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Debar Mountain Wild Forest

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Debar Mountain Wild Forest locator map

Debar Mountain Wild Forest is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and is located in the northern portion of the Adirondack Park. This web page focuses on the 81,160 acres of Forest Preserve lands generally bounded by the park boundary on the north, State Route 30 on the west, County Route 55 on the south, and State Route 3, County Route 26, D&H Road and Wolf Pond Road on the east. The web page includes 71,500 acres of Debar Mountain Wild Forest lands and 11,660 acres of Chazy Highlands Wild Forest lands. It does not include 16,500 acres of Forest Preserve lands that are part of the Debar Mountain Wild Forest west of State Route 30 and are associated with the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands.

The summit of the 3,305-foot Debar Mountain, the unit's namesake, is the highest point in the unit. Other peaks include the 3,279-foot Loon Lake Mountain, the 2,867-foot Baldface Mountain, and the 2,841-foot Kate Mountains. Much of the terrain consists of low hills and flat river valleys.

There are numerous water bodies in the Wild Forest, the largest of which are the 1,185-acre Meacham Lake, the 588-acre Rainbow Lake, the 508-acre Osgood Pond, the 377-acre Lake Kushaqua, and the 86-acre Debar Pond. The North Branch Saranac River, Osgood River, Hays Brook, Hatch Brook, and many other small streams and brooks flow through the Wild Forest.

Trail Information for the Northern 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-tos and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Nearly 30 miles of designated hiking trails are found in the Wild Forest.

Debar Mountain Trail (3,305 feet) extends 3.7 miles and ascends 1,725 feet from the trailhead within Meacham Lake Campground to the summit of the mountain. The trail ascends only 170 feet in the first 1.9 miles and ascends 755 feet in the next 1.3 miles. The last portion of the trail is steep, climbing 800 feet in the 0.5 mile to the summit. A lean-to is located along the trail just before the last steep section to the summit. Views at the top are limited by the trees growing on the summit but include the High Peaks to the south. When the campground is open, hikers are required to pay a day-use fee.

Loon Lake Mountain Trail (3,279 feet) extends 2.8 miles and ascends 1,600 feet from the trailhead to the summit of the mountain and the fire tower.

Debar Meadows to Meacham Lake Trail extends 7.7 miles between the western trailhead in Meacham Lake Campground and the eastern trailhead on the Debar Meadows Road near the old Debar Game Management Farm. The trail ascends only 200 feet from the campground trailhead to the highest point near the center of the trail, then descends 170 feet to a point a short distance before the eastern trailhead, then ascends 70 feet to the trailhead. The Debar Mountain Trail shares the first 1.1 miles of this trail. Hikers using the western trailhead are required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open. The Debar Trail is a portion of a Main Snowmobile Corridor Route (C8) in the winter.

Skiff Pond Trail extends 2.8 miles from the eastern Debar Trailhead and reconnects with the Debar Trail approximately 2.3 miles west of the trailhead. The trail descend and ascends three times, all less than 100 feet, before descending to the Debar Trail. The trail passes Skiff Pond and the primitive tent site along its shore.

Hays Brook Trail is a former roadway built by the Civilian Conservation Corps that extends nearly 3.0 miles from the trailhead to the middle reaches of Hays Brook. While the difference in elevation between the trailhead and the trail's end is less than 10 feet, there is one ascent of 100 feet and two descents of 35 feet on the way to the brook that will be ascents on the way out.

Grass Pond Trail extends 1.4 miles from the Hays Brook Trail and ascends just 75 feet from the trailhead to the shores of Grass Pond. The trail leaves the Hays Brook Trail to the right 0.5 mile from the trailhead. The trail has two sections of descent followed by an ascent along the way; the second includes an ascent of approximately 100 feet. A lean-to is located near the end of the trail with a view of the pond.

Sheep Meadow Trail leaves the Hays Brook Trail 1.4 miles from the trailhead and extends 2.3 miles to a former sheep meadow. While there is only a 15-foot increase in elevation from the start of the trail to its end, the trail does have some ascents and descents including a 35-foot descent to Hays Brook followed by a 40-foot ascent. The trail ascends 40 feet in 0.4 mile and then descends 20 feet in the last 0.2 mile of the trail.

Hays Brook Horse Trail leaves the Hays Brook Trail 0.9 mile from the trailhead and extends 0.9 mile to the Sheep Meadow Trail, providing for a 3.4-mile loop hike.

D&H Rail Trail extends 4.0 miles on a level path between Bloomingdale-Gabriels Road (County Route 55) and Oregon Plains Road. The trail passes over or beside wetlands, brooks and ponds while passing through a variety of boreal habitats. The trail is popular with birders, casual bikers, dog walkers and others who want an easy walk in the woods. The old bed continues another 3.8 miles south of Bloomingdale-Gabriels Road to a parking area off State Route 86. On the southern end it is known as the Bloomingdale Bog Trail.

Kushaqua Rail Trail extends 1.3 miles between Buck Pond Campground and Kushaqua-Mud Pond Road. The former rail bed is located along the shore of Lake Kushaqua and provides views of the lake, Loon Lake Mountain and the privately owned fire tower on Meenhaga Mountain. The trail is popular with walkers, hikers, and bikers, especially among those camping at the campground.

Fire Tower

firetower

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 Loon Lake Mountain Fire Tower is on the New York State Register of Historic Places and has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. The fire tower is not open to the public at this time but DEC plans to rehabilitate it in the near future so it may be available to the public.

A steel fire tower was constructed here in 1917, replacing the wooden fire tower constructed in 1912. The original steel fire tower was blown over in a storm sometime during the winter of 1927-28. Its remains can be seen next to the hiking trail near the summit. The current steel AerMotor Model #LS‐40 fire tower was constructed in 1928. The fire tower was staffed and used for fire observation until 1970. There is no "friends" group associated with the fire tower at this time.

Biking

biking

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

Hays Brook Trail is a former roadway that extends nearly 3.0 miles from the trailhead to the middle reaches of Hays Brook. While the difference in elevation between the trailhead and the trail's end is less than 10 feet, there is one ascent of 100 feet and two descents of 35 feet on the way to the brook that will be ascents on the way out.

Grass Pond Trail extends 1.4 miles from the Hays Brook Trail and ascends just 75 feet from the trailhead to the shores of Grass Pond. The trail leaves the Hays Brook Trail to the right 0.5 mile from the trailhead. The trail has two sections of descent followed by an ascent along the way; the second includes an ascent of approximately 100 feet. A lean-to is located near the end of the trail with a view of the pond.

Sheep Meadow Trail leaves the Hays Brook Trail 1.4 miles from the trailhead and extends 2.3 miles to a former sheep meadow. While there is only a 15-foot increase in elevation from the start of the trail to its end, the trail does have some ascents and descents including a 35-foot descent to Hays Brook followed by a 40-foot ascent. The trail ascends 40 feet in 0.4 mile and then descends 20 feet in the last 0.2 mile of the trail.

Hays Brook Horse Trail leaves the Hays Brook Trail 0.9 mile from the trailhead and extends 0.9 mile to the Sheep Meadow Trail, providing for a 3.4-mile loop hike.

Mountain Pond Road is a 1.5-mile seasonal access town road on which the Hays Brook Trailhead parking area is located. The road ascends 85 feet in 0.2 mile south from the parking area, otherwise it is fairly level.

Slush Pond Road is a 2.5-mile seasonal access town road located directly across State Route 30 from the northern intersection of Mountain Pond Road. It can be accessed from the Hays Brook Trailhead parking area via 0.2 mile of Mountain Pond Road. The road ascends 50 feet in the first 0.5 mile, descends 60 feet in a 0.4-mile long section, and ends at a gate on the boundary of adjacent private land.

Kettle Trail leaves Slush Pond Road approximately 1.0 mile from State Route 30 and extends 3.2 miles to McCollum Road.

D&H Rail Trail extends 4.0 miles on a level path between Bloomingdale-Gabriels Road (County Route 55) and Oregon Plains Road. The trail passes over or beside wetlands, brooks and ponds while passing through a variety of boreal habitats. The trail is popular with birders, casual bikers, dog walkers and others who want an easy walk in the woods. The old bed continues another 3.8 miles south of Bloomingdale-Gabriels Road to a parking area off State Route 86. On the southern end it is known as the Bloomingdale Bog Trail.

Kushaqua Rail Trail extends 1.3 miles between Buck Pond Campground and Kushaqua-Mud Pond Road. The former rail bed is located along the shore of Lake Kushaqua and provides views of the lake, Loon Lake Mountain and the privately owned fire tower on Meenhaga Mountain. The trail is popular with walkers, hikers, and bikers, especially among those camping at the campground. The trail is part of the C7B Snowmobile Corridor Trail in the winter.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

General information on horseback riding includes safety tips and rules and regulations.

Presently, 10.4 miles of designated trails are open to use by equestrians. All of which are accessed from the Hays Brook Trail System Parking Area where a hitching post is located.

Hays Brook Trail is a former roadway that extends nearly 3.0 miles from the trailhead to the middle reaches of Hays Brook. While the difference in elevation between the trailhead and the trail's end is less than 10 feet, there is one ascent of 100 feet and two descents of 35 feet on the way to the brook that will be ascents on the way out.

Grass Pond Trail extends 1.4 miles from the Hays Brook Trail and ascends just 75 feet from the trailhead to the shores of Grass Pond. The trail leaves the Hays Brook Trail to the right 0.5 mile from the trailhead. The trail has two sections of descent followed by an ascent along the way; the second includes an ascent of approximately 100 feet. A lean-to is located near the end of the trail with a view of the pond.

Sheep Meadow Trail leaves the Hays Brook Trail 1.4 miles from the trailhead and extends 2.3 miles to a former sheep meadow. While there is only a 15-foot increase in elevation from the start of the trail to its end, the trail does have some ascents and descents including a 35-foot descent to Hays Brook followed by a 40-foot ascent. The trail ascends 40 feet in 0.4 mile and then descends 20 feet in the last 0.2 mile of the trail.

Hays Brook Horse Trail leaves the Hays Brook Trail 0.9 mile from the trailhead and extends 0.9 mile to the Sheep Meadow Trail, providing for a 3.4-mile loop hike.

Mountain Pond Road is a 1.5-mile seasonal access town road on which the Hays Brook Trailhead parking area is located. The road ascends 85 feet in 0.2 mile south from the parking area, otherwise it is fairly level.

Slush Pond Road is a 2.5-mile seasonal access town road located directly across State Route 30 from the northern intersection of Mountain Pond Road. It can be access from the Hays Brook Trailhead parking area via 0.2 mile of Mountain Pond Road. The road ascends 50 feet in the first 0.5 mile, descends 60 feet in a 0.4-mile long section, and ends at a gate on the boundary of adjacent private land.

Kettle Trail leaves Slush Pond Road approximately 1.0 mile from State Route 30 and extends 3.2 miles to McCollum Road.

Paddling

paddling

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

There are numerous lakes, ponds, and rivers which provide both flatwater and moving water paddling experiences.

Clear Pond (aka Boy Scout Clear Pond) and the primitive tent site on its shoreline may be accessed from the Clear Pond Hand Launch. The eastern end of the northern shore contains permanent and seasonal residences. Boats with electric motors less than 5 horsepower can use the pond.

Meacham Lake (1,185 acres) is surrounded by Forest Preserve lands and a campground is located on its northern and northeastern shores. The lake may be accessed from a hand launch in the northwestern corner of the lake. Paddlers should use caution on this water. Due to its size, high winds can create large waves. The water also receives considerable use by motorboats. Paddlers should stay close to shore during periods of high winds. A new boat launch will open this spring on the northeastern shore of the lake within Meacham Lake Campground. Paddlers will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open.

Barnum Pond may be accessed from the Barnum Pond Hand Launch.

Mountain Pond may be accessed from the Mountain Pond Hand Launch. There are six campsites and one primitive tent site located on its shores.

Slush Pond may be accessed from the Slush Pond Hand Launch.

Osgood Pond may be accessed from the Osgood Pond Hand Launch and Parking Area. The launch also provides access to the Osgood River, Jones Pond Outlet, and Church Pond in the nearby Paul Smiths College Easement Lands. The western, northwestern, southeastern and northeastern portions of the shoreline are privately owned and contain permanent and seasonal residences. Motor boats use Osgood Pond and portions of the two rivers.

There are two primitive tent sites on the banks of the Osgood River and three lean-tos are located on the south shore of Osgood Pond in the Paul Smiths College Easement Lands.

Jones Pond may be accessed from the Jones Pond Hand Launch. Five campsites and two primitive tent sites are located on the shores of the pond. Much of the eastern shoreline is privately owned and contains permanent and seasonal residences and a summer camp.

Lake Kushaqua (377 acres) is 2 miles long and 0.8 mile wide at the widest. The lake's shoreline and islands are Forest Preserve lands. The lake may be accessed from the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch within Buck Pond Campground and is connected by water to Rainbow Lake and Buck Pond. The lake is also used by motorboats. Paddlers will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open.

Rainbow Lake (588 acres) is 2.75 miles long. Much of its shoreline and most of its islands are privately owned and contain permanent and seasonal residences. The lake may be accessed from the Rainbow Lake Hand Launch or the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch in Buck Pond Campground via Lake Kushaqua, Kushaqua Narrows, and the Rainbow Narrows. There are four primitive tent sites on the shores of the lake. Motor boats may operate on the lake. Paddlers using the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open.

Clear Pond may be accessed from the Rainbow Lake Hand Launch via Rainbow Lake and from a small shallow opening between the lake and the pond near the center of the Rainbow Lake Esker.

Loon Lake (aka Loon Pond) may be accessed from the Rainbow Lake Hand Launch or the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch via Rainbow Lake and the 0.2-mile Loon Lake Carry.

Buck Pond (128 acres) may be accessed from the Buck Pond Hand Launch and Parking Area located within Buck Pond Campground. The pond is open to paddlers and electric motors only. Paddlers can access Lake Kushaqua and Rainbow Lake from the pond via a short carry. Paddlers are required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open.

Boating

boating

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

There are two boat launch sites with ramps and parking for trailers. Some waters have only hand launches for car-top boats with small motors.

Meacham Lake (1,185 acres) is surrounded by Forest Preserve lands and a campground is located on its northern and northeastern shores. A new boat launch will open this summer on the northeastern shore of the lake within Meacham Lake Campground. Boaters will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open.

Lake Kushaqua (PDF, 239 KB) (377 acres) is two miles long and 0.8 mile wide at the widest. The lake's shoreline and islands are Forest Preserve lands. The lake may be accessed from the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch within Buck Pond Campground and connects to Rainbow Lake. Boaters will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open.

Rainbow Lake (PDF, 266 KB) (588 acres) is 2.75 miles long. Much of its shoreline and most of its islands are privately owned. The lake may be accessed from the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch in Buck Pond Campground via Lake Kushaqua, Kushaqua Narrows, and the Rainbow Narrows. There are four primitive tent sites on the shores of the lake. Boaters will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open.

Don't Spread Aquatic Invasive Species! Boats and trailers can spread invasive species from water body to water body 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.

Camping

primitive camping

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

There are 37 designated primitive sites here, of which 16 are tent sites and 21 are campsites. There are also 4 lean-tos in the unit. All are available on a first come - first served basis and cannot be reserved. Designated sites are marked with a yellow "Camp Here" disc (see picture at right).

campsite marker

Designated tent sites are for tents only and usually are accessible only by hiking or paddling. Tents or small campers can use designated campsites and are usually accessible by motor vehicles. There are no hook-ups for water or electricity at campsites.

Clear Pond has one primitive tent site on its shore which may be accessed from the Clear Pond Hand Launch.

Debar Meadows has one primitive tent site located near the Debar Meadows-Meacham Lake Trailhead.

Skiff Pond has one primitive tent site on its shore which may be accessed from the Debar Trailhead via the Skiff Pond Trail.

Mountain Pond has six campsites on its shores which may be accessed from Mountain Pond Road. One primitive campsite is located on the eastern shore and may be accessed from the Mountain Pond Hand Launch via paddling.

Slush Pond Road has six campsites located along it.

The Osgood River has two primitive tent sites on the east bank (river right) of the river which can be accessed from the Osgood Pond Hand Launch via Osgood Pond.

Jones Pond has four campsites on its northeastern shore which may be accessed from a seasonal access road off of Jones Pond Road, and three primitive tent sites on the northwestern shore which may be accessed by foot from Jones Pond Road.

There is a primitive tent site located on an island in Lake Kushaqua at the northern end of the Kushaqua Narrows that may be accessed by boat, canoe, or kayak from the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch.

There are seven campsites located in the Kushaqua-Mud Pond Road corridor:

  • One campsite is located near the bridge over the Kushaqua Narrows and may be accessed from the Kushaqua-Mud Pond Road.
  • One campsite is located between the power line and the shore of Kushaqua Narrows and can be accessed from the power line right of way.
  • Two campsites are located on opposite shores of Hope Pond:
    • One may be accessed from a short roadway that leaves the road directly across from Little Hope Pond.
    • The other may accessed from the power line right of way via a roadway along the eastern shore of the pond.
  • One primitive tent site is accessed via a short road/trail near the White Fathers Church (NOTE: The church is private property).
  • Three campsites are located on White Fathers Point and may be accessed via a seasonal access road that extends east from the road, across the pole line, to the campsites on the western shore Lake Kushaqua. The seasonal access road descends a steep hill and 4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended.

Rainbow Lake has four primitive tent sites on its shores which may be accessed from the Rainbow Lake Hand Launch or the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch.

Loon Lake (aka Loon Pond) has one primitive tent site and may be accessed from the Rainbow Lake Hand Launch or the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch via Clear Pond and the 0.2-mile Loon Lake Carry.

Two lean-tos are located at the Sheep Meadow and may be accessed from the Hays Brook Trailhead via the Sheep Meadow Trail.

One lean-to on Grass Pond may be accessed from the Hays Brook Trailhead via the Grass Pond Trail.

One lean-to is located a half mile below the summit of Debar Mountain and may be accessed from the Meacham Lake Campground Trailhead via the Debar Mountain Trail.

There are three lean-tos located on the south shore of Osgood Pond in the Paul Smiths College Easement Lands.

Campers who prefer more amenities may camp at the nearby Meacham Lake Campground and Buck Pond Campground.

Fishing

fishing

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

Numerous lakes, ponds, rivers and streams are open to public use and provide exceptional fishing opportunities for a wide variety of both cold water and warm water fish species.

Clear Pond (PDF, 247 KB) (aka Boy Scout Clear Pond) (82 acres) contains splake, brown bullhead and sunfish. The pond is stocked with splake and can be accessed from the Clear Pond Hand Launch.

Meacham Lake (1,185 acres) is a two-story lake which is stocked with splake and contains northern pike, smallmouth bass, brown trout, brown bullhead, yellow perch and sunfish. The lake may be accessed from a hand launch in the northwestern corner of the lake. A new boat launch will open this summer on the northeastern shore of the lake within Meacham Lake Campground. Anglers will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open. Ice fishing is allowed on the lake.

Skiff Pond contains brook trout and may be accessed from the Debar Meadows-Meacham Lake Trailhead via the Skiff Pond Trail.

Mountain Pond is stocked with brook trout. The pond may be accessed from the Mountain Pond Hand Launch. This is a catch and release only water for brook trout. Only artificial lures may be used and the season is open from April through November 30.

Slush Pond contains brook trout and may be accessed from the Slush Pond Hand Launch.

Osgood Pond (PDF, 237 KB) (508 acres) contains northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch, brown bullhead and sunfish. Ice fishing is allowed on the lake.

Jones Pond contains northern pike, yellow perch, brown bullhead and sunfish. The pond can be accessed from the Jones Pond Hand Launch and is open to ice fishing.

Rainbow Lake (PDF, 266 KB) (588 acres) contains largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, brown bullhead, yellow perch and sunfish. The lake may be accessed from the Rainbow Lake Hand Launch or the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch in Buck Pond Campground via Lake Kushaqua, Kushaqua Narrows, and the Rainbow Narrows. Anglers will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open. Ice fishing is allowed on the lake.

Loon Lake (aka Loon Pond) is stocked with brook trout and may be accessed from the Rainbow Lake Hand Launch or the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch via Clear Pond and the 0.2-mile Loon Lake Carry.

Lake Kushaqua (PDF, 239 KB) (377 acres) contains lake trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, brown bullhead, yellow perch and sunfish. The lake is stocked with lake trout and may be accessed from the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch within Buck Pond Campground. Anglers will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open. Ice fishing is allowed on the lake.

Buck Pond (PDF, 180 KB) (128 acres) contains northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, brown bullhead, yellow perch and sunfish. The pond may be accessed from the Buck Pond Hand Launch in Buck Pond Campground. Anglers will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open. Ice fishing is allowed on the pond.

Hope Pond and Little Hope Pond are stocked with brook trout and may be accessed directly from the Kushaqua-Mud Pond Road.

Osgood River contains native brook trout and may be accessed from the Osgood Pond Hand Launch.

Sumner Brook is stocked with brook trout and may be accessed from several locations along the Oregon Plains Road including where the road passes over the brook.

Negro Brook is stocked with brown trout and may accessed where the brook is crossed by Merrill Road, Bigelow Road, and D&H Rail Trail (3 crossings).

Two Bridge Brook is stocked with brook trout and brown trout. The brook may be accessed where it is crossed by Bloomingdale-Gabriels Road (County Route 55).

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

huntingtrapping

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

Hunters and trappers may use the parking areas, roads, seasonal access roads, trailheads, and trails used by hikers, and the boat launches and hand launches used by boaters and paddlers to access the lands and waters in this area.

The area is popular with big game hunters pursuing white-tailed deer and bear. Some enjoy camping for long periods of time during the hunting season. Hunters may obtain camping permits for the full hunting season.

Small game hunters pursue waterfowl, ruffed grouse, and varying hare.

Species legally trapped in the unit include beaver, bobcat, fisher, mink, muskrat, river otter, red fox, gray fox, skunk, coyote and weasel.

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

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

There are many miles of designated snowmobile trails within the unit which are maintained and groomed by Franklin County Snowmobilers under an agreement with DEC.

The main routes connecting northern Franklin County to southern Franklin County and the main routes connecting the St. Lawrence County and Clinton County Snowmobile Trail Systems pass through the unit.

Main Corridor Routes which traverse the unit include the C7, C7B, and C8. The Debar Meadows-Meacham Lake Trail serves as a portion of the C8 route, while the D&H Rail Trail serves as a portion of the C7B route. Other snowmobile trails in the unit include the S78, S82, and S83.

Snowmobilers should slow down when passing skiers, snowshoers, and other snowmobilers on the trail.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiingsnowshoeing

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.

The Hays Brook Trail System which includes Hays Brook Trail, Grass Pond Trail, Sheep Meadow Trail, and Hays Brook Horse Trail is popular among skiers and snowhoers.

Mountain Pond Road (1.5 miles), the nearby Slush Pond Road (2.5 miles), and Kettle Trail (3.2 miles) off Slush Pond Road are often used by skiers and snowshoers.

D&H Rail Trail extends 4.0 miles on a level path between Bloomingdale-Gabriels Road (County Route 55) and Oregon Plains Road. The trail passes over or beside wetlands, brooks and ponds while passing through a variety of boreal habitats. The trail is popular with birders, casual bikers, dog walkers and others who want an easy walk in the woods.

Kushaqua Rail Trail extends 1.3 miles between Buck Pond Campground and Kushaqua-Mud Pond Road. The former rail bed is located along the shore of Lake Kushaqua and provides views of the lake, Loon Lake Mountain and the privately owned fire tower on Meenhaga Mountain. The trail is part of the C7B Snowmobile Corridor Trail in the winter.

The old bed continues another 3.8 miles south of Bloomingdale-Gabriels Road to a parking area off State Route 86. On the southern end it is known as the Bloomingdale Bog Trail.

The trail is a designated snowmobile trail in the winter. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobile trails should move to the sides of the trail, off the groomed snowmobile trail, to allow snowmobiles to safely pass.

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. Over 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

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

Trailheads and Parking Areas

  • Debar Mountain Trailhead Parking Area is located in Meacham Lake Campground off Meacham Road which is off State Route 30. (44.5828°N, 74.2744°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Loon Lake Mountain Trailhead Parking Area is located along Port Kent-Hopkinton Turnpike (County Route 26). (44.5826°N, 74.1233°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Debar Meadows-Meacham Lake Trailhead is located along the Debar Meadows Road off the Port Kent-Hopkinton Turnpike (County Route 26). (44.5925°N, 74.1794°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Hays Brook Trailhead Parking Area is located along Mountain Pond Road off State Route 30. (44.4818°N, 74.2806°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • D&H Rail Trail Parking Area is located along Bloomingdale-Gabriels Road (County Route 55). (44.4137°N, 74.1210°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Boat Launches and Hand Launches

  • Meacham Lake Boat Launch is located in Meacham Lake Campground off Meacham Road which is off State Route 30. A day-use fee is required when the campground is open. (44.5704°N, 74.2741°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch is located in Buck Pond Campground off Gabriels-Onchiota Road (County Route 60). A day-use fee is required when the campground is open. (44.5087°N, 74.1162°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Meacham Lake Hand Launch Parking Area is located off Meacham Road which is off State Route 30. (44.5776°N, 74.2895°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Clear Pond Hand Launch Parking Area (aka Boy Scout Clear Pond) is located along Meacham Road off State Route 30. (44.5852°N, 74.2908°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Mountain Pond Hand Launch is located along Mountain Pond Road (seasonal) off State Route 30. (44.4687°N, 74.2743°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Slush Pond Hand Launch is located along Slush Pond Road off State Route 30. Parking is along the shoulder of the road. (44.4690°N, 74.3145°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Barnum Pond Hand Launch is located along State Route 30. Parking is along the shoulder of the road. (44.4613°N, 74.2544°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Jones Pond Hand Launch is located on a seasonal access road off Jones Pond Road which is off State Route 86. (44.4564°N, 74.1890°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Osgood Pond Hand Launch Parking Area is located along White Pine Road off State Route 86. (44.4446°N, 74.2371°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Rainbow Lake Hand Launch Parking Area is located along Clark Wardener Road off Gabriels-Onchiota Road (County Route 60). A 0.1-mile carry is required to reach the shore of the lake. (44.4627°N, 74.1867°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Loon Lake Carry (aka Loon Pond) is located on the north shore of Clear Pond. (44.4864°N, 74.1651°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Buck Pond Hand Launch Parking Area is located in Buck Pond Campground off Gabriels-Onchiota Road (County Route 60). A day-use fee is required when the campground is open. (44.5033°N, 74.1148°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) 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 Debar Mountain Wild Forest 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.

How We Manage Debar Mountain Wild Forest

DEC is developing a management plan which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Gas, food, and other supplies may be obtained in the nearby communities of Bloomingdale and Gabriels.

Gas and lodging are available in the nearby community of St. Regis Falls.

Dining is available in the nearby community of Paul Smiths.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and Franklin County 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.