Group unveils North Creek-Indian Lake hiking-whitewater loop

Trip is first of 59 by Adirondack Hamlets to Huts

(Images provided)

SPECULATOR — A five-night, four-day hiking and whitewater rafting circuit from North Creek to Indian Lake and back is scheduled to be given a test run as early as May.

Project director Jack Drury, of Saranac Lake, predicts a “soft opening” in summer or autumn and a “grand opening” in spring of 2019.

The ability to move this route off the drawing board to implementation comes in large part from the award of a nearly $220,000 Adirondack Hamlets to Huts implementation project grant from the New York State Department of State.

The route is one of 59 included in the Adirondack Community-based Trails and Lodging System plan that has been developed over the past three years by Drury’s Leading E.D.G.E. firm. It was unveiled for public comment in mid-December during a public meeting at the Lake Pleasant Central School gymnasium.

According to Drury, “This route was number-one ranked in our Five Towns report of 2016. Most of the trails and a good portion of the lodging are in place, and the hiking, combined with the rafting through the Hudson River Gorge, makes this an awesome trip.”

The route is rated as a 2 (moderate) on a 1 to 4 difficulty scale used in the plan. On the first day of the trip, participants will hike westward from North Creek 8 miles to lodging near Thirteenth Lake and the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. During the second day, the route traverses the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area to the Chimney Mountain trailhead, another 8 miles. During the third day the hikers will cover 11 miles to reach Indian Lake, where they stay overnight before rafting 23 miles down the Hudson River, returning to North Creek on the fourth and final day.

According to the ACTLS announcement about the grant, “Hamilton County will implement the Adirondack Community-based Trails and Lodging System Plan by creating a lodging affiliate system, a hut-to-hut reservation system, and a marketing plan with website, social media search engine optimization and paid media. The goal for the project is to create, manage and promote a world-class Adirondack Hut-to-Hut system that advances sustainable communities, conservation and wellness.”

The 59 routes envisioned and proposed in the ACTLS plan are spread throughout the Adirondack Park with the intent of having all communities benefit from the increased tourist visitation driven by a world-class hut-to-hut system. The proposed routes travel through 11 of the 12 counties contained within the Blue Line. Seventy-seven percent of the trails and 47 percent of the lodging needed currently exist. According to its conceptualizers, if built as proposed, the AHH would be the largest hut-to-hut network in North America and would compete with any currently existing in the world.

The entire plan can be downloaded at