North Country Trails Archive

North Country Trails

More Trails

The St Lawrence County Planning Office maintains an online St Lawrence County Trail Guide.
State forest maps are available on the NYS DEC website.

Maps (pdf)


Azure Mountain
Bear Mountain
Cathedral Rock
Debar Mountain
Everton Falls
Four-Mile Road Loop Trail
Indian Creek Nature Center
Mt. Arab (updated July 2018)
Paul Smiths VIC
Peavine Swamp
Southville State Forest
The Pinnacle
Tooley Pond Road

Laurentian Chapter Top Six Trails

Stone Valley Trails The Stone Valley trail system includes trails on both sides of the Raquette River between Colton and Brown’s Bridge, St. Lawrence County (south of Potsdam), as well as trails on high ground east of Lennie Road that are famous for mountain biking. The Raquette loses considerable elevation in the Valley, sometimes in a raging torrent depending on water levels. The largest drop is over Colton Falls where the power company periodically releases water to enable exciting white water kayak demonstrations in summer. The trails are used for hiking and mountain biking from spring to fall and for snowshoeing in winter. Laurentian Chapter maintains these trails.
Distance 5 miles one way on each side of the river. 10 miles for a round trip.
Difficulty moderate to strenuous.
More information

Red Sandstone Trail The Red Sandstone trail runs between Hannawa Falls and Potsdam, St. Lawrence County. The northern loop, on Sugar Island, is level and easy, and includes a picnic area accessible from the water by canoe or kayak as well as by trail. The southern section follows the Raquette River, showcasing the power generation facilities and also the Parmeter Quarry where Potsdam Sandstone, famous as a building material, was produced. The trail is used by paddlers in summer, hikers and runners from spring to fall, and by snowshoers in winter. Laurentian Chapter maintains this trail.
Distance 1.6 miles between trail heads (3.2 miles RT). Sugar Island Loop 3 miles RT.
Difficulty Sugar Island easy. Southern section easy to moderate.
More information

Higley Flow State Park This park, in South Colton, St. Lawrence County, offers excellent options for outings in every season. It features a dense network of varied and interesting trails for hiking. Camping is available. The surrounding waters are well-known for paddling. In winter the campground roads along with the hiking trails are groomed and trackset, creating the best cross country skiing destination in the area. The new Higley Trail Lodge is the perfect place to warm up on winter outings. The park contains scaled-down examples of most of what we enjoy in the outdoors, and the Laurentian Chapter has used it as a training venue for many clinics, including cross country skiing, navigation by map and compass, and trip leadership. NY State day use fees apply Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Distance Many options to create trips from an hour or two to a whole day.
Difficulty Easy to moderate.
More information

Riverside Trail The Waterfront Trail This long-distance cycling trail in Ontario extends all the way from Lake Huron to the Quebec border, following the lakes and rivers of the provinces’ southern border. The portion east of Kingston follows the St. Lawrence River, and is a popular Laurentian Chapter destination. There are many options for constructing day trips. Two examples are the 1000 Islands Parkway and the Long Sault Parkway. There are many historic and cultural features including museums and conservation areas. Other nearby areas can be incorporated, including cycling on some large islands reachable by ferry. There is also excellent hiking and paddling nearby.
Distance trips of any length can be constructed.
Difficulty Excellent surface, little elevation gain. Wind can be a challenge at times.
More information

lampson Lampson Falls The DEC ranks this short hike to a tremendous waterfall on the Grasse River as the most popular outdoor destination in St. Lawrence County. Take county route 27 south out of Canton, heading towards Degrasse. After crossing the Pierrepont-Russell Road (County Route 24), it is 5.8 miles more. Watch for a large brown DEC sign on the right (west side) for the Grass River Wild Forest. Park on the roadside and walk down the gated logging road.
About .3 miles in, there will be a wide path to the left – this leads to the top of the falls. From there you can follow a trail that runs alongside the river down to the base of the falls, or return to where you turned off and continue a short distance on the logging road to where a trail signposted as “Handicapped Accessible” leads left. This end of the “Accessible” trail provides a limited view of the falls. By continuing (no longer “Accessible”) to the large pool at the base of the falls, you can find trails that continue left onto the rock ledges directly across from the falls, providing outstanding views. If you watch for trail markers, you can continue walking further downstream along the river.
There used to be a wooden bridge across the river and more trails, but the bridge washed out a number of years ago. Once you reach the concrete footings that mark the site of the old bridge, you can take the old logging road back to your car.
Distance To falls 1 mile RT. To old bridge site, 2 miles RT.
Difficulty easy.
Current trails (map at
Proposed trails

lampson The Cranberry Lake 50 This is a 50 mile trail that encircles Cranberry Lake, and includes hiking through some of the more remote areas of the Adirondack Park. Cranberry Lake itself is nearly 7,000 acres, and much of its shoreline is shared between the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest and the Five Ponds Wilderness Area.
When starting at the Rte. 3 trailhead 2 miles east of the hamlet of Cranberry Lake, the trail takes you past Brandy Brook Flow, Hedgehog Pond, East Inlet, Curtis Pond, Dog Pond and over to Chair Rock Flow. From there, the trail goes past South Flow, then by Spectacle Pond, Olmstead Pond, Cowhorn Pond, Cat Mountain Pond, and Glasby Pond. From there, the trial continues west and follows the Oswegatchie River, where a short side trip takes you to High Falls and another to High Rock. The trail then takes you into the hamlet of Wanakena. After a short walk through Wanakena, it follows the Peavine Swamp Trail and then a connector trail into Cranberry Lake hamlet. There are alternate trail entry points and side trips on this trail.
Distance The trail can be hiked in its entirety as a 2 to 4 day trip, or it can be hiked in sections as 3 to 4 day hikes. Sectional hikers often hire a water taxi at the marina in Cranberry Lake, to take them to Chair Rock Flow—one time to hike out east, and a second time to hike out west.
Difficulty Moderate to Strenuous
More information

Azure Mountain top

tom tom tom

The fire tower atop Azure Mountain has been restored by the Azure Mountain Friends, making this a popular 2 mile round trip hike. The elevation is only 2518 feet, but this little mountain offers fantastic views of the High Peaks region to the south and east. A volunteer fire tower interpreter is often on duty on weekends to answer questions about the tower and can help identify distant mountains. Great hike for kids, but it is steep and caution should be used on the open cliffs on the summit.

To get to Azure Mountain, take 11B out of Potsdam east to Nicholville, then turn south onto route 458. About 4 miles past St. Regis Falls – turn right onto the Blue Mountain Road. Continue about 7 miles on this well maintained dirt road and watch for the small sign and trailhead parking area on the right.

Bear Mountain top

(Updated March 2019) Bear Mountain, adjacent to Cranberry Lake Campground, makes a rewarding 3.8 mile loop with 700 feet of elevation gain that can be hiked in either direction. Going west on SH 3, the campground is clearly signposted on the left as you enter the hamlet of Cranberry Lake.

Parking is possible outside the campground entrance or at the main traihead in the campground. Parking at the trailhead requires paying a day-use fee and reduces the trip to 3.4 miles. If you’re hiking in the campground’s off-season and you find the gate open, then it’s a good idea to check before driving through that the gate will still be open and unlocked at the end of your hike.

From the entrance gate, follow the campground road a few hundred yards. About 100 yards past the beach, the main trailhead is on the left. There is one marked junction several hundred yards up the trail; bear right. It is an easy to moderate climb to the summit, passing a lean-to en route. Near the summit there is a large open rocky area but no views. About 1/2 mile farther there is a spectacular viewpoint over Cranberry Lake. The trail then descends steeply to near lake level and returns to the campground, entering on the last loop near campsite 133. Walk the campground road to pass the first trailhead and reach the entrance gate.

To hike the trail counterclockwise, continue walking on the campground road past the first trailhead and continue to the end of the last loop to find the trailhead near campsite 133.

Bear Mountain can also be reached from the Burntbridge Pond trailhead, a snowmobile/hiking trail starting from the south side of NY 3 approximately 2 miles east of Cranberry lake. It is a 9.6 mile round trip to the summit via this route.

Cathedral Rock top

(Updated March 2019) Cathedral Rock is located on the campus of the SUNY ESF Ranger School in Wankena, NY. It is best known as the location of the fire tower that was formerly situated on Tooley Pond Mountain, and was moved to this location. Entering Wanakena from SH 3, you will reach an intersection with Ranger School Road; turn left. At the entrance to the Ranger School campus, turn left at a fork. Athletic fields will be on your left and houses to the right. There is a large parking lot. Begin the hike at the gate of Arboretum Road.

About 30 yards up the road there is a prominent trailhead to the right, signposted for the Latham Trail. Follow this trail, marked with trail number “10” markers, all the way to the summit and the fire tower. You will cross four gravel roads en route. The tower has been well restored and maintained and is safe to climb for a fine view of the surrounding area.

The Ranger School campus has a dense network of trails as well as woods roads. The map shown (an image of a Ranger School map current as of fall 2018) gives an idea of what’s available.

Debar Mountain top

This is a well-marked, 7.4 mile hike with a steep, rocky section at the end, but most of the trail is gentle inclines on old logging roads. There are nice views from the 3,300’ rocky summit that once had a fire tower.

The trail can be reached by going to the Meacham Lake State Campground located on route 30. When the campground is open there will be a small day-use fee. The trailhead is near campsite 48 with parking available in an old gravel pit. You can get to the Meacham Lake State Campground by going to St. Regis Falls (route 11B east to route 458 south) and from there taking the Red Tavern Road east to route 30, then turn right or south and watch for signs. Or take route 458 south on through Santa Clara and then another 11 miles to the intersection with route 30. Turn left, or north and watch for campground signs.

Everton Falls top

Everton Falls This is a short Nature Conservancy hiking trail to Everton Falls. on the left side of the road, just beyond the parking area, but it may be difficult to find.

Driving into the community of St. Regis Falls (take 11B east out of Potsdam, then right onto route 458) from the west, turn left at the flashing red light, then right onto the road directly across from the old school. This isthe Red Tavern or Duane Road. Follow the road for 7 miles and you will get glimpses of the east branch of the St. Regis River on the right (south) side. At the point where the river is very close to the road you will be able to look upstream and see waterfalls. A short distance farther, across from an old dirt road (the Everton Road) is the trailhead. You can park in a lot built for paddlers, just a little bit past the Everton Road. The trailhead is on the left side of the road, just beyond the parking area, but it may be difficult to find.

Four-Mile Road Loop Trail top

ski This is a nice road to ski and moose tracks were seen there last winter!

Follow the directions to get to Azure Mountain, but only go about 4 miles in on the Blue Mountain Road. Watch for a yellow gated road to the left. You could park there and hike the old logging road, which will loop around and in about 3 miles come out to the Blue Mountain Road at another spot. Or drive another mile to a large brown DEC sign marking access to the St. Regis River. Park in the lot provided and walk in on the old logging road. Bear to the left at the Y and it will loop around and come back out to the Blue Mountain Road at the above-mentioned yellow gate. Walk the road back to your vehicle. (When skiing you want to start at the yellow gate.)

Note: due to regulations related to the Santa Clara Tract Easement, this trail is closed to the public during big game season for deer.

Indian Creek Nature Center top

This is an excellent bird watching site, with a 4.5 mile network of trails, located in the Upper and Lower Lakes State Wildlife Management Area between Canton and Ogdensburg. The nature trail system includes an observation tower and a birdblind overlooking the refuge, as well as a boardwalk trail that is accessible to people with disabilities. There is a picnic pavilion, learning center and restroom facilities.

Drive northwest on route 68 from Canton about 4.9 miles and turn left onto route 14 (there is a sign to Rennselaer Falls). Proceed about 3.9 miles to a parking area turn off on the left and watch for signs.

Mount Arab top

A restored fire tower sits on the summit of Mount Arab, a 2 mile round trip hike that is relatively easy. There are limited views from the open cliffs, but a full 360 degree view from the cab of the tower.

Take route 56 south out of Potsdam until it meets route 3 at Sevey’s Corners. Turn left (east) onto route 3 and continue for 10.4 miles. Watch for a right hand turn towards Conifer. Follow the Conifer Road 1.8 miles south and take a left onto Eagle Crag Road. In .9 mile you will reach the trailhead (on left) and parking area (on right), just after crossing an old railroad bed.

The Friends of Mt. Arab are restoring the fire tower and lookout’s cabin. There is a summit steward on hand during the summer months.

Paul Smith's College Visitor Information Center top

Paul Smiths Paul Smiths

Just an hour from Potsdam, the Visitors Interpretive Center is a real treasure, offering over 7 miles of easy hiking trails and wildlife observation areas, as well as informative displays and restrooms. Several of the trails are handicapped accessible and many are great for cross-country skiing in winter. There is a boardwalk trail through a bog and also an 8.2 mile round trip climb up Jenkins Mountain.

Head out of Potsdam on 11B; turn south in Nicholville onto route 458 and stay on it until it ends at route 30. Turn right on route 30 and continue south – watch for signs after passing Barnum Pond and just before you come to Paul Smiths College.

For more information, visit, email, or call 518-327-6241.

Peavine Swamp Trail top

Peavine Swamp

This trail system between Cranberry Lake and Wanakena consists of a main trail and three loops through stands of old-growth timber, some with over 42 inch diameters. It is probably best known as a winter trail but is also a fine hiking trail.

Download map (courtesy NYS DEC)

The northern trailhead is approximately 1.2 miles past the bridge over the Oswegatchie River, west of Cranberry Lake on Rt. 3. Just past a DOT parking area on the right (north side of the road) there will be a dirt road on the left which leads to the trailhead parking area. The southern trailhead is near the Ranger School in Wanakena. From the parking lot in front of the School, follow the shoreline going away from the entrance road and the trailhead will be near where the shoreline leaves the roadway.

Many options are possible, including end-to-end trips using a car shuttle. A favorite trip is to start at the Ranger School and ski or snowshoe the first loop with a pause at the lean-to. Distance depends on choice of route; the whole system is about 10.7 miles. Mostly the grades are gentle but there are hills in places that can be a challenge on skis. Winter ground conditions are extemely variable and we’ve found this trail to be adaptable to skis, snowshoes, or microspikes depending on conditions.

Southville State Forest top

River Hill Trail

This trail is good for hiking and cross-country skiing. It’s about 2.3 miles total and can be done as a loop. Part of the trail drops down and follows alongside the river.

From Potsdam take Route 11B about 5 miles, cross the west branch of the St. Regis River, and take the first left onto the Southville-West Stockholm Road. Continue about a mile or so and watch for signs on the left.

The Pinnacle (updated July, 2018) top

This small mountain near Santa Clara provides a feel of the higher mountains with a minimum of both on-trail effort and driving distance. It is especially good as a winter destination, when the access road is closed to cars and suitable for skiing or snowshoeing. If skiing the road it is best to carry snowshoes for the trail portion.

Take 11B out of Potsdam and turn south onto route 458 in Nicholville. Continue past St. Regis Falls and about 1/4 mile after crossing the bridge over the St. Regis River in Santa Clara watch for a dirt road to the left with a large brown DEC sign. Park at the gate and begin. At 1.0 miles, turn left at a junction. At 2.0 miles, the road ends at a parking lot and a trail begins. It climbs 1/2 mile at a moderate rate to the summit, where there is a picnic table and a good overlook. Total length is 5 miles RT, 500 feet of elevation gain.

From late spring to mid fall, the gravel road leading to the trailhead is open to cars. By driving the road it becomes a 1 mile RT hike with 500 feet of elevation gain and very suitable for young children. The trail is closed during hunting season in the fall for safety reasons.

Tooley Pond Road top

Waterfalls & Tooley Pond Mountain

Take county route 27 south out of Canton all the way to the village of DeGrasse and watch for a left (east) turn onto the Tooley Pond Road. The road follows a 16 mile stretch of the Grass River and there are at least 6 waterfalls, some visible from the road. The following distances are approximate and are all from the Degrasse turn off.

Basford Falls, 1.3 miles. This is a .6 mile round trip hike. Look on the right (south) side of the road for 2 steel posts with a large rock between them, marking an old woods road. Follow this old road to the falls.

Sinclair Falls, 1.9 miles. A .2 mile round trip. Turn right onto the Lake George Road and park on the right just before a bridge over the river. The top of the falls are visible from the bridge and there are some paths that lead down to the river. Go back to the Tooley Pond Road to continue.

Twin Falls, 2.8 miles. The nearer side of Twin Falls is clearly visible beside the road. It used to be easy to walk out a short road for a clear view of the far side of the Falls, but that entrance is now private property. It is possible to bushwhack a couple of hundred yards to a viewpoint while staying off the private land.

Bulkhead Falls, 3.3 miles. Watch for an old woods road marked with a “no motorized vehicles” sign, on the right (south) side of the road. It is blocked with 2 large rocks. Park and follow the old road .1 miles to the river to see this pretty flume that drops about 10 feet.

Rainbow Falls, 5.9 miles. A small clearing with several large boulders blocking vehicle access on the right (south) side of the road is where the .6 mile round trip trail begins. Follow this well worn trail across a footbridge over a small stream, and then a short distance farther to the river where several overlooks give you a good view of the spectacular 25 foot falls.

Copper Rock Falls, 8.5 miles from route 27 – and .8 of a mile past the bridge where the Grass River crosses over to the north side of the road. Watch for a large pine tree on the left (north) side of the road marked with a red/orange blaze. Park and walk in, watching for more blazes. This is a 1.4 mile round trip and very easy to follow, reaching the river in .15 miles. It runs along the river, heading upstream, past several rapids, ledges, and waterfalls over the smooth coppery colored bare rocks.

The parking area and trail up Tooley Pond Mountain are about 10.2 miles in on the Tooley Pond Road. There are signs for both the parking lot and the trailhead. Tooley Pond Mountain is less than 2 miles, round trip, and an easy climb with limited views. It can be done as a loop. There once was a fire tower on the summit, but it was removed and rebuilt on the grounds of the Ranger School at Wanakena (the location is known as Cathedral Rock).

North Country Trails Archive