Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands

Including portions of the Chazy Highlands Wild Forest

hikingprimitive campingpaddlingboatingbikingfishinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingcross-country skiingsnowshoeinghorseback ridingaccessibleparkingboat launchicon key

Maps depicting location of the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands in the Adirondack Park

The mix of lands in the Sable 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 Conservation Easement Lands in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement and Adirondack Forest Preserve and non-Forest Preserve lands in Chazy Highlands Management Complex. 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 west of the line formed by Standish Road and Route 374 is displayed on the Sable Highlands Complex map (see map). The properties to the east of this line are displayed on the Chazy Highlands Complex map.

Plumadore Range in autumn
Plumadore Range in autumn

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.

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.

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.

Linear Recreation Corridor #9 - D&H Road
Linear Recreation Corridor #9 -
D&H Road

Currently there are no official hiking trails on the portion of the Sable Highlands CE or the Chazy Highlands Management Complex covered by this webpage, 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.

Camping

primitive camping

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

On the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement, camping and campfires are only allowed at designated campsites. Currently, two accessible campsites have been designated and constructed on the Plumadore-Inman PUA and one has been designated on the Saranac River PUA (View the Saranac River Public Use Area Map).

All of the conservation easement land campsites 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. Campers planning to hike or bike to either of the two campsites in the Plumadore-Inman PUA are encouraged to park in the nearby Loon Lake Mountain trailhead parking area on the west side of County Route 26, which is in the neighboring Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract.

On the portion of the Chazy Highlands Management Complex covered by this webpage, there are no designated campsites, but 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.

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.

The view at Grass Pond and Catamount
Grass Pond and Catamount

On the Sable Highlands CE, paddlers can access Grass Pond and Fishhole Pond in the Plumadore-Inman PUA using the accessible waterway access sites. Be aware that only paddle craft and small boats powered by electric motors are allowed on these waters. The North Branch of the Saranac River can be accessed from the Saranac River PUA; this section of the river is fast moving and is not recommended for beginners.

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

Boating

boating

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

Fish Hole Pond in the Plumadore-Inman Public Use Area
Fishhole Pond in the Plumadore-Inman Public
Use Area

On Sable Highlands CE, Grass Pond and Fishhole Pond in the Plumadore-Inman PUA both have accessible waterway access sites and are open to small motorized boats only. While boats with motors are allowed on the ponds, DEC recommends the use of boats no longer than 14 feet with electric motors to protect aquatic vegetation and shorelines.

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.

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.

The view at North Branch of the Saranac River
North Branch of the Saranac River

The North Branch of the Saranac River provides opportunities to fish for brown trout and brook trout. A small, accessible fishing platform is located on the bank of the North Branch in the Saranac River PUA and can be accessed from Goldsmith Road. A parking area has been designated and signed.

Hatch Brook is stocked with brown trout and also has a wild brook trout population.

Grass Pond in the Plumadore-Inman PUA has a fishing/waterway access site and contains brook trout. The access site is off County Route 26 (Loon Lake Road). A parking area has been designated and signed at this location.

Also in the Plumadore-Inman PUA, Fishhole Pond is stocked with brook trout and it too has a fishing/waterway access site. NOTE: The lands around the access road are closed to the public. Parking and stopping along the road or other access of these lands is prohibited.

There is a short foot trail to provide fishing access to Plumadore Brook in the Plumadore-Inman PUA. It begins at the parking area closest to Duck Pond and travels to the stream bank.

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).

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).

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.

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.

A parking area has been built on Goldsmith Road for vehicles and trailers. The southern end of Linear Recreation Corridor 8 (Liberty Road) lies several hundred feet to the east of the parking area and connects to the C8A Snowmobile Corridor Trail (Wolf Pond Road) via Linear Recreation Corridor 7 (Wolf Pond Mountain Road). West of its intersection with LRC 7, LRC 8 travels toward the hamlet of Loon Lake where it connects to the C7 Snowmobile Corridor Trail which provides direct access to Onchiota and points south or Mountain View and points north.

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 accessible fishing platform on the banks of a river
Accessible fishing platform on the North Branch

Three fully accessible campsites have been designated and constructed: two on Plumadore-Inman PUA and one on Saranac River PUA. All campsites have accessible features including hardened surfaces in the campsite and hardened pathways to accessibly-designed privies.

A small, accessible fishing platform is located on the bank of the North Branch of the Saranac River in the Saranac River PUA and can be accessed from Goldsmith Road. A parking area has been designated and signed.

Accessible waterway access sites have been constructed on Grass Pond and Fishhole Pond near Loon Lake in the Plumadore-Inman PUA. Features that provide accessibility for people with disabilities at each of these facilities include:

  • Universally accessible parking areas designed to accommodate up to five vehicles;
  • ADA compliant access ramps; and
  • Universally accessible platforms designed for getting in and out of boats, canoes and kayaks.

Directions

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

Parking Areas and Trailheads

  • Cold Brook Public Use Area parking area is located on Standish Road in the Town of Saranac (44.643948°N, 73.927325°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Figure 8 Public Use Area parking area is located on Blair Kiln Road in the Town of Bellmont (44.816490°N, 74.082473°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Loon Lake Mountain trailhead parking area is located on the west side of County Route 26 in the neighboring Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract (44.585590°N, 74.124594°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Plumadore-Inman Public Use Area parking area on County Route 26 near Duck Pond (44.600503°N, 74.135407°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Saranac River Public Use Area parking area #1 is located on Goldsmith Road in the Hamlet of Vermontville (44.573346°N, 73.987410°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Saranac River Public Use Area parking area #2 is located on Goldsmith Road in the Hamlet of Vermontville (44.573964°N, 73.980342°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Boat Launches

  • Upper Chateaugay Lake Boat Launch with parking for 25 cars and trailers (44.774171°N, 73.979511°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Grass Pond Waterway Access Site on the Plumadore-Inman PUA is located off County Route 26/Loon Lake Road (44.580192°N, 74.116965°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Fishhole Pond Waterway Access Site on the Plumadore-Inman PUA is located on D&H Road. (44.589515°N, 74.106065°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 Sable 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 CE

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.

How We Manage Sable Highlands Complex

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

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.

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.

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.


More about Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands:

  • Sable Highlands PUAs Map - Map depicting Public Use Areas (PUAs) in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands
  • Barnes Pond PUA Map - Map depicting depicts the location of the parking area, six (6) designated campsites, the road open that is only open to motor vehicle access between October 4 and the end of the Northern Zone Big Game Rifle Season and the areas where timber has recently been harvested in the Barnes Pond Public Use Area in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands.
  • Cold Brook PUA Map - Map depicting the parking area, trail and the timber harvest area in the Cold Brook Public Use Area in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands.
  • Figure 8 PUA Map - Map depicts the location of the parking area, the roadway beyond and the timber harvest area in the Figure 8 Public Use Area in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands.
  • Sarnac River PUA Map - Map depicting the two parking areas, the trails, the designated campsite and the timber harvest area in the Saranac River Public Use Area in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands.