Spring Road Walks Archive

Spring Road Walks

Spring road walks are a nice way to get out and enjoy the season minus the messy trails that still have ice and patches of deep snow along with the mud. Staying off the foot trails help protect them and the fragile spring vegetation beginning to sprout. Learn more about Leave No Trace principles.

The nice thing about road walks is 3-4 people can walk abreast, making conversation easier than walking single file on a dirt path. In early Spring, the trees and shrubs have not leafed out yet offering clearer views into the forests and features along the way. Plus, you can enjoy the beauty of our natural areas before the flying pests emerge.

A good Spring road walk is on a dirt road, with little to no traffic, and that also has cool stuff to see like beaver ponds, streams, varied forests, and interesting geological features. We have been exploring many roads in Saint Lawrence County and found some worth reporting. Most walks described below are out and back.

Dirt roads that are plowed tend to clear quickly in the Spring. Some of the descriptions below may include roads and side road options that haven’t been plowed and may still be snowy and icy, so proper footwear (micro-spikes or snowshoes) may be needed in the early months.

Many of these road walks are adjacent to forests where hunting is permitted, so caution is advised during hunting seasons. It is worth noting that turkey season begins on May 1st.

Maps and Apps

Google Maps links are included with the descriptions below to help locate the roads.

DEC GeoPDF maps are included with the descriptions below when available. They can be used with the Avenza app to help track your progress along your walk. You can only have 3 imported GeoPDF maps such as the DEC GeoPDFs in the free version of Avenza and have them be “interactive” in the app. Subsequently imported maps will not be “interactive”, however you can delete previously imported maps to make the new map imports “interactive.” There are also free USGS topographical maps you can download from within the Avenza store with no limits on interactive ability.

TrailForks is an app used by many mountain bikers and is useful when mountain bike trails aren’t included on other maps or apps. Several of our road walks have mountain bike trails nearby that are worth exploring.

Road Walks

French Hill Road, Colton
High Flats State Forest, Parishville
Cemetery Road, South Colton
Walter Pratt Memorial Forest, Brasher
Orebed Creek State Forest, Degrasse
Carry Falls Road, South Colton

French Hill Road, Colton top

From Chapel Hill Rd to Crowly Rd and Seven Springs
2.4 miles (4.8 RT), elevation gain 485 feet.
Google Maps
DEC website (High Flats State Forest)
DEC High Flats Bike Trail (not GeoPDF)

Start at the intersection of Chapel Hill Rd and Perkins Rd where there is an open water wetland worth admiring. Walk up French Hill Road which is tree lined and well protected from the wind. It is a pretty rough road with a steep incline midway, but passes streams and other features, and has lots of rural charm. It descends to a paved road (Rodwell Mill Rd on the right) and a picturesque farmhouse on the left. Continue straight and take the first left, Crowley Rd., which is more open and windier. Crowley Rd. ends at Seven Springs which is an abandoned ski slope on Clarkson University property. There are open grassy areas, many bike trails and old dirt roads to explore at Seven Springs. (4/2/22)

High Flats State Forest, Colton top

Donovan Drive from French Hill Road
1.1 miles one way (2.2 mile RT), elevation gain of ~300ft.
Google Maps
DEC website
DEC High Flats Bike Trail (not GeoPDF)

Donovan Drive is a gated seasonal road partly lined with old stone walls with forests on both sides. There is a mountain bike trail on the left at about .4 miles, and a beaver pond on the right at about .5 miles. A few easy hills about midway will help get your heart pumping. Further along (at ~.8 miles) there is a side ATV trail that goes to Close Pond and is worth exploring on your way back. Continue straight on Donovan Drive. There are more mountain bike trails to the left, and an old stone foundation worth a look. The road seems to end in a grassy clearing. Straight and to the right are additional ATV trails worth exploring if you want to add additional miles.

Back at the first ATV trail encountered at ~.8 miles, you can extend your walk by an additional .7 miles (1.4 miles RT) with a visit to Close pond. A short way down the woods path you will pass an ATV trail on the left. Continue straight, and you will soon come to a fork in the trail. Take the right fork and walk another half mile or so to see glimpses of the fairly large beaver pond which is the feeder to O’Malley brook (see DEC map). (4/11/22)

Cemetery Road, South Colton top

off Joe Indian Road
0.9 miles one way (1.8 miles RT), no elevation gain.
Google Maps

This is an easy walk to an old cemetery and a former Girl Scout camp (Whispering Pines). The road is tree-lined and passes marshes and open water. At about .4 miles is a gated side road on the left which we didn’t investigate as it was still icy, but it would be worth exploring later in the season. The road ends at the Blake cemetery which is small but has some very lovely headstones. There is a path along the left side of the cemetery for a short walk to a beach overlooking the Blake reservoir. Across from the cemetery are vestiges of roads and trails of the old Girl Scout Camp but no buildings or other structures. (4/5/22)

Walter Pratt Memorial Forest (WPMF), Brasher top

Brasher-Bombay State Forest
1.2 miles one way (2.4 miles RT), no elevation gain.
Google Map
DEC website
DEC PDF Map (WPMF is marked by the picnic table and primitive camping icons)

Park at the entrance to the forest off Rt. 55, 1.5 miles north of North Lawrence. It is the first right after the W. Cotter and E. Cotter Road intersection. There is a brown wooden sign holder, but no sign before camping season, so it is easy to miss. This is a popular spot with locals, so it would be best to visit before camping opens up mid-May. The park has established pine and spruce forests planted by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The road passes through the camping area, past a dam and a manmade pond. This is the more interesting area of the walk and worth spending some time exploring. At 1.2 miles the road ends at a T-intersection. If you were planning a shorter 2.4 RT walk, turn around and walk back to where you parked. For a longer walk, turn right on Old Keenan Road, which soon turns left. There is a gated ATV trail to the side of the clearing and a new bridge over Redwater brook. We didn’t explore the ATV trail beyond the bridge, but it looks like it continues, and might fun to explore further. (4/15/22)

Orebed Creek State Forest, Degrasse top

~2 miles one way (4 miles RT). Elevation gain ~140 ft.
Google Map
DEC website

Park at the intersection of RT 27 and Ritz Road for a 4-mile RT walk. For a shorter excursion, drive down Ritz Road about .7 miles, and park at the gate just a few yards before the bridge over Orebed Creek. The road passes forests and wetlands, ending at a turnaround .7 miles from Orebed Creek. Straight ahead is a private driveway. Turn left and follow an ATV trail (not on the DEC map) less than .5 miles to a pine plantation planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937. There are glimpses of wetlands through the trees at the end of the trail. (4/16/22)

Carry Falls Road, South Colton top

Carry Falls Road to the State Boat Ramp
1.7 miles one way (3.5 miles RT), elevation gain 335 ft.
Google Map

At the intersection of Stark Road and Carry Falls Road there is a Brookfield road sign for the “Carry Falls Site.” Park at the beginning of Carry Falls Road. It is about 1.5 miles to the State Boat launch. Along the way you will encounter a few rolling hills, pass a few wetland areas, and enjoy nice glimpses of the reservoir through the trees. There is a picnic site at the boat launch and an amazing split rock. Take a side trip to explore the dam and canoe carry. Beyond the boat ramp, Carry Falls Road narrows a bit, but is a lovely forest walk, and would add an extra 2 miles RT to your walk. It ends at a turn-around and a gated logging road. (4/22/22)

Spring Road Walks Archive