The Kettle Trail is an out and back cross-country ski trail built for equine use in the summer, but it doesn’t get much use then either. The other end of the trail will reach another access point along McColloms Road. The McColloms Road access is difficult for most cars to drive to, due to its poor conditions in areas. With that being said, The Kettle Trail can be skied to its end or can be skied in parts with just as much reward.
From the trailhead parking you will have to walk back to Route 30 and cross over to Slush Pond Road and ski down Slush Pond Road to the obscure unsigned trailhead on the right, about 0.5 miles down the road. From Slush Pond Road the trail starts out flat before starting a series of rolling hills. Along these rolling hills you will have the opportunity to overlook some kettle ponds, which will appear more like snow covered fields in winter. None of the kettle ponds you will see are right on the trail, you will need to make your way to them through the open forest, some could be skied to, others the terrain may be too thick and congested to have a decent ski down to.
The trail eventually meets up with an old woods road that follows along a property line. Once the trail meets the woods road, you will be on it until you reach McColloms Road. The field before the woods road is an excellent spot to turn around; the woods road to McColloms Road is a nice ski, but much less interesting...
Elevation Gain/Loss to Destination:
~50 feet of gain and loss in route to McColloms Road
Approximate Time, Round Trip:
Family with Kids: Up to 6 hours
Experienced Skier: Up to 4 hours
Out of Shape/Beginner Skier: Up to 5 hours
Distance Round Trip:
From the intersection of Route 30 and Route 3 in Tupper Lake follow Route 3/30 toward Saranac Lake. Once Route 3 and Route 30 split take a left and follow Route 30 toward Fish Creeks. Stay on Route 30 and pass through Lake Clear and Paul Smiths. Roughly 3.8 miles past Paul Smiths College, locate Slush Pond Road on the left. Mountain Pond Road is directly across the road which is where you will need to park. Drive down Mountain Pond for 0.25 miles to the parking area.
Difficulty: 1=beginner, 5=advanced
One to Two: Mainly due to round-trip distance and not terrain and depending on how far you travel along the trail
Additional Important Information:
This trail gets limited use in winter, even though it makes an excellent ski, be aware the conditions may be less than favorable shortly after a snow storm.
Skiing over a frozen body of water is a cross-country skiing past time; it can access you to areas not seen by most in the summer. With that being said it is a dangerous activity to cross frozen water bodies and should be done with care and respect for your environment. Know the ice conditions and be prepared for anything including heavy winds, snow drifts, whiteouts, slushy conditions, and thin ice.