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Otter Creek State Forest Horse Trails

Adirondack Region

Wildlife
Directions & Trail Descriptions

Location: Near Glenfield, NY. Lewis County. Western border of the Adirondack Park.

Length/Configuration: 65 miles of interlocking multi-use trails.

Terrain/Surface: Mostly old, sandy roads and woods roads.

Technical Difficulty: All skill levels

Elevation Change: Mostly flat or rolling terrain. Some climbs over ridges.

Caution: Shared use with equestrians and hikers. Please be considerate of horseback riders and slow down or stop on approach -- say hi to the horses. Do not stray into nearby cottage areas or onto posted private property.

 

Otter Creek Horse Trail System Overview Map

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

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Directions:

From Lowville:

To Main Assembly Area: Take Rt.12 south 6 to 7 miles to Glenfield. Turn left onto Main St. and travel through Glenfield to Greig Rd. Travel east on Greig Rd. about 1.9 miles to a T-intersection. Turn left onto Pine Grove Rd. Drive 1.2 miles to Chases Lake Rd. (look for sign), turn right and proceed 3 to 4 miles. Turn left at Horse Trail entrance sign.

To Independence State Forest Area: Rt .36 (Number Four Road) 3.5 miles to Rt. 39 (Pine Grove Road) turn left and go 5 miles south to Chases Lake Road. Turn left and proceed 3.25 miles.

To Otter Creek State Forest: Number Four Road 3.5 miles to Pine Grove Road. Follow Pine Grove Road 6 miles to Eatonville Road, turn left, proceed 1.2 miles.

Other vehicular access: Otter Creek Forest Access Road (1.5 miles), Mikes Road (1.1 miles), Campsite #1 Road (0.6 mile), and the Oxbow Road (0.5 mile).

 

General Description:

The Otter Creek Horse Trail System, located at the western edge of the Adirondack Park Preserve not only offers some of the best horseback riding trails in New York State, but also provides a great mountain biking experience. The 65 miles of interlocking trails are located on the Independence River State Forest, Otter Creek State Forest and Independence River Wild Forest Unit of the Adirondack Preserve. The state built facilities at the Otter Creek Assembly Area located in the Independence State Forest (see trail map above) include trailhead parking, 100 roofed stalls, 2 stud stalls, mounting platforms, toilet facilities and running water. Besides horseback riding and mountain biking, the multi-use trails are open to hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

While horses may dream about riding here, this diversified multi-use trail system is often an overlooked recreational resource and classifies as a "best kept secret".

Independence State Forest

The 673 acre Independence State Forest offers a woodland mountain biking experience. Maple, black cherry, native white pine and planted red & scotch pine rest on deep, sandy soil. The Independence River, a small mountain stream which originates in the Western edge of Adirondack Park, cascades through the northern section of the area.

Otter Creek State Forest

7 miles of designated horse trails travel through the 1,206 acre Otter Creek State Forest, named for the trout stream that meanders from east to west through this tract. A gorge cut by the creek offers trail users including mountain bikers and hikers, spectacular views from vistas along the rim.

In addition to the woods of hardwoods and hemlock, ridges, streams and lakes of the uplands, parts of the area have been called the Serengeti of the Adirondacks. 10,000 years ago huge quantities of sand were deposited here from the bottom of a glacial lake. This resulted in flatlands of hardy spirea, low-lying blueberry, ferns and brightly colored lichens.

 

The Trails:

The well-marked Otter Creek Trail System uses a series of old, sandy roads and woods roads that wind along spirea flats, wooded areas, and picturesque ponds. They provide a variety of terrain and scenery and often pass through remote forested areas populated with wildlife. They follow or cross Otter, Little Otter, Beaver Meadow, Chase, Burnt and Crooked Creeks as well as the beautiful Independence River. Bridges lead across the creeks and marshes.

The riding is fairly easy over terrain that is mostly flat and rolling with an occasional climb over a ridge. The trail surface is sand with some gravel. Well-drained soil makes this a perfect place for mountain biking. Even after heavy rains, the area does not experience the usual muddy conditions. Picnic tables are available at some of the scenic lookouts throughout the area. The possibilities are endless. A day’s mountain bike ride would cover only a fraction of the trail system.

 

Trail Highlights:

Take the Blue Jog Trail from the Assembly Area out to the Confusion Flats Trail. The landscape changes dramatically, opening up to the sandy expanse of the flatlands

Herds of deer can often be spotted from the Twin Pines Trail.

Cross Otter Creek to the Blueberry Trail. A spur trail leads to Buck’s Place (Partridgeville Road), a restaurant where you can tie up your horse or bike and have lunch.

 

Other options:

Natural waterslide on Otter Creek, picnic on Burnt Creek, fishing at Payne Lake Recreation Area, Gleasmann Falls

Gleasmann Falls

For a change of pace, a foot trail, closed to bikes and horses, leads to Gleasmann Falls on the Independence River in the far northeastern section of the Otter Creek Trail Network. Beneath 75 ft. cliffs, the river drops 60 ft. over a series of cascades. The 2.9 mile, yellow-blazed trail takes you through meadows of raspberries and wildflowers and crosses Burnt Creek before heading into the Independence Wild Forest where it connects with other trails in the system.

 

More places to go mountain biking in the Adirondack Mountains.

 

Wildlife Note:

The trails take you through diverse habitats where you are likely to see white-tailed deer, bear, coyote, fox, grouse, wild turkey, snowshoe hare and a variety of bird life. Catspaw Lake and Pitcher Pond often have both resident and migratory wild fowl. If you are into fishing, then bring along your rod for some post-ride fishing at the following sites:

Otter, Little Otter, Beaver Meadow and Crooked Creeks: brook trout

Catspaw and Upper Chases Lake: chain pickerel, brown bullhead and pumpkinseeds

Pitcher Pond and Payne Lake: brook trout

Little Otter Lake: brown trout, brook trout, pumpkinseeds and brown bullheads

 

 

For more information:

NYS DEC
7327 St Rt 812
Lowville, NY 13367

Phone: (315) 376-3521
TTY: 711 (AT&T National Relay)
Website: New York State DEC

 

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