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Hiking in Adirondack Park

Central Adirondacks Vanderwhacker Mountain
Hiking in Adirondack Park
Central Adirondacks

Wild Forest


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The 91,854 acre Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest is located in the central section of Adirondack Park. There are over 14 miles of established hiking trails located in Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. This wild forest borders or contains 44 ponds and other small lakes, as well as portions of the Hudson River and much of the Boreas River. Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest lies both east and west of NY 28N in western Essex County.

The main attractions of the area are the lakes and ponds, the Boreas River and Vanderwhacker Mountain. The Boreas River, a designated scenic river, is truly a beautiful Adirondack river. The Wolf Pond, Durgin Brook and Lester Flow sections of the upper Boreas are well known to bird clubs. These are plant and bird life communities of unusual interest, particularly in the more boreal forms.

The 3386 foot Vanderwhacker Mountain with its fire tower and spectacular views of the high peaks is a very popular hiking destination.  The summit offers possibly the nicest panorama of the high peaks from the southern Adirondacks.  The drive to the trailhead along Moose Club Road is very rough. Other popular trails within the area lead to Stony Pond, Cheney Pond, Lester Flow, Rankin Pond, and the Boreas River.

For those adventurers looking for more of a challenge and remoteness in this wild forest can try bushwhacking to the summits of 3675 foot Cheney Cobble and 3839 foot Rist Mountain.  Both mountains, located east of Tahawus, are trail less and difficult to reach due to location.  We are unsure of any views from either mountain. One trail that you'll get many great views is the trail to Moxham Mountain. Built in 2012, the 2.7 mile trail features many overlooks as it winds its way to the summit of Moxham Mountain.

You'll find two lean to's in the wild forest, with one at Stony Pond and one at Cheney Pond.  The one at Cheney Pond are only accessible via boat.  You'll also find roadside campsites along Boreas Road, North Woods Club Road, NY 28N and one along Moose Club Road. There are a total of 44 designated primitive campsites. A future section of the North Country National Scenic Trail will travel through the wild forest. Look below for maps, a list of the hiking trails and a list of the popular destinations in this wild forest (many maps were courtesy of Andy Arthur from You can also find more information on this area at the DEC website.

Hiking Trails in Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

Tower Trail travels 2.5 miles and ascends 1,650 feet from the Vanderwhacker Fire Tower Trailhead to the summit of Vanderwhacker Mountain (3,386 feet). The Vanderwhacker Mountain Fire Tower is located on the summit and is part of the ADK Fire Tower Challenge. The only views on the mountain are from the cab of the fire tower. The 360 view includes the High Peaks region to the north, the Boreas River valley to the east and the spectacular scenery of the Adirondacks spreads out for many miles in every direction.

Boreas River Loop Trail travels 2.0 miles along the Boreas River between two trailheads along NY 28N. The trail weaves through the Boreas Hardwoods region, with many mature, large diameter northern hardwoods. The trail descends 120 feet from in the first 0.6 mile from the trailhead, then climbs 60 feet in the next 0.5 mile and remains basically level for the remainder of the distance to the bridge over the Boreas River. A 0.75-mile hike that ascends, or descends, 135 feet along NY 28N completes the loop.

Roosevelt Truck Trail travels 2.0 miles between the Roosevelt Truck Trail NY 28N Trailhead and the Truck Trail Blue Ridge Road Trailhead.

Lindsey Marsh Trail travels 2.0 miles from the Lindsey Marsh Trailhead to Lindsey Marsh.

Hewitt Pond Trail travels 5.0 miles between the Hewitt Pond Trailhead and the Stony Pond Trailhead and provides access to Hewitt Pond, Barnes Pond, Center Pond, and Stony Pond. From north to south the trail ascends 515 feet in the first two miles, then descends 170 feet in the next 2 miles to the shore of Stony Pond. The trail climbs 155 feet from Stony Pond in 0.5 mile, then descends 100 feet to the southern trailhead.

Center Pond Trail travels 0.2 miles from Hewitt Pond Trail, approximately halfway between the Hewitt Pond Trailhead and the Stony Pond Trailhead, to the shore of Center Pond. The trail descends 100 feet to the pond in the last 0.1 mile.

Stony Pond Trail travels 1.3 miles from the Hewitt Trail at the outlet of Stony Pond and provides access to Little Sherman Pond and Big Sherman Pond. The trail ascends 80 feet in the first 0.25 mile before descending 180 feet to the northeastern shore of Little Sherman Pond. The trail continues as a designated snowmobile trail only beyond the ponds as it crosses private lands, so there is NO HIKING PAST THE PONDS.

29th Pond Trail is a short spur trail off the Stony Pond Trail to the shore of the pond and a designated tent site.

Lost Pond Mountain Trail travels 5.0 miles and ascents 800 feet between North Woods Club Road and the Stony Pond Trail. The trail is mainly used as a snowmobile trail. This trail may become part of the future North Country National Scenic Trail.

Rankin Pond Trail travels 0.4 mile from its trailhead to the eastern shore of Rankin Pond. The scenic trail ascends 105 feet in the first 0.1 mile before descending 180 feet in the remainder of the distance to the pond.

Camp Santanoni-Lake Harris Campground Connector Trail travels 1.5 miles between Camp Santanoni Gatehouse and Lake Harris Campground along the northern shore of Harris Lake.

Cheney Pond Trail travels 0.5 mile and descends 140 feet from its trailhead to a hand launch on the shore of Cheney Pond.

Vanderwhacker Pond Trail travels 0.75 mile and ascends about 200 feet from the Vanderwhacker Pond Trailhead to the shore of the pond.

Raymond Brook Trail travels 5.2 miles between the Barton Mine Road Trailhead and the Raymond Brook Trailhead and the trail descends 1,035 feet from Barton Mine Road. This trail may become part of the future North Country National Scenic Trail.

Oak Ridge Trail travels 1.9 miles from the Raymond Pond Trail to the Schaefer Trail.

Schaefer Trail travels 4.5 miles and ascends 2,550 feet from the North Creek Ski Bowl Trailhead to the summit of Gore Mountain (3,586 feet elevation). The trailhead and first part of the trail are located on lands owned by the town of Johnsburg. The remainder of the trail and the summit of Gore Mountain are located on the intensive use classified Gore Mountain Ski Center which is managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

Moxham Mountain Trail travels 2.3 miles and ascends 1,000 feet from the trailhead to the 2361 foot summit of the mountain. The open summit provides views of the Hudson River Valley, Gore Mountain and the Central Adirondacks.


Hiking Destinations in Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

Moxham Mountain Vanderwhacker Mountain Stony Pond
Hewitt Eddy Boreas River Rankin Pond
Balfour Lake Hewitt Pond Barnes Pond
Sherman Ponds Center Pond Lindsey Marsh
Dutton Mountain Hotwater Pond Nate Pond
Grassy Pond Wolf Pond Cheney Pond
Lester Flow Vanderwhacker Pond Merrills Hill
Camp Santanoni Goodnow Mountain Ragged Mounatin

Hewitt Eddy Trail along NY 28N

From the deck at Camp Santanoni on Newcomb Lake


Hiking in Adirondack Park

Vanderwhacker Mountain Central Adirondacks

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