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Multi-Day Hikes to Plan Now

Seward Range photograph by Flickr user Shawn Paradis

Sometimes a day hike just isn’t enough. If you’re itching for a more extended foray in the forest, here are a few ideas:

The Seward Range

Peak-baggers hoping to knock a few 46ers off their list and explore the western High Peaks—less traveled and more remote than their eastern counterparts—may want to try the Seward Range. It’s a steep climb to the 4,361-foot summit of Seward, the range’s northernmost and highest peak, followed by a traverse over Mount Donaldson (4,140 feet) and Mount Em­mons (4,040 feet). Just be prepared—if you’re used to traveling on maintained trails, the going can be much slower on unmaintained paths, as Shaun Kittle reported in “Range Rovers,” from the 2013 Annual Guide to the Great Outdoors.

To reach the trailhead, turn off Route 3 onto Coreys Road and proceed about 6 miles to the parking area on the right. From here, the easy-to-follow Ward Brook truck trail borders private property until Blueberry lean-to at 4.5 miles. A few more lean-tos and several camp­sites are available within the next 2 miles.

To get to Seward Mountain, the northernmost peak in the Seward Range, look for a cairn marking the path next to the first in a series of three brooks. If you reach the Ward Brook lean-to at 5.4 miles, you’ve gone too far. To hike to Seymour, continue past the lean-to and look for the cairn after the first brook crossing. Both paths are a right turn when walking from Coreys Road. The unmarked trails leading up these mountains can be difficult to follow. Come armed with a topographic map and compass, and know how to use them.

The Cranberry Lake 50

The Cranberry Lake 50 is a collection of trails that forms a 50-mile loop around the Adirondacks’ third-largest body of water. The route, completed in 2009, was spearheaded by 5 Ponds Partners, a subcommittee of the Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corporation, with help from the Adirondack Park Agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Adirondack Mountain Club and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

There are two principal trailheads, both on Route 3: a couple of miles west of Cranberry Lake village, at the start of the Pea­vine Swamp trail, and a couple of miles east at the Burntbridge Pond (also called Brandy Brook) trailhead. A third trailhead is the beginning of the High Falls trail in Wanakena.

Whether you go clockwise or counter­clockwise, you need not do the loop in one outing. There are lean-tos and campsites, some quite lovely—Curtis and Cowhorn Ponds are exemplary—at de­cent intervals. Side trips add short distances to the aggregate, but also lots of scenery. Climb Bear Mountain (1.7 miles one way) for a splendid view of the lake or Cat Mountain (a little more than a mile round trip) to get a pan­oramic sense of just how far the forest spreads. High Falls, not quite a mile round trip off the loop, is a popular destination on its own merits, and High Rock is a be­guiling rest stop with a sweeping view of broad Oswegatchie River wetlands and some of the best can­oe country anywhere. A new offshoot, the Big Deer trail (2.2 miles one way), links the CL50 to Lows Lake.

To learn more go to www.cranberrylake50.org or pick up the excellent map/brochure published by 5 Ponds Partners, available at area businesses or by mail. Or read Neal Burdick’s full article (from which this description was excerpted) from the 2011 Annual Guide to the Great Outdoors.

The Northville-Placid Trail

Fifty miles not enough for you? Try the ultimate Adirondack through-hike on the 133-mile Northville-Placid Trail, which celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. The trip takes about two weeks, depending on daily mileage, and requires a lot more planning information than can be provided in a blog. For the full scoop, check out the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Northville-Placid Trail guide, edited by Jeffrey and Donna Case. For the latest trail information, visit www.nptrail.org. And for inspiration, read “Many Happy Returns,” by Jeffrey Case, on why he and his wife hike this same trail every spring. Here are some of Case’s favorite parts of the trip:

Best places along the NPT for…

A great view:
» Bridge across the outlet of South Lake (West Canada Lakes)
» Carry lean-to on the Cedar River

Swimming:
» Waterfall and deep pool 5.7 miles from Benson on the West Branch of the Sacandaga River
» Sandy beach on the north end of Tirrell Pond

Thrills:
» Suspension bridges across Moose Creek and Cold River

Easy hiking:
» Stretch from Lake Durant to Stephens Pond

Challenging hiking:
» Up and over Fishing Brook Range from Tirrell Pond to Long Lake

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