Sunday, March 29, 2015

XC Ski - New Land Trust - Saranac, NY - 3/29/15

Leesa and I pulled the cross country skis out for another late season ski outing today.  I had recently read about a place called New Land Trust that I had never heard of before.  It sounded promising, so we headed north this morning to take a look.  This is a wonderful place.  Be sure to add it to your list of places to visit!

Also on the agenda today was a climb of Averill Peak, but we chose to ski first before it got too warm.  The New Land Trust is located on Plumadore Road in the Town of Saranac, Clinton County. The area is a couple miles south of Chazy Lake and lies in the shadow of Lyon Mountain which is 2 miles NW.

As we drove north, the snow on the ground disappeared and even within a couple miles of the New Land Trust, there was no snow on the ground.  Fortunately, as the road began to climb towards our destination, the snow reappeared.  We pulled into the parking lot and found ourselves surrounded by nice snow cover.  There were 2 other cars in the parking lot, but we never saw anyone all day.

The New Land Trust (NLT) is a 501(c)3 non-profit that exists for the community and is supported by private donations.  The land parcel is 287 acres and 31 trails wind through the property.  Information and a nice trail map can be found on their website at    

Last night the temperature had dropped to -9 degrees, but it had warmed nicely to 30 degrees by the time we arrived.  I had glide wax in case the skis started to stick to the snow, but we had no problems.

Kiosk at the New Land Trust

The snow conditions were wonderful.  We studied the map at the kiosk and decided to take the 3 mile red trail which is an easy intermediate loop.  We went clockwise.  Immediately we arrived at the "236 Clubhouse" and signed in at the register.  I'm not sure what the 236 Cluhouse is currently used for and I didn't find any information about it on the website.  I don't know if it has any public function or not.  There is also a "Bunkhouse" and "Luke's Lodge".

Outhouse with the "236 Clubhouse" in the background

The 236 Clubhouse"

After the Bunkhouse, we started out on the red trail.  We passed a second kiosk that had a nice sign "Dog Doo Makes Bad Ski Wax, Pick It Up".  We had our dog Rev with us, but she didn't choose to leave any "doo", so we didn't have any cleanup to do.

2nd kiosk 

Below is a map of the red trail which we chose to follow.  As we headed north to start the loop, the trail entered a pine forest.  The snow here was a little crusty and there were some pine needles and twigs in the trail, but really not bad for 2 days before April 1st.

The red trail

The back of the "236 Clubhouse"

Rev guided us across a nice bridge, which had been constructed as an Eagle Scout project

Nice trail name!
After looping through the pines at the north end of the property, we came into a young forest of hardwoods.  This was obviously an old farm and stone walls zig-zagged through the area.  

Snowshoers have there own trails

Soon we found ourselves at "Top Dead Center".  Perhaps the enter of the parcel?  We had nice filtered views of frosty Lyon Mountain to the NW and could also see distant mountains to the south.  It was a wonderfully clear day and visibility was excellent.

Mike and Rev at "Top Dead Center"

The "Stage" at the Meadow 

The "Stage" and a small woodshed in the background at the Meadow

Rev in the woodshed

I think we missed a turn near the Meadow and we turned east and ended up making another loop before returning to the Meadow.  Once back at the Meadow a 2nd time, we found the Saranac Trail that led us back out.

Looking SW at the Meadow

A bench that looks like an ironing board

We would have have enjoyed staying here much longer, but we wanted to go climb Averill Peak, so after the red trail, we returned to the car to head out for our hike.  We will be back here to ski again and explore the other trails.  The New Land Trust is an excellent ski and snowshoe area.  The elevation (1500-1600') helps ensure good snow cover.  Thank you  NLT for opening your property to the public for recreation!

Ski Stats:
Ski Distance:  3.6 miles
Ski Time:;  1.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~250'  
Ski route at the New Land Trust 

The route (click to enlarge)

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