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Moose River Recreation Area Trails

Adirondack Region, New York

Family / Wildlife
Directions & Trail Description
Adirondack Forest Trail Information
Moose River Trails Map

Location: Inlet, NY. Hamilton County.

Length/Configuration: Design your own out-and-back mountain bike ride using 40 miles of dirt roads and 27 miles of marked trails.

Terrain/Surface: Well-graded and maintained, hard-packed abandoned logging roads throughout the Moose River plains. Additional double and singletrack marked trails and unmaintained old woods roads.

Technical Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Not very technical but challenging if covering long distances.

Elevation Change: Several hundred ft. over gently rolling hills. Steeper grades possible, depending on route taken.

Caution: Be aware that vehicles are allowed on dirt roads. Black flies may be brutal until late June or early July. Wet and mud season during the spring and hunting season after mid-September. Both roads and trails can be closed at certain times of the year, depending on conditions.



Bike Wheel Image

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


Getting to Inlet:

From the West: Exit 31 off I-90 onto Rt.12/28 north. Travel north for about 25 miles and turn right onto Rt.28. Travel about 39 miles (past Old Forge) to Inlet.

From The East: Exit 25 off I-87 (Northway) Rt.8/Chestertown. Turn left at end of exit ramp onto Rt.8 west. Pass  through Wevertown, turn right (west) onto Rt.28 and travel about 60 miles to Inlet.

Getting to the Moose River Recreation Area is easy.

Western gate access: GPS coordinates: (43.7207639N, -74.7896457W)
Take Cedar River Flow Road just east of Indian Lake off Route 28. The ranger station is 12 miles in, at the head of the lake.

Eastern gate access: GPS coordinates for eastern gate: (43.7264110N, -74.4749391W)
Just past Inlet, you will see the signs to Limekiln Road; the entry gate is 2 miles from Route 28.

Note: A good central place to park is about 10 miles in at the junction of Moose River Road and Otter Creek Road.


General Description:

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

Situated in the middle of Adirondack State Park, the 50,000 acre Moose River Recreation Area which includes the flood plain for the Moose and Red Rivers and connecting tributaries, is the largest open grassland in the Adirondack Preserve. According to the DEC "these state lands comprise the largest block of remote land in the Adirondacks readily accessible by motor vehicle". The terrain varies from herb and grass plains to forested ridges and mountains. The area was purchased by the State from the Gould Paper Company in 1963 and was heavily logged just before the sale, resulting in relatively young forest growth.

The Department of Environmental Conservation maintains over 40 miles of old logging roads and 27 miles of trails, providing for days of enjoyable mountain biking excursions. There are also 140 primitive tent sites located throughout the area, many adjacent to the main road or trails. A great way to experience the area is to establish a base camp at one of these sites and spend several days exploring by mountain bike.

Wildflowers and wildlife flourish. The area is home to deer, beaver, otter, mink and and many species of birds including loons, owls, great blue herons, hawks and boreal species usually found in this part of the state. The ponds and lakes also thrive with wildlife.

The Moose River Recreation Area opens for public vehicle use on or around Memorial Day. The DEC may restrict entry or close either or both gates to vehicles and/or RV's any time the road conditions are deemed hazardous due to inclement weather conditions. The roads are closed to all vehicles other than snowmobiles immediately after deer season. When the roads are closed for any reason, a sign will be posted at the two major highway entries.

Entry on foot or bicycle is permitted at any time. All persons must register at the entrance gates. You will be asked to fill out a detailed questionaire and perhaps have a camping permit if you plan to camp. A developed state campground is located nearby at Limekiln Lake, with modern facilities and showers. Eighth Lake Campground, where we camped (about 5 miles east of Inlet on Rt.28) is an appealing smaller, quieter state campground on serene Eighth Lake with direct access to miles of additional mountain bike trails.


Note: During the summer, swimming in a cool Adirondack lake is a great way to end a day of riding.
(See our Bikes & Beaches Feature Article for details)


The Trails:

The terrain consists of deep forest, open herb and grass "plains", woodland meadows, wetlands, many lakes, ponds and rolling hills. The often steep inclines of the adjoining mixed hardwood and pine forested ridges and mountains form a dramatic backdrop.

A 40 mile network of abandoned logging roads weave throughout the "plains", leading to scenic ponds and lakes. Often the roads are steeply pitched and rutted. You must deal with vehicles and significant dust on the popular main roads if conditions are dry. Elevation changes in the range of 1,000 to 1,500 feet are not uncommon, but most of the mountain biking is on gently rolling terrain with elevation gains or losses of only a few hundred feet. There is also an additional 27 miles of trails ideal for mountain bikes within the area.

We have included a brief description of some of the trails and roads. Before starting out on your ride it is advised that you obtain detailed trail maps and complete information.


The Black Fly Challenge: The longest destination mountain bike race in the Eastern United States, rolls through the Moose River Recreation Area between Inlet and Indian Lake every year in mid-June. The race changes direction every year with the start alternating between the two towns.


Moose River Road (Main Road): (23 miles)
The road travels between the main entry gates at Limekiln and the Cedar River. Signage along the road denotes every lake, pond and mountain complete with mileage to each destination.

Indian Lake Road: (5.5 miles)
Extends from the Otter Brook Road intersection to Barrier near Indian Lake. This road may be temporarily closed early in the season at the Otter Brook Barrier.

Otter Brook Road: (3.3 miles)
Extends from main T road intersection to Otter Brook barrier

Rock Dam Road: (4.3 miles)
Extends from the Red River Bridge intersection to the barrier at the end of the Rock Dam Road

Limekiln Lake East Shore Path: (5.4) marked yellow
This trail provides access to the shores of Limekiln Lake, but dead ends on private property on the east shore were you must turn around.

Bear Pond & Red River Loop Trail: (2.4 miles)
This is trail varies from flat to gently rolling hills. A spur trail will lead you 3.2 miles to Bear Pond.

Lost Ponds Trail: (1.0 mile one way) marked yellow: Beginner
This trail leads to a stillwater area on Sumner Stream and continues to a popular fishing pond.

Ice House Pond Trail: (.4 mile) marked yellow
This trail follows an old road over easy rolling terrain to this kettle bog pond.

Hell Diver Pond Trail: (.25 mile) marked yellow: Beginner
The trail provides easy access to this lovely pond on a dirt road. It travels briefly through open woodland that soons turns into dense forest before arriving at the pond.

Mitchell Ponds Trail: (2 miles one way) marked yellow: Beginner or (4 mile loop) Moderate/Advanced
This is a great mountain bike ride for the whole family over easy rolling terrain. The two mile ride to the first pond begins along an old double track road that is fairly flat, firm and generally free of blowdown. This is a snowmobile trail and therefore fairly wide but not very well-marked for most of the way. At about 1.8 miles the trail comes to a junction in an open grassy area. Bear left (west). The trail then travels on a pennisula between the two ponds and ends at a natural rock dam. Scenic cliffs line one side of the penninsula.

You can turn this into a 4 mile loop by bearing right at the 1.8 mile junction. This is a moderate/advanced section and involves a difficult beaver dam crossing.

The state has plans to widen the trails to Icehouse and Mitchell ponds to allow motorized traffic and provide handicapped access.

Beaver Lake Trail: (2.1 miles one way) marked yellow: Beginner
This trail starts at a parking area and road barrier just west of the Moose River Bridge. This is a great ride for the whole family. It follows an old road over gently rolling terrain and travels through a forest of white pine, past a clearing that was the site of an old sawmill. It then descends to the northern shoreline of Beaver Lake.

Sly Pond Trail: (5.4) marked yellow
The trail climbs part of the way up Little Moose Mt. before descending to Sly Pond, one of the highest bodies of water in the Adirondacks. The high acidic content has rendered the pond uninhabitable by fish.

The Sly Pond Crossover Trail: (3 miles) Beginner/Moderate or (9.5 mile loop) Moderate/Advanced
A 3 mile trail that can be connected to Moose River Rd. and Otter Brook Rd. to make a 9.5 mile loop. On the Moose River side you have to wade across the Moose River. You can also access the 5.4-mile spur trail to Sly Pond, one of the highest bodies of water in the region.



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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