Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hoffman Notch Trail - 9/22/12

The Hoffman Notch Wilderness in the Towns of Schroon, Minerva and North Hudson NY doesn't offer a lot of marked hiking trails, but the trail from Blue Ridge Road in North Hudson to Hoffman Notch is spectacular.  We took the afternoon to follow the trail south along Hoffman Notch Brook (which flows northward) until the brook veered away from the trail towards a couple un-named ponds south of Hornet Cobbles.  At that point, our goal was to bushwhack to the pond shown on the map in Hornet Notch (see map below).

Pictures of small of the new foot bridges!
If we had stayed on the Hoffman Notch trail, it extends 7.4 miles to Loch Muller. Approximately halfway through its' 7.4 mile journey to Loch Muller is a pond known as Big Marsh. South of Big Marsh, the trail follows the north branch of Trout Brook. In any case, our destination was the unknown pond.

Just before Hoffman Notch Brook reaches Blue Ridge Road it intersects with Sand Pond Brook. Beavers have flooded out the area thereby placing a small section of the trail under water. Fortunately trail crews have begun working on this trail in recent months and have put in at least 6 new foot bridges over the Hoffman Notch Brook between Big Marsh and Blue Ridge Road.

Hopefully they will address the flooded beaver area soon, but it's nice to see the progress. The crew has also done some work on the trail itself in addition to the brook crossings.

Hoffman Notch Brook has lots of inviting cascades

We made our way across the flooded beaver areas and then enjoyed the trail along the brook until it came time for our bushwhack.  It took us about an hour to reach the location where we turned off the trail.  The forest was a mix of hardwoods and pines at that location and not too difficult to navigate.  Unfortunately, Leesa stepped on a hornets nest in the ground shortly after our bushwhack began and she was rewarded with 5 bee stings.

A track tread relic and a reminder of earlier days in the Notch

After 20-30 minutes we reached our destination just as a light rain was beginning to fall.  It was nice to see a pond that very few people trek in to see.   I'm guessing that probably less than 25-50 people see this pond in any given year.

Rev took a couple swims but she's high and dry here

We didn't linger, as the weather was going downhill.  We also didn't know how much the bee stings were going to bother Leesa.  She claims she doesn't ever remember being stung by a bee as an adult.  I can't imagine that.  I get stung every year.

We retraced our route back out and just before we reached the flooded area again we saw a group of three people on there way in to do some rock climbing.   I was kind of surprised by that since it was already 4 PM.  They weren't carrying any gear to stay overnight. 

Our end destination... an un-named pond just SW of Hornet Cobbles

I'll be returning to this are to check on the progress of the trail crew in making a crossing over the beaver flood zone.  Once that area is easily crossed, it will be an enjoyable trip for anyone to hike south into the notch.

Leesa making her way across a beaver flooded Sand Pond Brook 

The trailhead at Blue Ridge Road

Our route shown in blue (click to enlarge)

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  8 miles
Hike Time:  5.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  800'


  1. Have you bushwhacked up the Hornet Cobbles? I wonder if there are any views there.

    Also, I wonder where those guys were heading to climb. I wasn't aware of any rock climbing in that area.

    1. I have not, but I'll get there. I'm guessing there are no views. It looks pretty thick.

      The climbers were a guy with his wife and sister. They may have been doing a scramble and not a technical climb. They didn't appear to have any climbing gear with them, and your right, I don't know of any climbing there either.

  2. Thanks for the awesome intro to the Blue Ridge Road entrance. Any new info on the beaver flooded area?

    1. I just passe through there today en route to Washburn Ridge. The area is still flooded, but you should be able to make your may through there. Some people have laid some branches down to help with the crossing. Grab a stick to give yourself some balance if you don't have trekking poles with you.