Numerous crystal-clear ponds, vistas resulting from rock outcrops and severe fires, and intriguing geographic names such as Grizzle Ocean, Thunderbolt Mountain, Oxshoe Pond and Desolate Brook, make this one of the most appealing Adirondack areas.
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness
A Stunning Forest Preserve in the Southern Adirondacks
The 46,283-acre Pharaoh Lake Wilderness straddles the Essex-Warren County line in the towns of Ticonderoga, Hague, Horicon and Schroon NY. The county road along the east shore of Schroon Lake forms the western boundary; to the north, private land and Route 74 form the boundary. The state land boundary forms most of the remaining perimeter except for a stretch of Route 8 on the south.
Pharaoh Lake, an extremely attractive body of water, is one of the largest lakes in the Adirondack Park totally surrounded by forest preserve lands. Due to its configuration, it can provide a wilderness experience to relatively large numbers of people.
Fires have burned over most of the region in the past. As a result of this and the dry sites, much of the tree growth is coniferous with some white birch mixed in. The white pine-white birch type along the shores of several of the lakes and ponds adds immeasurably to their attractiveness. Stands of some of the best quality Adirondack hardwoods exist in the covelike pockets of the unburned area in the northeast.
Pharaoh Mountain is the largest in the wilderness area, although the smaller hills have very steep sides and cliffs, presenting more of an impression of relief than actually exists. There are a total of 48 miles of foot trails, 14 lean-tos and 39 bodies of water. See Pharaoh Lake Trail for a nice mostly flat hike into see Pharaoh Lake.
To hike the mountain, take 1-87 to Exit 28. At the exit ramp, turn right onto Route 74, then immediately turn right again onto Route 9. Follow Route 9 for about half a mile before turning left onto Alder Meadow Road. After 2 miles, the road will fork; turn left onto Crane Pond Road. This access road eventually connects with the Pharaoh Mountain Trail, and there are two parking areas, depending on how close to the trailhead your vehicle is able to drive. To be on the safe side, you may want to hike from the first parking area to the trail head.