains of an older observer's cabin and a Cold War era radar station share the summit with the fire tower.

The fire tower was staffed and used for fire observation until 1990. It is maintained with the Friends of Blue Mountain organization.

Camping

primitive, backcountry camping

General information on backcountry camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

The Blue Mountain Lake Wild Forest and Township 19 Conservation Easement Lands contain eleven designated primitive tent sites and two lean-tos.

All designated primitive tents sites, campsites and lean-tos are available on a first come - first served basis and cannot be reserved. Designated campsites are marked with a yellow "Camp Here" disc. Designated tent sites are for tents only. Tents or small campers can use designated campsites. There are no hook-ups for water or electricity at campsites.

Two designated tent sites are accessed from the Barker Pond Parking Area at the end of the 0.6 mile Barker Pond Road, which is accessed from State Route 28/30 via the O'Neil Flow Road. One site is near the parking area and the second is a short distance away on the shore of Barker Pond.

These tent sites are located on the portion of Township 19 Tract Conservation Easement Lands south of the O'Neill Flow Road where there are full public recreation rights. Logging activity may occur in the area at certain times and for safety reasons roads or sections of roads may be closed. The forest preserve lands of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest are adjacent to the south and west. Most of the eastern portion of Barker Pond lies in the forest preserve.

One designated tent site is 0.6 mile down the Minerva Club Road within the Township 20 Public Use Area. This site is designed to accommodate vehicles and/or campers.

There are three designated tent sites on the shore of Rock Lake which can be accessed from the Rock Lake Trailhead.

There are two designated tent sites on the east shore of Lake Durant along the unmaintained Old Route 28 Road. The northern entrance to the road is located across from the Lake Durant Overlook Parking Area. The road rejoins State Route 30, just west of DEC Lake Durant Campground.

There are three designated tent sites on the west side of Lake Durant which are accessible from Cascade Pond Trailhead and parking area. One site is located near the parking area and two waterfront sites are farther down the road.

The two lean-tos are on the shore of Tirrell Pond and along the Northville Placid Trail. The Tirell Pond lean-to is at the north end of the pond while the O'Neill Flow lean-to is located at the south end. Tirell Pond and its lean-tos can be accessed by float plane. Those wishing to experience camping by float plane should contact one of the Adirondack float plane operators.

Campers who desire more amenities may camp at the nearby Lake Durant Campground or Lake Eaton Campground and take day trips into the Blue Mountain Wild Forest.

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.

The waters of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest contain numerous and various fishing opportunities. Trout, bass, panfish and tiger muskellunge may be found in the lakes, ponds, rivers or streams in the area.

All waters within the Blue Mountain Wild Forest are open to fishing. Anglers may use the same trailheads and trails as hikers, the same hand launches as paddlers, the same boat launches as boaters, and the same camp sites as campers to access and fish these waters.

Long Lake contains smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye and panfish. It can be accessed from the DEC Long Lake Boat Launch.

Lake Durant contains brook trout, tiger muskellunge and panfish. It can be accessed from the DEC Lake Durant Campground or from the Northville-Lake Placid trail.

Tirrell Pond contains brook trout, lake trout and panfish. It can be accessed via the Tirell Pond Trail, the Northville Placid Trail or by float plane. Those wishing to experience fishing by float plane should contact one of the Adirondack float plane operators.

Rock Lake contains brook trout, smallmouth bass, and panfish. It can be accessed via the Rock Lake Trail.

Rock River is home to smallmouth bass, and panfish. It can be reached via the Rock River Trail or by paddling from the Rock Lake.

Indian River is stocked annually with brown trout. Rainbow trout, brook trout and smallmouth bass are also present. It can be accessed from a number of locations along the Chain Lakes Road.

Cedar River is stocked with brown trout and contains brook trout and smallmouth bass. It can be accessed at the end of Benton Road and Pelon Road.

Fishing Brook contains trout. Anglers can fish the brook between Fishing Brook Bog and County Line Flow but must stay within the 33-foot Public Fishing Rights corridor.

County Line Flow contains brook trout. It can be fished from canoes, kayaks and small boats launched at the hand launch on the southern shore of the flow. Fishing from the shoreline or any other access of the shores is prohibited.

Adirondack/Lake Champlain Fishing provides information on fishing in the Adirondacks and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.

Help Protect Native Adirondack Fish: populations of brook trout, round whitefish and other native Adirondack species have severely declined due to introduced fish.

Boating

boating

General information on boating includes safety tips with links to rules & regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county.

Long Lake is the largest lake in this area. It can be accessed via the DEC Long Lake Boat Launch. The lake is 14 miles long and deep enough to handle motorboats of various size.

Lake Durant can be accessed from the boat launch at the DEC Lake Durant Campground. The use of the boat launch requires a day use fee when the campground is open. Due to shallow waters, the lake should only be used by small motorboats.

Adirondack Lake can be accessed from the Town of Indian Lake Boat Launch in Byron Park.

Don't Spread Aquatic Invasive Species! Boats and trailers can spread invasive species from waterbody to waterbody unless properly cleaned after use. Regulations prohibit boats from launching from or leaving DEC launch sites without first draining the boat and cleaning the boat, trailer and equipment of visible plant and animal material.

Paddling

paddling

General information on paddling includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules and regulations.

Long Lake is 14 miles long and winds coming down the lake can create large waves. During periods of rough weather, paddlers are advised to stay near shore. The lake can be accessed via the DEC Long Lake Boat Launch.

Lake Durant provides flatwater paddling and is easily accessible via the DEC campground on its shores. The use of the boat launch requires a day use fee when the campground is open.

Rock Lake is another flatwater paddle, it requires a 0.8 mile carry to access the lake.

Rock River provides a variety of conditions for paddlers and is best accessed from Rock Lake. The river contains many sections of flatwater and flowing water as well as rapids and waterfalls. No portage trails have been designated or maintained around rapids and waterfalls. There is no take out point downstream.

Lake Abanakee provides flatwater paddling and is accessed from a hand launch site on the Chain Lakes Road South just past the Town of Indian Lake Beach.

Indian River provides a white-water paddling experience and can be accessed from the Rafters Parking Lot. The 3.5 mile section of river joins with the Hudson River which continues another 14 miles through the Hudson Gorge. Only experienced whitewater paddlers should undertake this trip. Others can hire a guide or take a guided raft or kayak trip down the rivers available through one of the many outfitting companies.

Paddling is allowed on Fishing Brook and County Line Flow. Launch onto Fishing Brook at the Pickwickett Pond Road Hand Launch and paddle 0.9 mile downstream to County Line Flow. Canoes and kayaks may be launched for retrieved at the hand launch on County Line Flow. Traveling upstream on Fishing Brook is not advisable in low water.

NOTE: Fishing Brook and County Line Flow are on Township 20 Easement Lands. The lands are privately owned with limited public access rights. The public is permitted to access the banks of Fishing Brook but not the shoreline of County Line Flow. Please respect private property. Do not trespass on private lands or camps.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting
trapping

General information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.

Hunting and trapping is permitted on all forest preserve lands of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest and the easement lands of the Township 19 Tract south of the O'Neill Flow Road. The lands north of the road are private and trespassing for any reason is prohibited.

Hunters and trappers may use the parking areas, roads, seasonal access roads, trailheads, and trails used by hikers, boat launches and hand launches used by boaters, and paddlers to access the lands and waters in this area. Hunters can park on the shoulders of seasonal access roads provided vehicles are out of the travel lane.

Township 19 Tract Public Use Areas and Forest Preserve lands can be accessed from the parking area at the end of the Barker Pond Road which is accessed from State Route 28/30 via the O'Neil Flow Road. Parking is allowed along the O'Neill Flow Road and Barker Pond Road - do not block gates. Two campsites near Barker Pond are available to hunters.

Township 20 Tract Public Use Areas and Forest Preserve lands can be accessed from the Minerva Club Road off of State Route 28N. One campsite is available 0.6 mile down the Minerva Club Road.

Camping permits can be obtained from the local Forest Ranger for periods of a week or more so that people may camp on and hunt around interior ponds.

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Many miles of snowmobile trails are found on the forest preserve and adjacent easement lands. The trail system connects the communities of Blue Mountain Lake, Indian Lake, Long Lake and Newcomb. Snowmobilers can access these trails from parking areas in and around these communities.

Old Stage Trail provides a connection between Lake Durant and Blue Mountain Lake. From Lake Durant the trail heads west on the north side of NYS Route 30 where it connects to a private land trail system which continues westward into Blue Mountain Lake

Cedar River Trail is accessed from the end of Benton Road and crosses the Cedar River. From there it generally parallels NYS Route 30, heading northwest past Rock Lake and continues to Lake Durant.

O'Neil Flow Road is a designated snowmobile trail in the winter. It starts off NYS Route 30 and heads north across a short section of Blue Mountain Wild Forest lands connecting to Cornell Road.

Cornell Road is a designated snowmobile trail through the Township 19 Tract which connects O'Neil Flow Road with logging roads on the Essex Chain Tract easement lands.

Newcomb Connector Trail extends north on former logging roads until it intersects with the Long Lake to Newcomb Connector Trail. The trail then turns south continuing through the Essex Chain Tract easement lands. The trail continues onto Goodnow Flow Road and then turns onto Ord Road. The trail extends north from there into the community of Newcomb.

Long Lake to Newcomb Connector Trail travels more than 10 miles between the community of Long Lake and the Newcomb Connector Trails, mostly on logging roads on the Township 20 Tract lands.

Currently, these snowmobile trails are the only type of public access allowed on the Essex Chain Tract and on the portion of the Township 19 Tract and Township 20 Tracts through which they pass.

Cross-country skiers and snowshoers may also use snowmobile trails. Snowmobilers should slow down when approaching and passing skiers or snowshoers.

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing
snowshoeing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.

Old Stage Trail, Cedar River Trail, and O'Neil Flow Road are designated snowmobile trails that can be used by cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Skiers and snowshoers should be on alert for snowmobiles on these trails and move to the side to let them pass.

The Old Stage Trail may be accessed from the Southern Northville-Placid Trailhead parking area.

The Cedar River Trail may be accessed from the Benton Road Parking Area, the Rock River Trailhead, and the Rock Lake Trailhead.

O'Neil Flow Road can be accessed via the Cedar River Trail from the Rock Lake Trailhead and the Rock River Trailhead.

Rock River Trail, Tirrell Pond Trail, and the Northville-Placid Trail are hiking trails that cross-country skiers and snowshoers can use though that are not specifically designed or designated for skiing.

When traveling on designated snowmobile trails, skiers and snowshoers should be alert for snowmobiles. Move to the side of the trail to allow snowmobiles to pass.

Rock Climbing

rock climbing

General information on rock climbing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

There are some climbing routes on cliffs on Ledger Mountain south of Rock Pond. Climbers can park at the Rock Lake Trailhead to access the cliffs but there is no designated trail to the cliffs.

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

The Adirondacks contain large tracts of wildlife habitat with some boreal, bog, alpine and other unique habitats. Many birds (Common Loon, Peregrine Falcon) and mammals (Moose, Black Bear) are unique to the Adirondacks or are mainly found here. More than 50 species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds inhabit or pass through the Adirondacks at one time of the year or another.

Directions

There are six parking areas from which the Blue Mountain Wild Forest may be accessed, most are located along or just a short distance from State Routes 28, 28N or 30.

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Parking Areas & Trailheads

  • Tarbell Hill Road/Northville Placid Trailhead and parking area is located approximately 0.7 mile from State Route 28 N. (43.9849°N, 74.3985°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Northern Northville-Placid Trailhead and parking area is on the south side located of State Route 28N (43.9760°N, 74.3928°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Blue Mountain/Tirrell Pond Trailhead and parking area is located on the east side of State Route 28/30 a short distance north of the Adirondack Museum (43.8537°N, 74.4320°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Southern Northville-Placid Trailhead and parking area is located on both sides of State Route 30 immediately north of the DEC Lake Durant Campground (43.8421°N, 74.3860°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Barker Pond Trailhead and parking area is located at the end of the Barker Pond Road off O'Neil Flow Road which is off NYS Route 28/30 (43.8528°N, 74.3357°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Rock Lake Trailhead and parking area is located on the east side of State Route 30 (43.8215°N, 74.3486°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Rock River Trailhead and parking area is located on the east side of State Route 30 (43.81350°N, 74.32352°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Benton Road River Access Site is located at the end of Benton Road off State Route 30 (43.7922°N, 74.2897°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Raft Put-in Parking Area is located on the Chain Lakes South Road off State Route 28 (43.8015°N, 74.2300°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)

Boat Launches and Hand Launches

  • Long Lake Boat Launch is located off Dock Road off State Route 30 in the Hamlet of Long Lake. (43.9786°N, 74.4167°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Lake Durant Boat Launch is located in the DEC Lake Durant Campground along State Route 28/30 southeast of the Hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake. (43.8378°N, 74.3862°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Town of Indian Lake Boat Launch on Adirondack Lake is located in Byron Park on the north side of State Route 28. (43.7824°N, 74.2538°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Town of Indian Lake Hand Launch on Lake Abanakee is located on the Chain Lakes Road South just past the town of Indian Lake Beach. (43.7930°N, 74.2353°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Pickwickett Pond Road Hand Launch and Parking is located on the seasonal access Pickwickett Pond Road off of State Route 28N. (43.9883°N, 74.2915°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)
  • County Line Flow Hand Launch Parking entrance is located along State Route 28N. The parking area is located at the end of a short seasonal access road and the hand launch is located at the end of short trail near the parking area. (43.9769°N, 74.2762°W) Google maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating in the Adirondacks to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other backcountry users.

All users of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest Unit must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

The access road to the radio towers on Blue Mountain is a private road. The use of the road by people other than authorized personnel with administrative duties is prohibited and is considered trespassing.

Rules and regulations for recreating on the conservation easement lands may differ from those for adjacent (or nearby) forest preserve lands. Public access and recreation is allowed with restrictions.

  • Public use of motorized vehicles on easement lands is prohibited unless specifically designated.
  • Motorized vehicles should not pass any closed gate whether locked or not.
  • Do not block gates or roadways.
  • Certain access roads may be closed when logging operations are active.
  • Do not trespass on private lands that are not part of the conservation easement.

How We Manage Blue Mountain Wild Forest

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, and natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Indian Lake and Long Lake.

Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Blue Mountain Lake, Indian Lake and Long Lake.
Dining opportunities and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Blue Mountain Lake, Indian Lake and Long Lake.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website), Hamilton County Tourism (leaves DEC website) and the Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC Website) for information on outdoor guides.