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April 1, 2021

Take A Hike!

David Katz

A year ago, our hiking worlds suddenly shrank to include only places we could comfortably visit without stopping anywhere en route. Our ambitious summer travel plans were abruptly put on permanent hold. But we still needed to get outside, walk, and paddle, perhaps even more so than before. There are, of course, lots of hiking and paddling opportunities inside the blue line. But what about closer to home? What about all of those 50 or more state forests and other green patches on county maps in the St Lawrence valley outside the blue line?

Anne and I started exploring these local destinations last spring. By early summer, we had visited 15 or 20 state forests plus a few other publicly-owned lands. Some had accumulated a few piles of junk, but most were pristine. Some were crowded with hikers and other outdoor revelers, but in most places we walked for 2 or 3 hours without encountering another human being.

Here are a few of our favorite state forests. Each one offers walks of 2 to 4-ish miles that take 1 to 3 hours. For maps, visit the DEC website and search for them by name.


Orebed Creek State Forest

Taylor Creek SF and Glenmeal SF, Pierrepont

There are 2 old gravel roads that enter Taylor Creek State Forest from the Selleck Road. The entrance east of the Crary Road is generally high and dry. The entrance west of Crary Rd takes you through a couple of muddy spots and eventually goes underwater in an old beaver pond. The beaver pond is now a heron rookery and featured lots of heron activity last spring.

If the weather has been dry enough, you can follow the road across the beaver pond and allows you to continue some distance farther south. Extra credit for finding the abandoned building site and stone-lined well.

While you’re in the neighborhood, it’s worth a visit to Glenmeal State Forest. Stop at the entrance on County Route 24, and enjoy a couple of miles of easy walking on footpaths and an old logging road.

High Flats SF, Parishville

The gravel Donovan Road makes a great early-Spring road walk before it is open to motor vehicles, but there’s no traffic even after the gates are open. The road passes a large beaver pond which was home to at least one otter last spring. Two foot-trails and several mountain bike trails branch off from the road. Take the first foot trail to the right for a woods walk to the very scenic Close Pond.

Orebed Creek SF, Russell

If you want a long uphill walk for some exercise, park about 0.2 miles along the Ritz Road where the state land starts on the left. Walk uphill about a mile, almost to the end of the road, and take the path to the left down to Orebed Creek and explore the shoreline. If you’re experienced with off-trail walking, you can follow Orebed Creek downstream to where it passes under the Ritz Road and then follow the road back to your car.

If you don’t want the long uphill road walk, and you’re experienced walking off-trail, and the water levels aren’t too high, you can park about 0.6 miles farther along the Ritz Road where it crosses Orebed Creek. Follow Orebed Creek upstream on either bank until you reach the giant beaver meadow, cross the stream, and follow it back downstream to your car. If you haven’t had enough, continue to follow Orebed Creek downstream to the state forest boundary and then back upstream to your car.


Southville State Forest

Lonesome Bay SF, Hammond

This one is a road walk on the gravel Alamogan Road, unless you decide to bushwhack. It’s worth it - when we visited in late April last year, every imaginable wildflower was in bloom, right along the roadside, and there was no other car or pedestrian traffic. There is a beaver pond maybe half way along on the left that would make a good lunch spot if the bugs aren’t too bad. Note that, although the road goes all the way to Lonesome Bay on Black Lake, there is no legal access to the water at normal water levels.

Southville SF, Stockholm

For a visit to the West Branch St Regis River, park at either entrance to the Southville State Forest trails on the West Stockholm – Southville Road. If you can tolerate the trash heaps along the upper parts of the trails, the reward is worth it. Continue along the trail down to the river and enjoy a half-mile walk along the river bank. It’s also worth exploring the rock foundation walls off the short spur trail at the west end of the trail system.

These walks are a small sampling of what’s available in our backyards. For other ideas, both in St Lawrence County and in nearby parts of Ontario, visit the Laurentian Chapter’s Loony Loop Challenge page. Or consider joining one of the 24 local trips this spring on our Outings page.

It’s a welcome relief that we can again travel farther afield and visit places that were unreachable last year. But for those days when you don’t have the time or inclination for a long trip, it’s worth remembering that you can get into the woods or out on the water within a 20-minute drive of almost everywhere in St Lawrence County.

News Archive

Nov 28, 2021: 2021 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Oct 18, 2021: 2021 Chapter Elections

Oct 1, 2021: Trail Registers for the 21st Century

Oct 1, 2021: Laurentian Chapter to Celbrate 50 Years

Sep 9, 2021: 2021 Photo Contest Announced

Apr 1, 2021: Take A Hike!

Dec 10, 2020: 2020 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Oct 26, 2020: Members Choice - 2020 Photo Contest

Oct 15, 2020: 2020 Chapter Elections

Jul 3, 2020: Laurentians Receive Award

Apr 1, 2020: Third Annual Cycle Outing

Apr 1, 2020: Mud Season Hiking

Apr 1, 2020: 2020 Photo Contest Announced

Jan 1, 2020: Ski Trails Groomed and Waiting

Jan 1, 2020: Red Sandstone Trail Maintenance

Nov 16, 2019: 2019 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Oct 2, 2019: Annual Meeting

Oct 1, 2019: Trail Markers

Oct 1, 2019: Electronic Distribution of the North Wind

Jul 1, 2019: National Trails Day 2019

Apr 1, 2019: Red Sandstone Trail Volunteers Needed

Apr 1, 2019: Recreation Management Plans

Apr 1, 2019: Chapter Member Writes Trails Book

Apr 1, 2019: 2019 Photo Contest Announced

Jan 3, 2019: Invasive Forest Pest Meeting

Jan 1, 2019: Second ADK Cycle Outing

Jan 1, 2019: Outside The High Peaks Region

Dec 6, 2018: Fran Yardley To Speak

Nov 12, 2018: 2018 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 6, 2018: Trail Maintenance Weekend 2018

Oct 1, 2018: First ADK Cycle Outing

Jul 1, 2018: SUNY Potsdam Educational Affiliate Program

Jun 22, 2018: 2018 Photo Contest Announced

Jun 18, 2018: September Acadia Outing

Apr 5, 2018: Military Exercises In Northern Adirondacks

Apr 1, 2018: Who Are Our Members

Apr 1, 2018: Happy Birthday Azure Mountain Fire Tower

Apr 1, 2018: Chapter Representation on Advisory Committees

Jan 5, 2018: E-Letter Editor Wanted

Jan 1, 2018: Paul Jamieson and the Jamieson Fund

Nov 19, 2017: 2017 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 1, 2017: 2017 Trail Maintenance Weekend

Oct 1, 2017: Trailwork by ADK

Oct 1, 2017: Bylaws Review

Jul 1, 2017: North Country Cycling Guide

May 31, 2017: Marie Fernandez de Alaiza Completes 46

Apr 1, 2017: Great Lakes Water Levels

Mar 15, 2017: Extended New Brunswick Outing Proposed

Jan 1, 2017: Boreas Ponds

Jan 1, 2017: 2017 Photo Contest Announced

Dec 2, 2016: Camp Colby Scholarships Available

Nov 29, 2016: Winter 2017 Outdoors-Indoors Schedule Announced

Nov 21, 2016: Wilderness Thru-hiking to Wilderness Advocacy

Nov 16, 2016: 2016 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Oct 1, 2016: Membership Survey Preliminary Results

Oct 1, 2016: John Omohundro Passes The Torch

Sep 8, 2016: 2017 Extended Outings Proposed

Apr 1, 2016: Solarize

Mar 29, 2016: 2016 Photo Contest Announced

Mar 17, 2016: Teen Trail Project Scholarships Available

Jan 6, 2016: Perry Yaw Commemorative Quilt

Dec 2, 2015: Trail Work Day Attracts Huge Turnout

Dec 2, 2015: Outdoors-Indoors Schedule Announced

Dec 1, 2015: 2015 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Sep 17, 2015: RRAC Explained

Sep 17, 2015: Oswegatchie Blueway Open Houses Scheduled

Jul 1, 2015: Perry H Yaw Jr

Jul 1, 2015: Ididaride Annual Biking Event

May 5, 2015: SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education Mountain-A-Thon Training Exercise

Apr 1, 2015: Spring

Apr 1, 2015: Educational Affiliate Program Expands

Jan 1, 2015: Call for Distinguished Volunteer Nominations

Jan 1, 2015: 2015 Photo Contest Opens

Nov 27, 2014: 2014 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 27, 2014: 2014 Photo Contest Winners Announced - Copy

Nov 17, 2014: St Lawrence Flatlands UMP Hearing

Oct 1, 2014: Chapter Offers Outing Leadership Training Course

Jul 1, 2014: Jean Hardy, 1926-2014

Jul 1, 2014: ADK and Trails

Apr 14, 2014: 2014 Member Nature Poetry

Apr 4, 2014: Stone Valley Management Plan Finalized

Apr 1, 2014: Educational Affiliate Program Gathers Momentum

Mar 24, 2014: North Country National Scenic Trail

Dec 30, 2013: Stone Valley Management Plan Review

Dec 6, 2013: 2014 Photo Contest Opens

Nov 12, 2013: 2013 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Oct 1, 2013: Spring Outing Retrospective

Sep 6, 2013: Finch Pruyn-Essex Chain Action Alert

Aug 22, 2013: Ragnar Relay Race

Jul 1, 2013: New Trails for Stone Valley

Jun 27, 2013: North Country Trails Membership

Jun 19, 2013: Spring Outing A Great Success

Apr 2, 2013: Laurentian Loon Shirts

Apr 1, 2013: Brian Baston, 46r

Dec 21, 2012: New Chapter Officers Elected

Dec 6, 2012: 2013 Photo Contest Opens

Nov 27, 2012: 2012 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Jul 17, 2012: Raquette River Documentary

Apr 1, 2012: Acadia Trip Sept 2012

Jan 21, 2012: Stone Valley Trail Maintenance A Mammoth Undertaking

Jan 1, 2012: 2012 Photo Contest Announced

Nov 19, 2011: Peter Blood and Toni Towle Finish the 46

Nov 19, 2011: Moose Talk At Fall Potluck (1)

Nov 16, 2011: 2011 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 9, 2011: Sherman Craig Nominated To APA

Oct 16, 2011: Mt Arab Vandalised

Oct 1, 2011: GPS Group Forming

Jul 23, 2011: Allegany State Park Action Alert

Jul 2, 2011: Stone Valley Trail Report

Jul 2, 2011: Red Sandstone Trail Report

Jul 2, 2011: Friends of Higley Flow Capital Campaign

Jul 1, 2011: JBL Seeks All-Season Hosts

Apr 29, 2011: JBL Seeks Volunteer Hosts

Apr 1, 2011: Outings Announced

Feb 25, 2011: 2011 Fall Outing

Feb 4, 2011: Tug Hill Winter Outing

Dec 9, 2010: 2010 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 21, 2010: Omohundro Whalen Distinguished Volunteers

Sep 22, 2010: Nominees Announced

Sep 22, 2010: Fall Potluck to Feature Permaculture Talk

Sep 22, 2010: Bylaw Changes Proposed

Sep 15, 2010: Dogs on Chapter Trips

Aug 16, 2010: Raquette River Information Center Opens

Jul 27, 2010: Raquette River Information Center To Open

Jun 2, 2010: Sacred Tools Exhibit

May 26, 2010: Plants of St Lawrence County

Apr 13, 2010: Chapter Basket Donations Needed

Mar 23, 2010: Second Annual Photo Contest Announced

Mar 22, 2010: Laurentians Invited To Colorado

Mar 21, 2010: Spring Potluck To Feature Northern Canoe Route

Jan 1, 2010: Calling Kids For Camp Colby

Nov 8, 2009: 2009 Photo Contest Results

Oct 1, 2009: Brian Mann To Address Annual Meeting

Oct 1, 2009: Archivist Needed

Jul 1, 2009: Raquette River Awareness Week

May 23, 2009: Tom Wheeler Elected 46ers President

Apr 30, 2009: Cutters Receive Award

Mar 31, 2009: Spring Potluck

Mar 30, 2009: Photo Contest

Mar 29, 2009: Hospitality Coordinator Needed

Mar 21, 2009: Gloria Daly Completes Winter 46

Mar 16, 2009: Lyle Montgomery Completes Winter 46

Dec 23, 2008: Chapter to Sponsor Campers at Camp Colby

Nov 2, 2008: Anna Gerhard-Arnold Recognized

Oct 1, 2008: Roy Horst to Speak at Fall Potluck

Sep 13, 2008: Tom Wheeler Receives Award

Aug 3, 2008: SLC EMC hosts NYS Conference on Environment

Jun 10, 2008: Lows Lake Floatplanes Action Alert

Mar 22, 2008: Winter On The Red Sandstone Trail

Mar 15, 2008: Nancy LaBaff Completes Winter 46

Mar 1, 2008: Environmental Protection Fund Being Raided

Feb 15, 2008: Red Sandstone Trailworker Tshirt

Nov 28, 2007: Hearings on National Scenic Trail

Nov 26, 2007: Laurentian Chapter To Sponsor Campers

Nov 11, 2007: Annual Meeting Highlights

Sep 27, 2007: Clarence and Paul

Sep 26, 2007: Neil Woodworth To Visit

Sep 25, 2007: Red Sandstone Trail Report

Jul 1, 2007: Legislature Passes EPF Enhancement Act

Mar 22, 2007: Call for Adirondack Stories

Mar 17, 2007: Mud Season Potluck Features Stuart Mesinger

Jan 25, 2007: Chapter Endorses Grace Peak Proposal

Jan 15, 2007: Public Comment Requested

Jan 1, 2007: Paddle The Rideau

Jan 1, 2007: Calling Kids For Camp Colby

Nov 28, 2006: Dick Mooers Named Distinguished Volunteer

Oct 2, 2006: Laurentian Chapter Hosts 2006 Fall Outing

Sep 1, 2006: Update on SLC ATV Trail Plan

Aug 30, 2006: Teens Complete Stone Valley Trail Work

Aug 28, 2006: Stone Valley - A Community Resource

Aug 28, 2006: Keeping Stone Valley Trails Open

Aug 25, 2006: White Hill Draft UMP Released

Aug 25, 2006: ATV Plan Comment Period

Jul 1, 2006: Raquette Boreal Forest Plan Moves Forward

Jun 6, 2006: Piercefield Dam Whitewater Release

Apr 21, 2006: Natural History Museum Seeks Volunteers

Apr 2, 2006: Peter OShea Addresses ADK

Mar 29, 2006: Laurentian Chapter To Host Fall Outing

Feb 28, 2006: High School Trails Program Seeks Participants

Jan 4, 2006: Chapter at Remington Gala

Dec 16, 2005: Camp Colby Youth Summer Camp

Dec 1, 2005: Paddlers Rights

Nov 12, 2005: Higley Flow Leanto Dedicated

Nov 6, 2005: Sandy Hildreth and Eileen Wheeler Honored

Oct 16, 2005: Stone Valley Trail Maintenance

Oct 4, 2005: Laurentian Chapter Hosts 2006 Fall Outing

Oct 3, 2005: Annual Meeting November 6

Oct 2, 2005: Friends of Mt Arab Seeks Volunteers

Sep 12, 2005: Proposed Bylaws

Aug 25, 2005: Musings On The Word Laurentian

Aug 25, 2005: Higley Flow Leanto

Aug 25, 2005: An Adirondack Diet

Aug 20, 2005: Bear Canisters

Aug 15, 2005: Firetowers

Aug 10, 2005: Executive Director Visits

Aug 5, 2005: National Trails Day

Aug 1, 2005: New Publicity Coordinator