Scenic and remote, Massawepie Mire contains the largest bog in New York State. The trail through the mire is an old railroad bed that is now a dirt road. A birder can hike on perfectly level terrain for many miles through enchanting boreal forest, bogs, mixed forest, and marsh areas near brooks and rivers.
How to Get There
From the intersection of Routes 3 and 30 in Tupper Lake (by Stewarts convenience store), follow Route 3 west for 11.5 miles to the Massawepie Boy Scout sign on the left. If traveling from the west on Route 3, the Massawepie Boy Scout sign is 5.8 miles past the intersection of Routes 3 and 56. Turn onto Massawepie Road and travel approximately 4.8 miles on this dirt road to a 4-way intersection. (This road can be quite rough in the spring.) Turn right at the intersection. In two-tenths of a mile, a “Y” intersection is reached. Go right and immediately park in the dirt area on the right. The old railroad grade is ahead around a metal gate. New York State has an easement on this road, but all the land and dirt roads surrounding it are private.
The dirt road trail is level and goes on for 5 miles. The trail starts in a forest recently logged, then transitions to mixed forest. After about a third of a mile, the habitat transitions to boreal forest and then an immense bog. The South Branch of the Grass River is reached after a mile and a half. Across the river, the habitat becomes boreal forest again. There is another bog on the left and wet areas as the hike continues. Silver Brook is reached at just under 3 miles. Continuing toward the Grass River Flow, there is more boreal habitat and mixed forest.
Birds of Interest
Massawepie Mire is one of the most popular birding destinations in the Adirondacks. Between the long drive in and the trail itself, there are many diverse habitat areas, including lakes, ponds, deciduous, mixed, and boreal forests, forests growing back from logging, bogs, marshes, brooks, and rivers. Eighteen warbler species breed in this area including Northern Waterthrush, Mourning, Palm, and Canada Warblers. Other boreal species include the increasingly rare Spruce Grouse, Common Loon, Black-backed Woodpecker, Merlin, Olive-sided, Yellow-bellied, and Alder Flycatchers, Philadelphia Vireo, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Evening Grosbeak.
Bicycles can be used on the dirt road trail.
Massawepie Mire is open to birders throughout the summer. The Boy Scout property is closed to the public from June 16 to August 31. Take great care in driving through the Boy Scout area on the drive in to Massawepie Mire during those dates.
Massawepie Road is only plowed for about 1.5 miles. The rest of the road is groomed for snowmobiles. It would be necessary to cross country ski the road for 3 miles to reach the trail through the mire (which is also groomed for snowmobiles). There is no official parking area for skiers yet, but there are plans to create one.