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Hiking in Adirondack Park
High Peaks Region
High Peaks Wilderness


Hudson River
Headwaters
Henderson Lake

 

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The Hudson River flows 315 miles within New York State with it's official start at the outlet of Henderson Lake, known as the Hudson Headwaters. The true water source of the Hudson River is the Tear of the Clouds Lake near Mount Marcy, although the furthest source is the Opalescent River on the slopes of Little Marcy Mountain. Hudson River Headwaters offers a great hiking, kayaking and picnic destination in the High Peaks Wilderness of the Adirondacks.

This is a short, easy hike that can be enjoyed by everyone in your family. The hike is less than a half a mile to reach the concrete dam on a bay of Henderson Lake, where the outlet of the lake flows over the dam to create the Hudson River. The main trail to the Hudson Headwaters follows the popular trail out of the overflowing Upper Works Parking Area. Upper Works is a popular starting point for hikers heading into the High Peaks Wilderness from the south.

Upper Works Parking Area is located at the end of Tahawus Road, off Boreas Road. The GPS coordinates are N44 05.355 W74 03.371 for the parking area for those who have a GPS devise. There is a large DEC sign at the intersection of this paved road and Boreas Road. At the start of the road, check your speed and watch out for the "jump" at the railroad track crossing. The road turns left just prior to a bridge over the Hudson with signs for Upper Works. Follow the signs!

From the Upper Works Parking Area follow the wide gravel trail for about 0.4 miles, crossing the Hudson River on a wide wooden bridge. Soon you'll reach a junction. To the right is the main trail that leads into the High Peaks Wilderness. This is the trail that can take you to scenic Flowed Lands, Indian Pass and some of the ADK 46ers. To the left is the trail that leads to the Hudson Headwaters and Henderson Lake.

You'll reach the end of the trail in another 500 feet, where there is a Kiosk, a gravel beach as well as a place to launch a kayak or canoe on the lake. There are some designated campsites located nearby. The dam is located on the left and a short trail travels to the dam spillway which creates the start of the Hudson River. Look below for a few pictures and a map of the area.

 

Trail out of Upper Works Trailhead

Hudson River near the headwaters

Spillway and the Hudson River Headwaters

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