High Falls Loop Winter Trek
Winter Overview and Trail Conditions:
From the trailhead you will be on a very flat hike with Skate Creek on your left, this section of trail is part of an old railroad grade, so its terrain is very flat. You cross over Skate Creek a couple times with no issues and enter an attractive hardwood forest before a wide tributary of the Oswegatchie River open up the terrain again to your right.
The flat trail continues and eventually you will come to an area where you can see the Oswegatchie River off in the distance through the trees. High Rock comes soon after with an outstanding overlook above the river. The trail continues along keeping the river to your right and not ever too far away. About 4.5 miles from High Rock you will come to the Five Ponds Trail and Bridge to your right, pass this by and continue to the left. Staying flat and after a couple more creek crossings you will come to the side trail to High Falls. High Falls is 0.4 miles away. This is about the half-way point and an excellent spot to spend the night. Stay in the lean-to which should be open or pitch a tent for a bit of added warmth.
The following day you will ski back out to Wanakena by heading right at the previous intersection. From here you will have a slight climb and then snowshoe along the base of Threemile Mountain. Just under 4-miles from camp you will come to a side trip up Cat Mountain, which is highly worth it if you have the time and energy.
Continue on a flat course with a couple light sections of downhill and pass by the side trail to Janacks Landing. This is also an excellent place to camp if you wanted to make it a two night outing. From here the trail stays very flat with only a slight change in elevation. You will come out about 0.5 miles from your car, a bit further up South Shore Road. Walk the roadside back to your car.
Distance Round Trip:
18.0 miles, Loop
Approximate Time Round Trip:
Families with Kids: Not recommended as a full loop, partial sections from either end are good for a day trip.
Experienced Snowshoers: Usually done a two day, overnight excursion
Out of Shape Snowshoers: Not recommended as a full loop, partial sections from either end are good for a day trip.
From the intersection of Route 3 and Route 30 in the Village of Tupper Lake follow Route 3 toward Cranberry Lake. Follow Route 3 for 33.4 miles to CR61 (Wanakena Road) on the left. Follow here and stay straight on the main road to South Shore Road. Follow South Shore Road for around 0.25 miles to the trailhead parking on the right. You will have to walk back up the road for a couple hundred feet to the road on the left and walk this to its end, which is about 0.1 miles.