Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Jessup River Wild Forest

Including the Upper Hudson Woodlands - Township 33 Conservation Easement

hikingprimitive campingpaddlingboatingbikingfishinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingcross-country skiingsnowshoeingfire towerhorseback ridingparkinghand launchboat launchicon key

Jessup River Wild Forest Locator Map

The 47,350-acre Jessup River Wild Forest (WF) is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and is the perfect destination to experience the Adirondacks. Many people enjoy hiking to the fire towers on Pillsbury and Snowy mountains, snowmobiling between Piseco Lake and Indian Lake, canoeing on Gilman Lake, or camping on Fawn Lake. Hunting, fishing, and trapping are also popular activities throughout the unit but particularly in and around Perkins Clearing, the Jessup River and the Miami River.

The 14,421-acre Township 33 Conservation Easement (CE) is located off the northern end of the Jessup River WF near Indian Lake. The conservation easement lands are private property with an easement held by the DEC on behalf of the people of New York State. Conservation easements allow the forests to remain working forests while also providing public recreation opportunities. Public use is limited, however. Please respect posted signs. The public recreation on this land is limited to the public fishing rights on the Cedar River and to the portion of the C8 snowmobile trail that crosses the property.

Trail Information for the East 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.

Jessup River Wild Forest provides many opportunities for hiking. The trails located here include:

  • Baldface Mountain Trail (2,230 feet) is accessed on the northeast shore of Indian Lake. The trail ascends 580 feet and 1.3 miles from the shore to the summit. (Trail map - PDF)
  • Dunning Pond Trail extends 4.6 miles from State Route 30 to Gilmantown Road. Note that the bridge along the trail is out but the trail is still open for hiking. (Trail map - PDF)
  • Fawn Lake Trail extends 4.1 miles from Fawn Lake Road to the Piseco-Perkins Clearing Trail. (Trail map - PDF)
  • Fawn Lake Canoe Carry Trail extends 0.4 miles from the Fawn Lake Trail (at mile 0.2) and follows an old unpaved road. (Trail map - PDF)
  • Miami River Trail extends 1.0 miles from Mason Lake to the West Canada Lake Wilderness. (Trail map - PDF)
  • Old Telephone Trail extends 4.1 miles from the Old Telephone Line Trailhead to Indian Lake, crossing State Route 30. (Trail map - PDF)
  • Northville-Placid Trail is a 133-mile foot trail that runs through the Adirondacks from Northville to Lake Placid. The trail passes through the Jessup River Wild Forest for 2 miles, connecting West Canada Lake Wilderness to Silver Lake Wilderness. (Trail map - PDF)
  • Pillsbury Mountain Trail ascends 1,480 feet and 1.6 miles from the Pillsbury Mountain Parking Area to the summit (3,597 feet). (Trail map - PDF)
  • Piseco-Perkins Clearing Trail extends 7.2 miles from Airport Road (near Piseco Airport) to the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement. It intersects with the Fawn Lake Trail and the Mossy Vly Spur Trail. (Trail map - PDF)
  • Snowy Mountain Trail ascends 2000 feet and 3.8 miles from the Snowy Mountain Trail Parking Area to the fire tower at the summit. The trail crosses the West Canada Lake Wilderness and the Township 33 CE. Please respect posted signs. (Trail map - PDF)
  • Watch Hill Trail can either be accessed from the Watch Hill parking area or from the Snowy Mountain trailhead parking area, which is about 1 mile to the north. There are two scenic lookouts on the trail. The first is reached after about 1 mile and provides a nice view of Griffin Brook Slide on Snowy Mountain to the west. The trail then continues about 0.1 miles to another open ledge that provides partial views of Indian Lake. This trail is open to hikers, horseback riders, and cross-country skiers. (Trail map - PDF)

Camping

primitive camping

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

There are 24 designated primitive tent sites on the Jessup River Wild Forest. Designated tent sites are located at Fawn Lake (12), on Perkins-Clearing Road near Mason Lake (8), on the Northville-Lake Placid Trail at Fall Stream (1), and on the boundary with the Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement (3).

DEC's Moffitt Beach Campground & Day Use Area, Lewey Lake Campground & Day Use Area, and Indian Lake Islands Campground & Day Use Area are located adjacent to the wild forest, allowing those who like some additional comforts to camp there and take day trips into the wild forest.

Paddling

paddling

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

Jessup River Wild Forest features several bodies of water that are open to paddling. Fall Stream, Auger Flats, Jessup River, Miami River, Burnt Place Brook, Mason Lake, Lake Abanakee, Gilman Lake, and Lake Pleasant are the popular destinations for paddling. Hand launches are located at Mason Lake, Gilman Lake, Oxbow Lake, Sacandaga Lake, Indian Lake and the Jessup River.

On Mason Lake, only boats with electric trolling motors of 5 horsepower or less are allowed.

Boating

boating

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

Boating is a popular activity in the Jessup River Wild Forest area. Developed public boat launch sites are located at the DEC campgrounds on Lewey Lake, Indian Lake, and Sacandaga Lake.

Biking

biking

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

The Fawn Lake, Old Telephone Line, and Piseco-Perkins Clearing trails are all open to bicycles.

Fishing

fishing

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

Fishing is allowed during appropriate seasons. There are many bodies of water open to fishing. Popular fishing waters in the area include Sacandaga Lake, Sacandaga River, Lake Pleasant, Indian Lake, Gilman Lake, Jessup River, Lewey Lake, Piseco Lake, Oxbow Lake, and Mason Lake. Common fish species include trout, bass, and bullheads.

Ice fishing during the winter occurs on Indian Lake, Piseco Lake, Lewey Lake, Sacandaga Lake, Oxbow Lake, and Fall Lake. Common species captured during ice fishing include yellow perch and the occasional walleye.

Note: Fishing is prohibited on Fawn Lake from October 1 to March 31.

Five sections of the Cedar River, a trout water on the Upper Hudson Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands (Township 33), are open to anglers through public fishing rights. Public fishing rights allow the public to walk along the stream banks for the sole purpose of fishing. The Cedar River runs from the Cedar River Flow to the Hudson River and contains brook trout, brown trout and smallmouth bass. DEC stocks this section of the Cedar River with brook trout.

  • Section 1 - A 2.3-mile stretch of river adjoining forest preserve lands upstream to Wakely Dam, providing almost 4.3 continuous miles of public fishing. The fishing corridor is 33 feet from each side of the riverbank. Anglers can fish from both banks of the river however there is no crossing available to get to the southeast bank. Anglers will need to wade across the river. Access this section from the Cedar River Parking Areas 1 and 2. Please stay on the paths as they are easements over private land.
  • Section 2 - Currently there is no legal access to this section. DEC will provide information about the section and how to access it when a parking area and an access trail are developed.
  • Section 3 - A 0.3-mile section of the river between Section 3 and Section 4 is state forest preserve land in Jessup River Wild Forest. The two sections and the forest preserve combine to provide 1.1 continuous miles of public fishing. Currently the only access is from the state land at the downstream end of this 0.3 mile-section of public fishing. Anglers can park along the road bordering the state lands, or at the parking area at the Sprague Pond Trailhead, and bushwack across state forest preserve lands to the river bank. Be sure vehicles are completely off the road and remember to stay on state forest preserve lands when entering or leaving. Once at the river, anglers can fish upstream along the section or downstream on state forest preserve lands. Anglers can fish from both banks of the river however there is no crossing available to get to the south bank. Anglers will need to wade across the river.
  • Section 4 - A 0.5-mile section of public fishing. Anglers can fish from both banks of the river however there is no crossing available to get to the south bank. Anglers will need to wade across the river. Access to this section is the same as the access to Section 3. Once at the river anglers can follow the section downstream or fish the state forest preserve lands upstream.
  • Section 5 - Currently there is no legal access to this section. DEC will provide information about the section and how to access it when a parking area and an access trail are developed.

Map of Cedar River Public Fishing Rights (PDF)

Public recreation is limited on the easement. Please pay attention to Public Fishing Rights signs and property boundary signs. Do not trespass on other private lands. The Cedar River Road along the forest preserve lands is seasonally maintained and may not be accessible during early trout season.

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

Wildlife Management Unit: 5H

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

Hunting and trapping are allowed in the Jessup River Wild Forest during appropriate seasons. The main game species and furbearers found on the property include deer, bear, turkey, beaver, bobcat, coyote, and fisher.

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

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

Snowmobiling is allowed on designated snowmobile trails in the Jessup River Wild Forest. The following trails are maintained for snowmobiles. The state snowmobile trail designations are also included where applicable.

  • Bear Trap Brook Trail - C8
  • Crow Hill Trail - S85
  • Fall Lake Trail
  • Fawn Lake Trail - S41
  • Gilmantown Trail - C4B
  • Lawrence Farm Trail
  • Mossy Vly Spur Trail
  • Old Telephone Line Trail
  • Oxbow to Sacandaga Lake Trail - S42
  • Perkins Clearing Spur Trail - S82C
  • Perkins Clearing to Lewey Lake Trail - S82C
  • Piseco-Perkins Clearing Trail - S41 and S43
  • State Route 30 Access Spur Trail - S82C
  • Rudeston Hill Trail - S43
  • Spy Lake Trail - S84

Additionally, the C4 snowmobile trail crosses this unit and the neighboring Perkins Clearing and Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easements.

These trails are maintained by the Algonquin Sno-Blazers and the Towns of Arietta, Indian Lake and Lake Pleasant.

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 and regulations.

Jessup River Wild Forest is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. There are no groomed or maintained trails but skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.

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.

Jessup River Wild Forest features two fire towers.

The Snowy Mountain Fire Tower is a 47-foot tall, restored Aermotor LS-40 tower at 3,897 feet elevation. Access the fire tower from the Snow Mountain Trail.

The Pillsbury Mountain Fire Tower is a 60-foot tall Aermotor LS-40 tower at 3,597 feet elevation. Access the fire tower from the Pillsbury Mountain Trail. The cab of the fire tower is not open to the public.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

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

The Piseco-Perkins Clearing Trail is open to horseback riding.

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

Several major roads provide access. State Route 30 runs through the middle of the property, State Route 28 to the north and State Route 8 to the south.

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

Parking Areas and Trailheads

  • Auger Falls Parking Area is located on State Route 30/8 on the border with Siamese Ponds Wilderness, with parking for 75 cars. (43.470000°N, 74.251916°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Big Brook Road Parking Area is located on Big Brook Road south of State Route 28 (43.705103°N, 74.248149°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Cedar River Parking Area 1 is located on Cedar River Road at the boundary of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and the Township 33 Conservation Easement. A parking pull-off is available for access to the Cedar River. (43.7463313°N, 74.4594232°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Cedar River Parking Area 2 is located on the south side of Cedar River Road at the backside of a large snowplow turnaround. Parking is available to access the Cedar River in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Winter parking is restricted. (43.773412°N, 74.437352°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Fawn Lake Parking Area is located on Fawn Lake Road, off State Route 8 in Lake Pleasant. (43.481111°N, 74.444403°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Gilman Lake Parking Area is located on Gilmantown Road, off State Route 30 in Wells. (43.467557°N, 74.312844°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Northville Placid-Haskell Road Parking Area and Trailhead is located on Haskell Road, off County Road 24, in Piseco. (43.45841°N, 74.522017°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Old Route 30 Parking Area is located just off State Route 30/8 on the Sacandaga River. (43.488611°N, 74.273027°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Pillsbury Mountain Parking Area and Trailhead is located on Military Road, off State Route 30, in Lake Pleasant. Follow the Pillsbury Mountain Trail to the fire tower on Pillsbury Mountain. (43.586852°N, 74.485352°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sacandaga River Parking Area 1 is located on State Route 30/8 on the Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement. (43.510944°N, 74.314305°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sacandaga River Parking Area 2 is located on State Route 30 south of Lake Algonquin. It has 2 picnic tables and parking for 15 cars. (43.377111°N, 74.292472°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Snowy Mountain Parking Area and Trailhead is located off State Route 30, with parking for 9 cars. Follow the Snowy Mountain Trail to the fire tower on Snowy Mountain. (43.7012°N, 74.334718°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sprague Pond Parking Area and Trailhead is located on Cedar River Road. (43.791049°N, 74.381731°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • State Route 30 Parking Area 1 is located on State Route 30/Sabael Road, south of the town of Indian Lake, with parking for 10 cars, a scenic overlook and 2 picnic tables. (43.769611°N, 74.267833°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • State Route 30 Parking Area 2 is located on State Route 30 south of Deerfoot Lodge Road on the neighboring Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement. (43.562416°N, 74.395444°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • State Route 30/8 Parking Area 1 is located on State Route 30/8 on the Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement, with parking for 20 cars, accessible parking, 2 picnic tables and a boat wash station. (43.499916°N, 74.342333°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • State Route 30/8 Parking Area 2 is located on State Route 30/8 on the Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement, with parking for 20 cars. (43.496055°N, 74.347861°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Watch Hill Parking Area and Trailhead is located off State Route 30, with parking for 6 cars. (43.689454°N, 74.343027°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Whiskey Brook Parking Area is located on State Route 30, north of Speculator. (43.531833°N, 74.385388°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Hand Launches and Boat Launches

  • Gilman Lake Hand Launch is located on Gilmantown Road, off State Route 30 in Wells. (43.467273°N, 74.313607°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Mason Lake Hand Launch 1 is located on Jessup River Road, off State Route 30 in Lake Pleasant on the southern end of the lake. Only boats with electric trolling motors of 5 horsepower or less are allowed. (43.592133°N, 74.428034°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Mason Lake Hand Launch 2 is located off State Route 30 in Lake Pleasant on the eastern end of the lake, with parking for 15 cars, 2 picnic tables and a bike rack. Only boats with electric trolling motors of 5 horsepower or less are allowed. (43.599227°N, 74.4162°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Mason Lake Hand Launch 3 is located on Jessup River Road, off State Route 30 in Lake Pleasant on the northern end of the lake, with 2 picnic tables and parking for 3 cars. Only boats with electric trolling motors of 5 horsepower or less are allowed. (43.600284°N, 74.422342°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Indian Lake Islands Campground Boat Launch is located off State Route 30 in Lake Pleasant. It has parking for 50 cars and trailers. (43.652142°N, 74.387922°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Indian Lake Hand Launch 1 is located near the dam at the northern end of the lake (43.755077°N, 74.274881°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Indian Lake Hand Launch 2 is located at the southern end of the lake off State Route 30, with parking for 5 cars. (43.660916°N, 74.373805°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Indian Lake Hand Launch 3 is located at the southern end of the lake off State Route 30, with parking for 25 cars. (43.656409°N, 74.386577°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Kunjamuk Bay Hand Launch is located on State Route 30/8 on the Sacandaga River on the Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement, with parking for 25 cars. (43.501055°N, 74.336305°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Oxbow Lake Hand Launch is located at the outlet on the southern end of the lake (43.429989°N, 74.500174°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sacandaga Lake Hand Launch is located at the end of Fawn Lake Road on the western side of the lake. (43.483853°N, 74.442682°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sacandaga River Hand Launch 1 is located on State Route 30 north of Lake Algonquin. It has parking for 20 cars and a picnic table. (43.433222°N, 74.263333°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sacandaga River Hand Launch 2 is located on State Route 30/8 in Speculator near the northern end of Lake Pleasant, with parking for 100 cars. (43.496166°N, 74.358861°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Moffitt Beach Campground Boat Launch is located on the eastern side of Sacandaga Lake (43.493282°N, 74.404617°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Jessup River Hand Launch is located on State Route 30 at the bridge that crosses the river, with parking for 8 cars. (43.582925°N, 74.406775°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Whiskey Brook Hand Launch is located on State Route 30 about 3.5 miles north of Speculator, with parking for 8 cars. (43.540750°N, 74.386083°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 Jessup River Wild Forest 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.

Specific Rules

  • Township 33 Conservation Easement is private property; the public recreation on this land is limited to the public fishing rights on the Cedar River and to the portion of the C8 snowmobile trail that crosses the property.
  • Some non-motorized corridors on the Township 33 Conservation Easement will be closed during the Northern Big Game season. Current regulations determine this as the second-to-last Saturday in October until the first Sunday in December, or such a time determined by future regulations.
  • On Fawn Lake, all fishing is prohibited from October 1 to March 31.
  • On Mason Lake, only boats with electric trolling motors of 5 horsepower or less are allowed.

Planning and Management

DEC manages the forest preserve lands in accordance with the 2006 Jessup River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) (PDF, 10 MB). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

The UMP has been amended three times: in 2010 (PDF) to classify snowmobile trails, in 2015 (PDF) to propose a short public motor vehicle road, and in 2017 (PDF) for a short trail connection.

DEC manages public recreation on the Township 33 conservation easement lands in accordance with the 2014 Upper Hudson Woodlands Recreation Management Plan (PDF).

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands & Facilities

Gas may be found in the communities of Lake Pleasant, Indian Lake
Food and other supplies may be found in the communities of Lake Pleasant, Indian Lake
Dining opportunities may be found in the communities of Lake Pleasant, Indian Lake
Lodging may be found in the communities of Lake Pleasant, Indian Lake

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and Hamilton 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.