Backpack to Cedar Lakes Lean-to #2 in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness

Rate this Adventure 5.3 miles 705 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Erin Hanczyk

If you are looking for a shorter backpacking trip that provides the opportunity to camp in one of the most remote locations of the Adirondack Park, this could be it.

Know before you go! It’s a bumpy road in and a bumpy road out so be sure your vehicle is ready to handle a long, winding dirt and rocky road back to the trail head. The road is approximately 7 miles to the trailhead starting on Jessup River Road off of State Route 30 in Speculator, NY. Follow Jessup River Road for 4 miles before keeping left onto Old Military Road. Pay attention to intersections along this dirt road network, trail-like road signs will point you in the right direction.  Keep your eyes peeled, this is moose country!

Immerse yourself in beautifully forested trails leading to a chain of serene lakes surrounded by nothing but the sounds of nature and views of the Adirondack Mountains.

This trip is 5.3 miles one-way. Parking is located at the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead, at the end of Old Military Road in the Perkins Clearing Easement Tract. Begin on the French Louie Trail for 1.6 miles, gaining 400 feet in elevation, to the connection with Cedar Lakes Trail.

Cedar Lakes Trail extends another 2.7 miles to the intersection with the Northville Placid Trail (NPT). This is a rolling trail, dropping 80 feet in the first .75 miles before climbing 305 feet in elevation and then dropping again right before the NPT intersection.

Follow the trail south over the bridge to begin hiking along the shore of Cedar Lake. There are three lean-tos along the shore. Lean-to #2 is located 1 mile from the trail intersection.

Lean-to #2 is perched up on a bank overlooking Cedar Lake, perfectly situated to catch the sunrise in the morning. An outhouse is located nearby up a spur trail. Once you arrive, head down to the lake for a refreshing dip and take in the sights. Remember, lean-to camping is exposed camping. Do not set up tents inside lean-tos.

Practice Leave No Trace

  1. Always have a bear canister- Keep all food, toiletries, and trash locked in your bear canister when not in use. Overnight, place your bear canister upside down behind a tree at least 150ft from the lean-to.
  2. Use the Cooking Triangle- cook all meals at least 100ft from your lean-to to keep scents away from where you are sleeping. Keep all remaining food waste in a trash bag locked in your bear canister. Scatter waste water across the forest floor to break up the scent of the remaining food waste.
  3. Keep campfires to a minimum- Only use fire pits provided to minimize campfire impacts. Use only down and dead wood. Do not cut live trees. Keep your fire small and under control and do not burn trash. Be sure your fire is completely out before bed to prevent the spread of wildfires.
  4. Sign in at all trailheads, leave your itinerary with family or friends, and know the emergency forest ranger dispatch number.
  5. Always carry out what you carry in!
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