New Trails in Keene and Jay
by Lisa Bramen
If the rain takes a break this weekend—though the current weather forecast looks iffy—popular Adirondack mountain trails are bound to be packed with hikers taking advantage of peak (in both senses of the word) foliage viewing.
But if your idea of a perfect fall outing is something a little less rugged and a whole lot quieter than Giant or Algonquin—say, a pleasant walk through the woods to a pretty fishing pond—a good option is the Clements Pond trail, part of the Wilmington Wild Forest, in the town of Keene.
The approximately 1.5-mile trail was cut in 2010 by an Adirondack Mountain Club volunteer crew plus other local volunteers, according to an email from Robert Daley, a forester with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Lands and Forests. “A parking area for this trail was scheduled to be built in the late summer of 2011, but Hurricane Irene stalled those plans,” he says. “A parking area is currently under construction and should be completed in the very near future. When the parking area is finished, appropriate trailhead signage will be installed and the trail will be formally opened.”
Despite the lack of signage, it’s not too difficult to find the trailhead, which is about a mile up Styles Brook Road (shown as Glen Road on some maps) from Route 9N between Keene and Upper Jay. The unfinished parking area is on the right, and the trailhead is directly across the street.
My husband and I did the hike on a weekend in late August, when the first leaves were starting to turn. By now the mixed hardwood forest is likely to be in full blaze. We didn’t encounter anyone else during the couple of hours we spent there.
With less than 500 feet of elevation gain from the 1,200-foot trailhead, it’s an easy hike to Clements Pond, a pretty fishing hole stocked with brook trout. Bait fish are not permitted; trout season ends October 15. We didn’t bring our fishing gear, but we found a nice spot to eat lunch and watch our mutt, Ollie, take a dip in the water.
If you’re into rock-climbing, there are also several recently developed routes described on the Adirondack Rock website, though nothing to rival the better-known cliffs a few miles away in Keene Valley.
Frank Krueger, chair of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Trails Committee, reported in the Jay Community News that a new trail up the Jay Range was also recently completed. “The new trail avoids the muddy area and the steep eroded sections of the old trail by a series of switchbacks across the face of the first mountain in the range,” he writes. “There are still some steep sections (it is a mountain, after all), but nothing like the old trail—much easier on the knees and the forest.”