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Sentinel Range Wilderness

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Sentinel Range Wilderness locator map

The 23,874-acre Sentinel Range Wilderness is located in the northeast portion of the Adirondack Park and is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The namesake Sentinel Range bisects the unit. 3,893 feet high Kilburn Mountain is the highest point in the wilderness. The mostly forested unit contains only a few ponds and wetlands.

Backcountry Information for the High Peaks Region 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 regulations.

There are 10.4 miles of hiking trails in the Sentinel Range Wilderness.

Pitchoff Mountain (3,600 ft.) Trail extends 4.3 miles over the summit between two trailheads located on State Route 73. The trail ascends 1.9 miles and 1,400 feet from the Pitchoff Mountain West Trailhead. Parking for the Pitchoff Mountain West Trailhead is in any of the many parking areas along Route 73 that are shared with the Cascade Mountain Trailhead which is located within the High Peaks Wilderness. At approximately the 1.2-mile mark a 0.1-mile spur trail leads to the "Balanced Boulders" and a view of the Cascade Lakes, Cascade Mountain and other High Peaks. The upper reaches of the west trail and the ridgeline on the east trail are on open bedrock and provide many opportunities for taking in the views of the surrounding mountains.

Parking for the Pitchoff Mountain East Trailhead is located on the opposite side of State Route 73. The trail ascends 1,350 feet in the first mile from the Pitchoff Mountain East Trailhead. Once on the mountain's ridge the trail ascends another 1.4 miles and 350 feet to the summit with four 50 to 100-foot descents and ascents.

Jackrabbit Ski Trail extends 3.5 miles between Lake Placid and Keene. On the Lake Placid end there is a small parking area off Mountain Lane near where it intersects with State Route 73. On the Keene side, the trail starts at the end of Alstead Hill Lane. A small parking area is located off Alstead Hill Lane just before it enters the private property of an outfitter/lodging business. Hikers and skiers can travel on the lane through the private property to wilderness. From the Lake Placid end, the trail ascends 200 feet in the first 0.75 mile and then descends 700 feet in 2.75 miles. The trail is on an old dirt road in the notch between Pitchoff Mountain and the southern end of the Sentinel Range, and it passes a large beaver pond.

Owen Pond - Copperas Pond Trail extends 1.7 miles between two trailheads located on State Route 86. The forested trail ascends 0.5 mile and 200 feet from the Owen Pond Trailhead, much of it along the outlet of Owen Pond, before reaching the pond itself. The picturesque pond sits at the foot of Kilburn Mountain. The trail continues another 0.7 mile ascending another 200 feet before descending 100 feet to the clear waters of Copperas Pond. A 0.75-mile loop trail to Winch Pond is located just west of Copperas Pond. Winch Pond is more of a wetland pond, but is picturesque in its own right. Copperas Pond can be reached from the Copperas Pond Trailhead with a 0.5-mile hike which ascends 450 feet.

Camping

primitive camping
lean-to

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

All designated primitive tent 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.

Campers who desire more amenities may camp at the nearby Wilmington Notch Campground and take day trips into the Sentinel Range Wilderness.

There are four designated primitive tent sites and one lean-to in the Sentinel Range Wilderness.

One designated tent site is located on the shore of Owens Pond and two are located on the shore of Copperas Pond. A lean-to is also located on the shore of Copperas Pond.

A designated tent site is also located off the Jackrabbit Ski Trail approximately one mile from the Alstead Lane Trailhead.

Rock & Ice Climbing

rock climbing

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

Rock and ice climbing are popular activities in this area.

There are two climbing areas on the south face of Pitchoff Mountain, both sites are used by rock climbers and ice climbers. Cascade Pass North can be accessed from the Picthoff West Trailhead. Pitchoff Chimney can be accessed from the pulloff parking areas for Lower Cascade Lake along the Route 73.

Pitchoff North Ice Face (aka Ice Age Wall) is for ice climbing only and can be accessed from the parking area on Mountain Lane.

Rock climbers can access Barkeater Cliffs from the Alstead Hill Lane using the Jackrabbit Trail.

Rock climbing routes on Notch Mountain can be reached from the Copperas Pond Trail.

All climbers should check guidebooks or other sources of information about climbing these cliffs. Inexperienced climbers should consider hiring a climbing guide.

The placement of bolts, or other fixed anchors which involve drilling or defacement of the rock is a violation of Department regulations (6 NYCRR 190.8(g)). Anchors in this area were not installed by the DEC. They are not inspected or maintained by DEC.

Due to peregrine falcon nesting activity some climbing routes are closed during the nesting season. Learn more about peregrine falcons and Adirondack rock climbing.

Fishing

fishing

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

All waters within the Sentinel Range Wilderness are open to fishing. Anglers may use the same trailheads and trails as hikers, the same hand launches as paddlers, and the same campsites as campers to access and fish these waters.

DEC stocks brown trout in Owen Pond. The pond can be a can be accessed from the Owen Pond Trailhead.

Copperas Pond contains naturally-reproducing populations of lake trout and brook trout. The pond can be accessed from the Copperas Pond Trailhead. Check the special fishing regulations for Essex County (leaving DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website) for Copperas Pond lake trout limits.

Although technically a part of the High Peaks Wilderness, Lower Cascade Lake is stocked by DEC with brook trout. The pond can be accessed from the Cascade Lakes Day Use Area from a hand launch site at the upper end of the lake.

A section of the West Branch Ausable River runs along the western edge of the wilderness. The river is renowned for its trout fishing. DEC stocks brook, brown and rainbow trout in the river. Much of this section is catch and release only, check the special fishing regulations for Essex County (leaving DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website). The river may be accessed from numerous pull-offs along River Road and State Route 86.

A section of the East Branch Ausable River serves as the eastern boundary of the wilderness. DEC stocks brook, brown and rainbow trout in the East Branch as well.

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 fish species have severely declined due to introduced fish.

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.

Hunters and trappers may use the parking areas, roads, seasonal access roads, trailheads, and trails used by hikers, and boat launches used by 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.

A parking area on Bartlett Road where it meets the northern boundary of the wilderness provides access to lands in the eastern portion of the wilderness.

Paddling

paddling

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

Although technically a part of the High Peaks Wilderness, Upper and Lower Cascade Lakes can be accessed from the Cascade Lakes Day Use Area off State Route 73.

Picnicking

picnicking

The 10th Mountain Division Monument area has a small parking area and benches along the Ausable River. This is also an access point to fish the river.

Although technically a part of the High Peaks Wilderness, the Cascade Lakes Day Use Area off State Route 73 has parking, portable toilets and picnic tables.

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.

A 3.5-mile section of the 24-mile Jackrabbit Cross-Country Ski Trail (leaving DEC website) passes through the unit. It can be accessed from the parking areas on Mountain Lane and Alstead Hill Road.

Wildlife

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

A variety of fish and wildlife species are found across or adjacent to the easement parcels and in streams and water bodies. A partial list of wildlife species includes: black bear, beaver, bobcat, coyote, white-tailed deer, fisher, red and grey fox, snowshoe hare, moose, a wide variety of fur bearers, waterfowl, upland birds, wild turkey, numerous small mammal, amphibian, reptile and insect species and a multitude of song birds.

Sentinel Range Wilderness is part of the larger Adirondack Sub-alpine Forest Bird Conservation Area, which was established in 2001. The area is also home to roughly a dozen species classified as endangered, threatened, or species of concern.

Directions

State Route 73 and State Route 86 are the main routes used for accessing the Sentinel Range Wilderness, though the Bartlett Road can be accessed from State Route 9.

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

Parking Areas and Trailheads

  • Copperas Pond Trailhead is located along State Route 86, the parking area is across from the trailhead (44.3353°N, 73.9001°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Owen Pond Trailhead and parking area is located along State Route 86 (44.3260°N, 73.9107°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Mountain Lane Parking Area is located off State Route 73 (44.2367°N, 73. 8962°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Pitchoff Mountain West Trailhead is located on the north side of State Route 73 (44.2222°N, 73.8828°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website). Parking areas are on both sides of the road and shared with the Cascade Mountain and Porter Mountain Trailheads.
  • Pitchoff Mountain East Trailhead parking area is located on the south side of State Route 73 (44.2436°N, 73.8458°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website). The trailhead is the across the street.
  • Cascade Lakes Day Use Area is located at the end of a short access off State Route 73 (44.2257°N, 73.8749°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Alstead Hill Lane Parking Area is located off of State Route 73 in Keene (44.2666°N, 73.8506°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Bartlett Road Parking Area can be reached from Route 9N (44.3125°N, 73.7973°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • 10th Mountain Division Monument parking area is located along River Road (44.2867°N, 73.9326°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Route 86 Fishing Access Sites are located along State Route 86 between (44.2998°N, 73.9291°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website) and (44.3410°N,73.8899°W) Google Map (leaves DEC website)

Hand Launch

  • Cascade Lakes Day Use Area is located at the end of a short access off State Route 73 (44.2257°N,73.8749°W) Google Map (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 other backcountry users.

All users of Sentinel Range Wilderness Area must follow all State Land Use Regulation and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

DEC Forest Rangers are primarily responsible for search and rescue, wild land fire suppression and enforcing state land use laws and regulations. DEC Environmental Conservation Officers are primarily responsible for enforcing hunting, fishing, trapping and pollution laws and regulation. Both are state law enforcement officers and, as such, can and do enforce all state laws.

How We Manage

DEC is developing the Sentinel Range Wilderness Unit Management Plan. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands & Facilities

Gas may be found in the nearby communities of AuSable Forks, Lake Placid, Jay, Keene and Wilmington.

Food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of AuSable Forks, Lake Placid, Wilmington, and Keene.

Dining and lodging may be found in AuSable Forks, Lake Placid, Jay, Keene and Wilmington.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and Essex County/Lake Placid Tourism (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.