Lake George

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

Sunday, November 30, 2014

XC Ski - Cronin's Golf Resort & ESF Pack Demonstration Forest - 11/29/14

1st XC ski day of the season!  Although we got our snow on Thanksgiving eve, Saturday was our first chance to pull the skis out.  I looked back at my notes from 2013 and found last year's first day on skies was 12/13. It's great to have an earlier start this year.  Leesa and I both had some time in the morning so we headed over to Cronin's Golf Resort in Warrensburg, and the adjacent Warren County Nordic Ski trail system.

This area gets a lot of use, but we beat the crowds by getting out on the trails by 8:30.  The trails had all been broken out from the previous two days, but the snow was still soft perfect for skiing.  The temperature was in the mid to upper 20's and was expected to stay that way all day.

We started by doing a loop around the golf course, which is about 2 miles.  Our dog Rev was more than happy to be out in the snow.  It was a nice blue sky day and it was nice to be out on skis again.
Golf courses are always great.  You don't have to worry about whether or not there are rocks, roots or sticks under the snow.  You can practice your technique, or just be out enjoying the day.  We enjoy Cronin's;  plus it gave us a chance to see the Hudson River while skiing.       


Frost on the grass 

Leesa enjoyed the snow and sunshine

The Hudson River flows alongside the golf course 

Moon Mountain in the background

Hickory Mountain Ski Area in the background 

After we completed the golf course loop we went into the adjacent Warren County Nordic trail system.  While the trails are pretty, there was just barely enough snow in the woods to ski without worry of scratching the bottoms of the skis up.


The Hudson River already had ice forming on it

We skied these trails, but they could use some more snow

Trail map for the Warren County Nordic trail system

After the Warren County trails, we went back to the car.  Eight cars had already arrived after we did.  It was still early, but we had to head home for some mid-day errands.

By 2 PM, I was done with my errands and went back out to check out an area I had not been to before; the Pack Demonstration Forest in Warrensburg.  The entrance to the forest is 1/4 mile north of the intersection of Route 9 and Route 28.  I started, however, on the west side of the forest at the intersection of Golf Course Road and Route 28.  I went in at the gate at that location.

There are many jeep roads in the forest.  All are very skiable and very pleasant.  I skied into Pack Forest Lake, then did a clockwise loop around the lake.  I really liked the fact that there were lots of gentle grades that were easy to climb, yet provided nice downhill glides on the return.  This forest would be a great place for novices to practice gliding on small grades without fear of gaining too much speed.

Jeep Road of left, Pack Demonstration Lake on the right 

Easy skiing here

An accessible fishing dock 

One of the buildings in the camp complex  

At the NE end of the lake, I veered left to ski up Ben Wood Mountain.  This route was steeper, (climbing roughly 350 feet in 1/2 mile).  I had great fun skiing back down, but this should be considered an intermediate level trail.  The only problem I had was that this route barely had enough snow and I hit a couple rocks on the way down.  A couple more inches of snow will cure this.

Back on the lake loop I continued clockwise.  At the NE corner of the lake, I intersected with Pack Demonstration Road.  This road had not been plowed, but it had been driven on by trucks.  I skied in the median between the truck tracks.  ( Edit - I later received a comment that the road on the east side of the lake is part of a snowmobile route.  I've indicated the snowmobile route with blue dots on the map at the bottom of this post). 

It was just after 4 PM as I skied south on the east side of the lake.  I picked up the pace so I would be able to get back to the car before dark.  I hadn't brought a headlamp with me since I hadn't expected the trail system to be as large as it is.

Nearing sunset at the Pack Demonstration Lake

After looping around the south side of the lake, I reconnected with my tracks from the west.  I climbed the small hill heading west away from the lake, then enjoyed a nice long gentle glide back to the car.

I was excited to find this area, and I'll be back soon to explore it further.  I'm sure Leesa will like it as well.  The jeep roads had more snow cover than the woods and provided enough snow at this time for some nice skiing.

Sign on Route 9, just north of Route 28

Morning Ski Stats at Cronin's Golf Resort & Warren County Trails
Ski Distance:  3 mile loop
Ski Time:  1.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 50' 

Cronin's Golf Resort & Warren County Ski Trails

Afternoon Ski Stats - Pack Demonstration Forest:
My Ski Distance:  6.9 miles
Ski Time:  2 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 500'

Pack Forest - My ski route in red.  Blue dots indicate snowmobile route.


  1. They do plow the jeep road you have pictured at Pack Forest. At least they did last winter. It became a go-to spot for us to get out and walk with our old, arthritic dog once the snow got too deep for him. There are still plenty of trails to ski and snowshoe, though. One other note is that the main parking area also serves as access to the snowmobile trail system, so if peace and solitude are what you're after, you might be disappointed.

    1. Thanks for the info. Is the whole trail network open to snowmobiles, or just a portion of it? The trails would be ideal for snowmobiles, but I didn't get the impression that I was on a snowmobile route.

  2. It's definitely not the whole system, but according to this map I found, it looks like the trail up Ben Woods Mt is: It's the 2012 map, but I don't expect there's been much change. Until looking at the map just now, I had assumed people just used the parking lot to access the main line that runs between Chestertown and Warrensburg. We saw trailers in the lot, and heard machines in the distance, but never actually encountered any.

  3. Thanks again. I'll modify my post to include your information. It looks like the entire portion of the forest west of Pack Forest Lake is off limits to snowmobiles (except for Ben Wood Mountain). That still gives xc skiers lots of terrain to cover. Good news!

  4. Glad to help! It's nice to be able to offer a tiny sliver of information in return for all the information and ideas I've gleaned from your blog over the years. If you happen to see a couple with a big old black dog walking the road at Pack Forest this winter, be sure to say hello!