The trail to Deer Pond from Route 3 gets a lot of attention, but this route is just as fine, as a one-way to Deer Pond or as a longer hike to Lead Pond. The trail has a remote feel while never being very far from the road.
From the intersection of Route 30 and Route 3 in Tupper Lake, follow Route 3/30 toward Saranac Lake. Continue to where Route 30 and Route 3 split and follow Route 30. Continue for just under 1-mile to the trailhead on the left.
By the numbers
- Distance: 9.2 Miles, round trip
- Elevation gain/loss: ~200 feet to the height-of-land
Once through the DEC gate start your hike along an old woods road through an attractive Adirondack forest. This initial 0.75 miles is rather flat. After 0.75 miles you come to the Deer Pond Trail from Route 3, take a right onto this trail. Aside from some occasional rolling hill you can enjoy an easy hike. As you near the pond a short climb will bring you to a shoulder of a small knoll before coming to a trail intersection with Lead Pond on your right at about 2.5 miles from the trailhead. Follow the Lead Pond Trail to get you best views of Deer Pond.
The trail continues to Lead Pond, and while from here on out it gets much less use, it is a very attractive hike. You will move around to the north side of Deer Pond before finally progressing away and climbing over a small hogback before accessing Lead Pond. An old trail used to access the pond from the Fish Creek State Campground, but it is, at this point unmaintained and not recommended to use, even if it can be found.