Ferd’s Bog is a 0.6-mile round-trip hike to a beautiful open bog

Ferd’s Bog
0.3 miles (0.6 miles round trip)
Raquette Lake, Hamilton County
Central Adirondacks
Hiking, Birdwatching

 

Ferd’s Bog is a 50-acre wetland and boreal forest nestled on the south edge of the Pigeon Lake Wilderness Area, just west of the hamlet of Raquette Lake. The trail is entirely on public Forest Preserve. The trail starts out winding through a short span of hardwood and pine forest before reaching the first section of a narrow strip of a raised boardwalk that extends into the magnificent and diverse bog. Reached by a quick 0.3-mile trail, this hike allows people to experience a unique ecosystem that is very different from other Adirondack hikes to mountaintops or remote lakes. Ferd’s Bog is a popular destination for birders.

 

The parking lot and trailhead are on Uncas Road, which can be accessed from the west from State Route 28, a few miles north of downtown Inlet. From the east end, the Uncas Road can be picked up in the hamlet of Raquette Lake. Uncas Road is a largely gravel and dirt road, with paved asphalt areas at each end. The Ferds’s Bog parking area and trailhead are several miles from each end on the north side of the road.

 

 

The trail begins at the trail register and descends through a deciduous forest. The route is well-marked by yellow trail markers, but hikers should be careful not to follow any of the side trails that lead off to the surrounding private property. The trail levels out in a forest of tall white pines, balsam and spruce before squeezing through a thin passage. When the trail emerges, the wide-open bog is in sight beyond the small tamarack and balsam sprouting on the trailside.

 

The trail at this point is covered with pine needles, but soon gives way to a sturdy plastic boardwalk. Trees thin out and the flat bog mat spreads all around. Built in 1998, the boardwalk is relatively short, stretching about five hundred feet into the wetland, but there is much to explore over this distance. Intricate peat mosses and small wetland grasses and shrubs weave a complex carpet alongside the boardwalk. The vibrant pink of bog laurel and the delicate white of Labrador tea flowers dot the wetland shrubs.

By definition, a bog’s primary or only source of water is rain, but hikers will notice the shimmer of Eagle Creek as it runs off to the left of the path through the open wetland. In the distance, the ridge of Cascade Mountain traps in the wetlands and the surrounding forests. Large white pines along the edge of the bog appear permanently frozen in sway, shaped over time by prevailing west winds. These winds send waves through the sea of wetland grasses that are broken by the dark red of pitcher plants and other wetland flowers.

 

The boardwalk ends at a wide viewing platform that provides an expansive, open view of the bog. The platform provides the perfect spot to sit down with a book, lunch, or a pair of binoculars to watch rare boreal birds that skim the tips of the wetland plants. Birds are numerous and often seen perched in any of the decaying cedar and larch trees on the open mat of the bog.

The route out follows the same path back to the parking area.

Click here to download a map and trail directions for Ferd’s Bog.

Help Protect the Forest Preserve and Be Prepared When You Hike: Please follow “carry in, carry out” rules for all trash and follow all other Leave No Trace principles when hiking in the public Forest Preserve and other wild areas. The seven Leave No Trace principles are: 1) Plan ahead and prepare ; 2) Stay on hiking trails and camp at designated areas; 3) Dispose of human waste and trash properly; 4) Leave what you find; 5) Minimize campfires; 6) Respect wildlife; 7) Respect other hikers.

Educated hikers do not damage the environment. Prepared hikers do not need search and rescue unless injured.

Winter Use: Ferd’s Bog is difficult to reach in the winter. The Uncas Road is a popular snowmobile trail. It is unplowed and closed to all other motor vehicles.