Hiking in Adirondack Park

Northwestern Adirondacks Five Ponds Wilderness
Hiking in St Lawrence County
Hiking in Adirondack Park

Northwestern Adirondacks

Cranberry Lake
Wild Forest


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The 24,111 acre Cranberry Lake Wild Forest consists of three separate parcels to the west, northwest, and east of Cranberry Lake. It features over 33 miles of hiking trails, two lean-tos and many boat only accessible free primitive campsites on the lake. The Cranberry Lake region is one of the largest remote areas remaining in the state.

Cranberry Lake is the northern gateway to the Five Ponds Wilderness. The large lake covers over 11 square miles and has 55 miles of shoreline, of which more than 40 miles are state-owned.  Primitive tent sites, designated with yellow markers, have been established for the convenience of campers. Forty-six of these sites line the shore of Cranberry Lake. There are even a number of designated campsites on Joe Indian Island as well as one nice site on Catamount Island. There are numerous hiking trails that are boat accessible in Cranberry Lake Wild Forest as well as Five Ponds Wilderness.

Just east of the village of Cranberry Lake, the NY DEC maintains Cranberry Lake Campground and day-use area on the lake, which includes a picnic area, a beach, and bathhouses. Graded areas for tents or trailers, convenient water outlets, toilets, a trailer dump-out station, and showers are available. Also available are accessible campsites, an accessible picnic area, and an accessible fishing pier. A public boat launch is located on Columbian Road west of Cranberry Lake.  For more info go to the DEC website.

The 5 Ponds Partners have created the "Cranberry Lake 50" or CL50.  This is a 50 mile loop hike that exists to challenge you to explore and experience the diversity of the lake, ponds, and woods of the northwestern Adirondacks. The loop uses trails in Cranberry Lake Wild Forest, Five Ponds Wilderness and adjacent forest preserve lands.

Cranberry Lake Wild Forest Hiking Trails

Wanakena Snowmobile Trail (2.6 miles) - This trail follows the original road to Wanakena. It joins Wanakena Road and Inlet Road to allow snowmobilers to travel between Wanakena and Star Lake; together with Moores Trail, it makes a loop.

Moores Trail (72)(yellow) (2.0 miles) - This trail follows the Oswegatchie River between Inlet and Wanakena. Kayakers sometimes use this as a carry trail.

Peavine Swamp Ski Trail (56/57) (8.5 miles) - This trail begins on the south side of NY 3 east of Peavine Swamp. It presently contains three loops. The last half of the trail passes through lands that have never been significantly harvested. Large specimens of hardwoods, red spruce, and eastern hemlock are common.

Bear Mountain Trail (55)(red) (2.4 miles) - This trail begins at a parking area adjacent to Campsite 27 in the Cranberry Lake campground and ends in Loop IV of the campground. Several vistas overlook the lake from the mountain. There is a lean-to that is located 0.6 mile from the parking area.

Campground Trail (49)(yellow) (2.2 miles) - This trail connects the Bear Mountain Trail with the Burntbridge Pond Snowmobile Trail. It was constructed in 1987 to provide campers at the Cranberry Lake Campground with more access to this parcel.. It also provides hikers with access to Bear Mountain from NY 3. The crew that built this trail refers to it as "the boardwalk" because two 250 foot long bridges cross portions of Bear Mountain Swamp.

Burntbridge Pond Snowmobile Trail (48)(6.8 miles) - This trail begins at a parking area on NY 3, and is the roadbed of a spur of the Grass River Railroad, which was probably constructed between 1913 and 1916. The tracks were removed prior to state acquisition in 1933. The GPS coordinates of the parking area off NY 3 is N44 14.236 W74 47.384.

The Campground Trail joins this trail 1.4 miles from NY 3. It shortly enters a clearing that was the former site of a logging camp. A 1916 Conservation Department map shows this camp serviced by a telephone line. The trail leaves this railroad be 0.8 mile later, and follows old logging roads to Brandy Brook and a grassy area beyond known as the "Potato Patch." From here, the trail branches east to Burntbridge Pond and conservation easement lands lands, while a south branch leads to Brandy Brook Flow on Cranberry Lake. A lean-to was constructed at Burntbridge Pond in 1986.

Dog Pond Loop Trail (50)(blue) (9.8 miles) - Construction of this trail began in 1988. It leaves the Burntbridge Pond Snowmobile Trail at Brandy Brook Flow, passes four developed campsites on the flow and heads south, crossing the Hedgehog Pond Trail to Curtis Pond, where it goes east to Irish and Dog Ponds. At Proulx's Clearing, near Dog Pond, the trail turns north to meet the Burntbridge Pond Snowmobile Trail west of Burntbridge Pond.

Dog Pond Trail (53/38)(red) (1.5 miles) - This trail provides access to Dog Pond from Proulx's Clearing to the north (0.4 mile) and the Otter Brook Trail to the south (1.1 miles).

Otterbrook Trail (blue) (7.5 miles) - This trail follows a restricted access road from the South Branch of the Grass River to Chair Rock Flow. It is a shortcut to Dog Pond as it shortens the distance to 3.4 miles.

Hedgehog Pond Trail (51)(yellow) (0.5 mile) - This short trail travels from Hedgehog Bay to Hedgehog Pond.

Curtis Pond Trail (52)(red) (1.2 mile) - This trail travels from East Inlet to Curtis Pond.

Destinations in Cranberry Lake Wild Forest

Bear Mountain Cathedral Rock Nicks Pond
Moore Trail Peavine Swamp Trails Boardwalk Trail
Burntbridge Pond Hedgehog Pond Hedgehog Bay
Curtis Pond Dog Pond Balsam Pond

Burntbridge Pond Trail

Paddling on Cranberry Lake



Hiking in Adirondack Park

Northwestern Adirondacks Cranberry Lake Campground

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