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Franklin County Mountain Bike Trails: North

Adirondack Region

Directions & Trail Description
Adirondack Forest Trail Information

Location: Northern Adirondacks. Adirondack Forest Preserve near Saranac Lake in Franklin County, New York

Length/Configuration: 35+ miles of trails. Design your own loop or out-and-back mountain bike ride using extensive network of trails. The Keese Mills-Blue Mountain Road is a 20 mile trip one way.

Terrain/Surface: Diverse terrain from wide unpaved woods roads to narrow, technical singletrack trails. The Keese Mills-Blue Mountain Road is packed dirt and gravel.

Technical Difficulty: Easy, moderate & advanced

Elevation Change: No appreciable gain. Rides run from flat to rolling hills to some more moderate climbs.

Caution: Shared use with hikers. Black flies and other bugs until late June or early July. Bring insect repellent at other times, just in case! Light vehicular traffic on some of the backcountry  dirt roads. Risky to ride during hunting season which begins mid-September.

 

 

Franklin County Trails Map

Note: This trail map is a graphical representation designed for general reference purposes only. Read Full Disclaimer.

Directions:

Exit 30 off I-87 (Northway). Take Rt.9 north 2 miles to Rt.73. Travel on Rt.73 28 miles to Lake Placid. Take Rt.86 to Saranac Lake.

Trail access to the individual rides are listed below:

 

General Description:

See Adirondack Forest Preserve for trail regulations and other important information.

Franklin County offers mountain biking trails through some of the most exciting and scenic cycling country in the Adirondacks. Trails wind through dense forests of spruce and pine or take you past majestic mountains, shimmering blue lakes and fertile valleys. There are also miles of rolling country roads to explore by bike. We have described a few of them here briefly. Before starting out on your Adirondack mountain bike adventure it is advised that you obtain detailed maps and complete information.

 

The Trails:

St. Regis River - Deer River Area

Deer River State Forest Trails: (11 miles interconnecting loops) Beginner
Trailhead: Access off NY86. 1.3 miles north of hospital in Saranac Lake. Turn right on dirt road, bear left and park at gate.

The Deer River Area is comprised of nearly 12,000 acres along the Deer River in Northwest Franklin County. The trails consist of a series of interconnecting loops which traverse gently rolling hills through northern hardwood forest. Riders can select a variety of routes of varying lengths.

 

Keese Mills - Blue Mountain Road: (20 miles one way) Beginner (moderate because of distance)
Trailhead: At the junction of Rt. 30 & Rt. 86 in Paul Smith's there is a large parking area.

This is a 20 mile one way trip on a packed dirt and gravel road. You can turn around at any point for a shorter round trip. If you intend to do the whole length as a one way trip, you can park another car on Rt. 458 at the end of Blue Mountain Rd. to have a shuttle back.

Heading northwest on the Keese Mills Road, the pavement gives way to hard-packed dirt and travels through a stretch of scenic woods which open up to blueberry barrens. The road then follows the St. Regis River and enters a beautiful northern spruce/fir boreal forest.

At three quarters of the way into the ride, and approximately a mile and a half after the bridge crossing over the St. Regis River, you'll come to the Azure Mountiain trailhead on the left. The short 3/4 mile hike up is worth the effort for a spectacular lunch spot on the summit. The remainder of the ride takes you through forests and past hunting camps. From the Mt. Azure trailhead; it's 5 to 6 miles to your car on Blue Mountain Road.

 

Debar Mt. Game Management Area

Meecham Lake: (7.9 miles) Moderate
Trailhead: Access Rt. 99 from Rt. 3 or Rt. 30, turn west on dirt road where Hatch Brook crosses Rt. 99 - north of Loon Lake. Follow for about 2.4 miles and park at south end of field near the junction of three trails. If trail is accessed from the Meecham Lake State Campground on NY30, a day use fee is required.

This trail is easy crusing mixed with some rough sections. Head west on the middle trail. At 1.5 miles, pass small pond on the left and go straight at next junction. Take right fork at 3.5 miles and continue over rolling terrain, crossing Winnebago Pond on beaver dam at 5.5 miles. Hit the junction to Debar Mt. on right at 6 miles. Go straight for another 1.9 miles to Meecham Lake State Campground.

 

Hatch Brook Loop: (4.5 mile loop) Moderate
Trailhead: See Meecham Lake Trail above.

Terrain: woods road and singletrack.

This is a good ride for mountain bikers with intermediate level skills. The Loop trail traverses the Debar Mountain Wild Forest, located in a remote portion of the Adirondack Park, just north of Paul Smiths.

Heading south from the field (left fork), the trail crosses Hatch Brook, climbs over a ridge, then bends west and passes a pond on the left. At 2.5 miles hit junction of trail to Meacham Lake. Turn right and follow road two more miles to complete the loop. The loop trail mostly follows old woods roads but watch out for fallen trees or other obstructions on the challenging singletrack section south of Hatch Brook.

Nearby mountain biking trails: Meacham Lake to Debar Meadow Trail.

 

Hays Brook Spur: (4.4 miles) Beginner
Trailhead: See Meecham Lake Trail above.

Head west on the middle trail which leads past a small pond on the left in about a mile and a half. Continue straight at next junction. At about 3+ miles, take the left fork onto spur trail. Continue south for a little less than a mile to an old cabin site near Hays Brook. Watch out for fallen trees or other obstructions on the spur trail.

 

Hays Brook Area

Slush Pond Horse Trail: (1.5 miles) or (7 mile loop) Moderate or (2.1 miles) Beginner
Trailhead: From Rt. 30 turn left on dirt road opposite Hays Brook Area and continue for 1.3 miles to horse trail on the right.

A short stretch of single-track with a series of small hills. The trail heads in a northwesterly direction through plantations and natural clearings to McColloms Road. Rt. 30 is about 2 miles down the road to the right.

Slush Pond 7 mile loop: To turn this into a 7 mile loop, turn right on Rt. 30 and travel another 2.3 miles back to Slush Pond Road. Turn right and continue for another 1.3 miles back to the starting point.

Slush Pond Beginner: Beginners will enjoy riding into Slush Pond from Rt. 30 (2.1 miles on seasonal road).

 

Sheep Meadow Trail: (3.6 miles) Beginner/Moderate
Trailhead: From junction of Rt. 30 & Rt. 86 at Paul Smiths, go 3.7 miles north and turn right on dirt road (look for DEC sign for hays Brook Assembly Area). Park .4 mile off highway near state gate on left.

Easy cruising on a woods road and horse trail. There are some rolling hills to make things interesting. The trail starts past the metal gate, and follows a truck trail through a pine plantation. After a litle more than half a mile, cross the bridge over Osgood River and take a sharp left onto a single-track horse trail. In about 3/4 of a mile you will rejoin the truck trail. Turn left and cross a wooden bridge over Hays Brook in about a mile and a half. The trail ends at a clearing with 2 lean-tos and a horse shelter at Sheep Meadow.

The section of single-track can be avoided by staying on the truck trail (adding another 1/4 mile to the trip).

 

Hays Brook Truck Trail: (3.4 miles) Beginner
Trailhead: Same as Sheep Meadow Trail)

This is a great beginner ride on wide dirt roads. The trail travels through a pine plantation, a forest and leads to an old sheep meadow. Spur trails lead to Hayes Brook and to a lean-to on Grassy Pond.

The trail begins along the same route as the Sheep Meadow trail but after crossing the Osgood River head straight. After .8 mile the main trail turns left, but keep going straight. This spur bends NE along Hays Brook through Boreal forest. Watch out for fallen trees and other obstructions on the spur trail.

 

Grass Pond Trail: (2 miles) Beginner
Trailhead: Same as Sheep Meadow Trail)

This is a nice beginner ride. The trail begins along the same route as the Sheep Meadow trail but after crossing the Osgood River, head east to Grass Pond by taking the old road on the right. There are two nice lean-tos on the east shore.

 

 

For more information:

Department Of Environmental Conservation
Region 5
PO Box 296
Ray Brook, NY 12977

Phone: (518) 897-1300
TTY: 711 (AT&T National Relay)
Website: New York State DEC

 

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