Monday, June 18, 2012

Mountain Biking - Fish Pond Truck Trail

I was up at my parents' lakehouse last weekend (well, I guess I should just start calling it their "house" because they're up there full time now), and I wanted to check out a new mountain bike spot. The New York State DEC has a bunch of Google Earth maps that are really useful, and the "Mountain Bike Trails" map contains something called the Fish Pond Truck Trail. I must have passed the entrance to this place 1,000 times on the way to my parents' place, but I never noticed the truck tracks going into the woods near the road to the Saranac Inn. Here's the route I took:

"Truck trails" in the Adirondacks vary from trails that a truck could actually navigate, to tight twisting singletrack that disappears intermittently. So I didn't really know what to expect from the trail.  I rode about 5 miles from the house to the trailhead, and dove in.

It was definitely a truck trail.

I came to Rat Pond first, not a bad little spot for a break.  I'm in training mode for SSUSA, though, so I didn't stop for too long.

I crossed the railroad between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake on the way. Once again, I would love for this stretch to be converted into a rail trail. It would be so nice to be able to ride to all of these places on a mellow trail instead of a busy road with a tiny shoulder.

I was surprised to see the entrance to the truck trail proper had an actual gate. And even a registry: 

The trail continued on as a pretty mellow doubletrack (and sometimes tripletrack):

I was a little worried about the stream crossings, thinking they'd be wet or washed out, but they were great - nice grass over sturdy bridges.

There's a big (300') climb in the middle that has a lot of false tops (so it's pretty demoralizing). It was pretty difficult on the single speed.  Then there's a shorter (200') climb further down the trail that seemed a little easier. Really good for strength building - great for training. The trail eventually ends in a cul de sac.  

At Fish Pond:

I've paddled here before, and I remembered there were two lean-tos. Here's one of them:

View from the inside. Lots of litter (sad).

On the way back, I could have taken this other trail and checked out St. Regis Lake, but I had to get back because it was definitely time to drink beer on a boat. Overall, I got about 20 miles of riding in, a lot of good training for SSUSA, and a new route to ride near the house.  While the trail isn't technical at all (I barely even used my brakes), it's good for beginners, families, or anyone wanting to get a good morning spin in before an afternoon on the lake.


  1. Great piece...there are trails everywhere, even in your own backyard! Sorry to hear about the litter in the lean-to, sometimes I feel like there is too much trash in my own garbage can, but when you leave it behind, throw it out your car window, drop it where ever you stand...shame on you. Taking care of your own trash is the first thing we should teach our children, and fining those who don't should be right up there with texting while driving and all the other dumbass things people do.

  2. That's one of my favorite corners of the Adks. Haven't biked into Fish Pond but I've paddled Fish many of the other nearby ponds. The truck trail also makes a good early season cross-country ski outing - doesn't take much snow to make it skiable.

  3. Beautiful place. I love the foliage and the trail. Here in Texas we don't have scenic trails quite like that, so this definitely makes me jealous.