One of the things I have done as I've hiked in the Adirondacks is to highlight trails on my maps after I've hiked them. Sometimes when I'm choosing a new hike, I pull out these maps and look to see what trails I haven't hiked yet. That was the case on this snowy Saturday. I didn't want to drive too far and I looked to see what was close by that I hadn't done.
The Springhill Ponds trail lies at the eastern end of the Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness. The trailhead is at a small parking lot on West Hague Road. Leesa and I chose to hike this trail, knowing that with the snow coming down, we wouldn't have any visibility. In fact, the weather was almost identical to my hike the previous weekend to Catamount Mountain in the Lake George Wild Forest.
This trail shares a trailhead with the Berrymill Pond Trail. At approximately 1/4 mile the two trails split with the Springhill Pond trail going left and the Berrymill Pond trail going right. Soon afterwards, the Springhill Pond trail begins a relatively gradual 800 foot climb.
This trail is ski-able for an intermediate level skier. There were a couple trees down that a skier would have to go around, otherwise the trail is fine.
After the 800' climb, the trail follows the southern ridge of Ellis Mountain. Along this ridge, we were exposed to some wind which quickly blew snow into our tracks after we passed through. Although the ridge held some sparse conifers, most of this trail goes through hardwood forest.
The trail at various points follows an old woods road and signs redirect hikers at two different locations.
We reached the water's edge to find a snow covered canoe. The pond of course was covered by snow and ice. We did not walk out onto the ice, but stood and took a few pictures. It's hard to envision what this pond would look like in the summer when seen covered in white. Still, it's nice to get out for a walk on a snowy day.
|A zoom view of the far side of the pond|
|Part of the old woods road followed for part of the this hike|
Hike Distance: 6 miles
Hike Time: 3 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 1300 feet
|The Springhill Pond Trail|
|Springhill Pond Trail on the National Geographic map|