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Chazy Highlands Wild Forest

Including portions of the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands

hikingfire towerprimitive campingpaddlingboatingbikingfishinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingcross-country skiingsnowshoeinghorseback ridingaccessibleparkingboat launchicon key

Chazy Highlands Wild Forest locator map

The mix of lands in the Chazy Highlands Complex creates a wide diversity of forested conditions, wetlands, wildlife, and open space complemented by an extensive road network affording public access.

The lands open for public recreation in this area consist of portions of Adirondack Forest Preserve and non-Forest Preserve lands in Chazy Highlands Management Complex and Conservation Easement Lands in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement. Due to the proximity of access points and similar types of recreation in these areas, recreation information for portions of these two management areas has been combined. Any property east of the line formed by Standish Road and Route 374 is displayed on the Chazy Highlands Complex map (see map). The properties to the west of this line are displayed on the Sable Highlands Complex map.

Chazy Highlands Management Complex is over 60,000 acres of scattered parcels of land, including property on Upper Chateaugay Lake and Chazy Lake. The area has limited improvements.

The 84,000-acre Sable Highlands Conservation Easement (CE) is part of the conservation easement lands of the Adirondacks. Of that acreage, 55,895 acres continue to be leased by the landowner to private hunting, fishing and recreation clubs, while 28,105 acres divided among 14 designated public use areas (PUAs) are open to public access for recreation. Unlike the public roads open for use in designated PUAs, Linear Recreation Corridors (LRCs) are roads and trails that travel through private lease areas and provide access to the PUAs. They will be signed and managed to facilitate public access while minimizing the public's use on private club members' enjoyment of their posting leases.

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.

Trail information for the Northeastern 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.

Lyon Mountain is the highest point in Clinton County and the highest point north of the Saranac River at 3,830 feet. A 3.4-mile trail beginning on Chazy Highlands State Forest winds its way to the summit and a fire tower, which are located on Chazy Highlands Management Complex. The trail has an overall elevation gain of 1,900 feet. The state forest also has several other multiple use trails on the eastern end of the property off State Route 374.

a road going through a treeline in autumn
Linear Recreation Corridor #9 -
D&H Road

Currently there are no official hiking trails on the Sable Highlands CE, although all roadways in Public Use Areas and Linear Recreation Corridors currently open to the public may be hiked. There are no maps of these roads, so hikers must have map and compass skills to properly navigate around.

Many users also enjoy walking on the numerous miles of logging roads in the area. These informal routes are open to non-motorized recreation use.

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.

Restoration and rehabilitation of the Lyon Mountain Fire Tower has been completed by DEC and the Student Conservation Association's Adirondack Program in 2015. The fire tower provides views all the way to Montreal to the north, the Green Mountains and Vermont to the east and the High Peaks to the south.

Camping

primitive camping

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

On Chazy Highlands Management Complex, there is one designated campsite on Chazy Lake that can be accessed from the end of Wilfred King Road. Additionally, at-large backcountry camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

On the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement, camping and campfires are only allowed at designated campsites. Currently, six accessible campsites have been designated and constructed on the Barnes Pond PUA (View the Barnes Pond Public Use Area Map).

The Barnes Pond PUA campsites are only accessible to the general public using motor vehicles from the start of small game hunting season (September 20th annually) until the close of the big game rifle season. The rest of the year, they may only be accessed by foot, non-motorized watercraft (where applicable) or mountain bike. Only people with a permit through the Motorized Access Program for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) can access the campsites by motor vehicle from the end of spring break-up through September 20th.

During fall hunting seasons, high clearance motor vehicles (pickups and SUVs) can use Barnes Pond Road to access the surrounding lands and the campsites. The campsites can accommodate wheeled camping equipment up to 20 feet in length, such as pop-up campers, truck campers and tow-behind camper trailers.

While nuisance black bears are not a big problem in this unit, overnight campers are encouraged to store all food, toiletries and garbage in bear-resistant canisters.

Paddling

paddling

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

Experienced paddlers can enjoy a trip on the North Branch of the Great Chazy River. There are also public boat launches on Chazy Lake and Upper Chateaugay Lake.

Boating

boating

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

There is a hard surface boat ramp on the northern end of Chazy Lake in Dannemora and on the northern end of Upper Chateaugay Lake in Ellenburg, along with other informal boating opportunities.

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.

Biking

biking

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

Biking is permitted on maintained roads that are open to public bicycling. Many users also enjoy biking on the numerous miles of logging roads in the area. These informal routes are open to non-motorized recreation use.

On the Sable Highlands CE, numerous logging roads provide ample opportunities for biking. Mountain bike use is allowed on any road or trail in a Public Use Area and on Linear Recreation Corridors open to the public except those that are specifically posted closed for mountain bike use. CAUTION: Logging may be occurring on the property and timber harvesting equipment may be utilizing these roads and trails.

Fishing

fishing

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

Fish species present in Chazy Lake are lake trout, landlocked salmon, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, northern pike, brown bullhead, yellow perch, rainbow smelt, and pumpkinseed. The lake trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon fishing is concentrated in the center of the lake over the deepest water. While not very numerous, the pike can attain large sizes. Chazy Lake is stocked with rainbow trout, lake trout, and landlocked salmon. Special fishing regulations apply (leaves DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website).

Upper Chateaugay Lake contains lake trout, landlocked salmon, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, northern pike, rainbow smelt, yellow perch, brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, and rock bass. The lake is managed as a two-story fishery. Northern pike are present due to an illegal introduction. They now dominate the fishery and can exceed 15 pounds. The lake is stocked with approximately 2,700 landlocked salmon and 6,300 lake trout. Rainbow trout stocking was cancelled in 2010. Special fishing regulations apply (leaves DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website).

On the Sable Highlands CE, numerous high-quality ponds, lakes and streams supporting diverse fisheries resources can be found on the Public Use Areas. The public may access all streams, rivers, ponds and lakes on Public Use Areas for fishing using non-motorized methods unless specifically prohibited.

True brook winding throught the forest with pine trees on both sides.
True Brook

True Brook and its tributaries on the brook's south side provide fishing opportunities. Much of the lands along this brook are accessible by public fishing rights (PDF).

Graves Brook has historically been known to contain brook trout but there have been no recent population surveys.

Sections of the North Branch of the Great Chazy River with public fishing rights (PDF) run through the area.

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: 5C

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, boat launches and hand launches used by boaters and paddlers to access the lands and waters in this area.

The diverse habitat supports a wide variety of big and small game wildlife species. All public use areas, State Forest, and Wildlife Management Areas in the vicinity are open to public hunting and trapping during the legal hunting and trapping seasons, except where specifically prohibited by posted notice.

Use True Brook Road for access to Barnes Pond Public Use Area and the considerable acreage of adjoining forest preserve lands that are part of the Chazy Highlands Management Complex. During fall hunting seasons, high clearance motor vehicles (pickups and SUVs) can use Barnes Pond Road to access the surrounding lands and the six campsites adjacent to the road.

Areas where recent timber harvests (logging) have taken place provide excellent habitat and hunting opportunities for deer, bear and ruffed grouse. Maps have been developed that show the areas where timber has recently been harvested and the locations of roads open to motor vehicles, parking areas, trails and designated campsites:

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

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

On the Sable Highlands CE, several trails pass through the Public Use Areas, on designated Linear Recreation Corridors and on the municipal roads. These routes provide important connections between communities in the area and constitute key links in the inter-county snowmobile trail network. Due to winter logging operations snowmobile trails may be rerouted.

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.

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

Many users also enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the numerous miles of logging roads in the area. These informal routes are open to non-motorized recreation use.

On the Sable Highlands CE, people may ski or snowshoe on unplowed roads in Public Use Areas and on Linear Recreation Corridors that are not open to public motorized use and that can be safely accessed from public roads. Skiers and snowshoers are discouraged from using groomed snowmobile trails.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

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

Horseback riding is permitted on maintained roads that are open to public horseback riding.

Many users enjoy horseback riding on the numerous miles of logging roads in the area. These informal routes are open to non-motorized recreation use.

On the Sable Highlands CE, numerous roads and skid trails on the property lend themselves well to equestrian use. Horseback riding is allowed on any road or trail in a Public Use Area or Linear Recreation Corridor open to the public except those that are specifically posted as closed to equestrian use. No horse assembly areas have been developed at this time.

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.

This area contains one of the largest concentrations of moose in New York.

Accessible Features

accessible

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

The 3.9-mile Barnes Pond Road, which intersects with True Brook Road at the parking area, can be used with motorized vehicles by people with a permit through the Motorized Access Program for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) from the end of spring break-up through September 20th.

Six fully accessible campsites have been designated and constructed along Barnes Pond Road. View the Barnes Pond Public Use Area Map. All campsites have accessible features including hardened surfaces in the campsite and hardened pathways to accessibly-designed privies.

Directions

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

Parking Areas and Trailheads

  • Lyon Mountain Trailhead Parking Area in Chazy Highlands State Forest is located at the end of an unnamed gravel road formerly known as Lowenburg Road and leads to the Lyon Mountain Fire Tower. (44.72391°N, 73.84174°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Barnes Pond Public Use Area parking area is located on True Brook Road in the Town of Saranac. (44.645725°N, 73.861734°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website). The six campsites in this PUA are located on the road that runs from the parking area through the parcel.
  • Bigelow Public Use Area parking area is located on Bigelow Road in the Town of Ellenburg. (44.790322°N, 73.962122°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

Boat Launches

  • Chazy Lake Boat Launch with parking for 20 cars and trailers (44.769056°N, 73.812887°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 the Chazy Highlands Complex 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.

Special Regulations for the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement

This complex includes portions of the Sable Highlands CE, which has different rules for use than state-owned lands. Public access is restricted to the 14 designated Public Use Areas and the Linear Recreation Corridors available for non-motorized public use. Some Linear Recreation Corridors may be closed or further restricted during certain periods of the year.

Be aware that the Sable Highlands CE Lands are privately owned and actively timbered. Leased camps are present. Public access and recreation is allowed with restrictions. Users of these lands must:

  • Travel on roads open to the public
  • Not travel beyond any closed gates with motorized vehicles (whether locked or not)
  • Park in designated parking areas only - don't block gates or roadways
  • Expect to see logging trucks, skidders and other logging activity
  • Access only the lands and corridors that are open to the public
  • Be aware that much of these lands are leased to private sports groups that have access and recreation rights that the public does not have - please respect the rights of the lessees.

Public use of the Linear Recreation Corridors is limited to travel over and along the designated route. The public will not be permitted to use or otherwise trespass on private lease lands adjacent to designated Linear Recreation Corridors. There is limited public motorized vehicle use on the Linear Recreation Corridors at this time. Certain corridors are open to the public for hiking, biking and horseback riding in the summer and snowmobile use in the winter. Linear Recreation Corridors are open to motorized vehicle use by the members of the lease clubs and their invited guests.

All snowmobiles using the easement lands must be registered and insured and users of snowmobiles must wear appropriate safety equipment. Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) cannot be registered in New York State and therefore are prohibited from use on public roads and lands.

Planning and Management

The lands open for public recreation in this area consist of portions of Adirondack Forest Preserve and non-Forest Preserve lands in Chazy Highlands Management Complex and Conservation Easement Lands in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement. State lands are managed differently than conservation easements, which are privately owned.

DEC is developing a management plan for the state-owned lands in the Chazy Highlands Management Complex which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the plans will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

DEC manages public recreation for the privately owned Sable Highlands Conservation Easement lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Interim Recreation Management Plan.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Gas, dining opportunities, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Dannemora, Saranac Lake, Cadyville, Lyon Mountain and Plattsburgh.

Lodging may be found in the nearby community of Malone, Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau (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.