Siamese Ponds is a 12 mile round trip, moderate to difficult hike along a river and reaching Lower Siamese Pond
6 miles (12 miles round trip)
Siamese Ponds Wilderness
Johnsburg, Warren County
Level of Difficulty: Challenging
Hike to Siamese Ponds
The 6-mile Siamese Ponds trail is one of the only officially marked trails in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness. The trailhead is off of Route 8, south of Bakers Mills, in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County. The Siamese Ponds is one of the most remote areas in the Adirondack Park.
Signs mark the parking area for 11th Mountain, but the trail leads from there to Siamese Ponds. There is no officially marked trail up 11th Mountain, so there is no concern at the trailhead about where to go to reach Siamese Ponds. The trail is marked with blue trail markers. From the parking area, it is close to six miles to the Siamese Ponds, but the hiking is not terribly difficult overall, with long flat sections and no intense climbing. The trail follows the Sacandaga River until a crossing, where it turns towards the ponds for the final stretch. Much of the elevation gain along the trail is at the start, before the river, and at the end in the climb up to the ponds.
The trail begins out of the back corner of the 11th Mountain Parking area. The first section of the trail climbs up and over a small ridge. After coming down off the ridge, the trail flattens out, leading through some brushy wetland areas with tall grass. At the first of these areas there are the remains of a small bridge, which is currently out, over a stream. It is perfectly possible to cross the stream without the bridge, but this could be a barrier for some. After this crossing, there seems to be a web of trails through the grass, but they all lead to the same place on the other side where the trail is once again clearly marked and worn. Soon after this, hikers will begin to see the Sacandaga River to the left through the trees.
The trail follows close to the river for the next few miles, continuing straight as the river winds back and forth, sometimes close to the trail and sometimes out of sight. Eventually, the trail reaches an intersection, just past a campsite and at the site of a lean-to to the right of the trail. A bridge, old and a bit bouncy, with bends in the railings, leads over the river. The blue trail that hikers have followed up until this point stops at the river. On the other side of the river yellow trail marker line the trail that leads to Siamese Ponds. At the trail junction there are no signs, so make a note to turn left towards the ponds.
After the bridge, the trail continues for just over two more miles. Initially, it continues in the same northwest direction as the trail leading up to this point, but less than a mile in it takes a sharp left turn towards the ponds. This area is once again uphill, with some rocky sections that are difficult to walk. At the very end of the trail, it declines to the level of the ponds, passes by a nice campsite, and finally reaches a lookout to Lower Siamese Pond. Upper Siamese Pond is not accessible from the official trail, so to reach it requires a long bushwhack.
Overall, this is a long, challenging hike that is accessible for anyone who can comfortably walk the full 12 miles. The walk along the river in the middle section of the trail is beautiful, and the campsites and lean-to near the river make for a good stopping point overnight.
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 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: The Siamese Ponds trail is used for cross-country skiing in the winter.
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