Great Camp Santanoni is built on the shoreline of Newcomb Lake and has been restored and stabilized as a living museum in the wilderness and is interpreted for its architectural and social history
Great Camp Santanoni
5 miles (10 miles round trip)
Camp Santanoni Historic Area
Newcomb, Essex County
Hiking, Mountainbiking, Cross-Country Skiing
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Hike to Break Camp Santanoni
Great Camp Santanoni is at the end of a 5-mile dirt road in the Town of Newcomb in Essex County. The Great Camp is part of the Camp Santanoni Historic Area in the public Forest Preserve. This road is accessible year-round by foot, bicycle, Nordic skis, and even horse-drawn carriage, depending on the time of year. The trailhead is on Newcomb Lake road. The Great Camp is set on the shoreline of Newcomb Lake and has been restored and stabilized as a living museum in the wilderness and is interpreted for its architectural and social history.
The road that leads to Great Camp Santanoni is about 5 miles long. It climbs steadily for the first half and goes downhill for the second, making for an entertaining bike ride or ski. After 0.5 miles in the road passes through the building complex of the outer farm. The farm was a working farm 100 years ago and was connected to the Great Camp.
A Living Museum in a Wilderness Setting
The next two miles rise slowly over a ridge. The dirt road is wide and in good shape. The surrounding forest is mature, mostly hardwood with some enormous trees alongside the road. There is a closed forest canopy over the road. The last two miles to the Great Camp is a long, winding downhill that crosses an open meadow on the left and a bridge that provides the first big view of Newcomb Lake.
Great Camp Santanoni is a collection of buildings that include the main lodge, artists camp, boathouse, among other buildings. Interpretive signs are arranged throughout to educate the public about the history of the site. Newcomb Lake is an extraordinary and beautiful waterbody with a lean-to and campsites and trail.
Overall this camp offers a fun and historically interesting day trip for anyone who can traverse the access road.
When You Hike Make Sure to Practice “Leave No Trace” to be Prepared and to Protect the Forest Preserve
Please follow “carry in, carry out” rules for all trash and follow 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: The road to Great Camp Santanoni is popular for cross-country skiing in the winter.
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