Moose Pond: Northern Boreas Ponds

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Moose Pond’s colorful leaves this time of year are part of the appeal. Photo by Tim Rowland

A place to walk or paddle between Lake Saranac, Bloomingdale’s

By Tim Rowland

It might be melodramatic to call Moose Pond the northern Boreas ponds, but the 140-acre pool has a beautiful curtain of peaks showcasing its blue waters nestled comfortably among low hills, much like its southern cousin.

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Located between the village of Saranac Lake and the hamlet of Bloomingdale’s, it’s also one of those rare “one if by land two if by sea” recreational opportunities, allowing you to launch your boat from the north or take a hike from the west.

Having done both in the past two weeks, I have found each to have its charms. A 2.5 mile paddle can be completed in just over an hour, although there are certainly more opportunities to explore or beach the canoe to sit for a spell on numerous rocky outcrops on the west bank.

But, especially in the fall, hiking might be the best option due to the beauty of the trail.

This is perhaps the easiest trail over a mile in the Adirondacks, although it doesn’t draw the crowds that its limited degree of difficulty and wonderful payoff might suggest.

Esther, Whiteface and the McKenzie Range frame Moose Pond.
Esther, Whiteface and the McKenzie Range frame Moose Pond. Photo by Tim Rowland

On the most resplendent fall afternoon yet, we only saw a small handful of people on the trail – this on a day when we counted 55 cars along the Cobble Lookout trail, a previously “undiscovered” trail of about the same length and similar rewards a few miles east of Wilmington.

The boat launch can be accessed from Saranac Lake by taking Route 3 to Bloomingdale’s, turning right onto River Road. Moose Pond Road is 1.5 miles from the bend and marked with a DEC sign on the right.

The hiking trail can be accessed by taking Route 3 north of Saranac Lake, four miles from its intersection with Route 86. There are no signs, and only a farm road down to the Saranac River to get you know you’ve arrived. At the end of the lane is the official trailhead, but it’s just as easy to park at a wide stop on Route 3 and walk the tenth of a mile to the river.

After crossing a bridge over the Saranac, the trail plunges into a dark tunnel of balsam and striped maple before entering a higher canopy of evergreens and hardwoods, where the sun shining through the colorful leaves looks like light streaming through the stained glass window of a cathedral hall. .

This is honestly an easy trail – it follows the route of a route to a planned resort that never took off – without the typical Adirondack caveats and qualifications of, “This is a really easy trail , except for this 30 foot ravine that you have to climb out of using grappling hooks.

No, you’re good the whole way, only noticeable elevation change at the lake itself.

2 km from the highway, the path splits, offering a great opportunity for a small loop. Keep left and in a few tenths there is an obvious road up from the lake. The road leads to the site of an old camp of which the foundations and the chimney remain.

The edge of Moose Pond lake includes an old chimney - and a mystery.
The shore of Moose Pond Lake includes an old chimney – and a mystery. Photo by Tim Rowland

You will immediately notice that a large boulder sticks out of the ground in front of the fire pit at a height above the level of the fire pit. Whether the chimney sank, the rock rose, or the owners of the lodge thought it would be cool to have a massive rock sticking out of the ground, I can’t say. But it’s an interesting puzzle.

From here, a slab of rock faces the lake, with mesmerizing views of the McKenzie Range, Whiteface, Esther, and a host of lower hills, all adorned with fall colors and dark evergreens. It’s a scene that can go along with most others in the park and is accessible to those whose joints tend to limit climbing mobility.

Instead of turning back, we came back on a herd path along the shore. You’ll be treated to partial views of the mountains along the way until you come to another prominent rock outcrop where we didn’t see anyone, but did see a trail of deliberately put aside clothing littering the top of the mountain. a ledge.

And I’m not talking about a jacket or a fleece, I’m talking about the whole set, including coats, boots, socks, pants, shirts to the point where even if they had worn so much diapers than a Martha Stewart wedding cake, they must have been pretty close to base camp, if you know what I mean.

We didn’t spend as much time at this second lookout as we did at the first.

The herd’s path at this point returns to the main trail, which it rejoins at the aforementioned junction. From the shore, this path can be a bit tricky to find, which is an argument for doing the described loop counter-clockwise instead of the way we walked it.

Either way, you’ll have plenty of time to take a leisurely stroll down to the lake, picnic and explore the shoreline and some of its past developments and campsites in the space of a late morning or of an early afternoon. Which is good, because it’s an adventure you won’t want to rush.

Key statistics

  • Distance: 3 km round trip
  • Elevation gain: 206 feet
  • Time: 2 hours of relaxation

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