Gas in the sled? Check. Blue skies? Check. Route planned, food packed, and hand warmers activated? Check, check, and check.
The only thing missing was a few degrees on the thermometer. It was 2-degrees at our house so we were preparing for a chilly day of riding. There is nothing worse than being cold on a snowmobile! But we were ready for anything and knew it was going to be an awesome day on the trails.
Our plan today was to ride from Long Lake to Indian Lake, and then go back the way we came. However, the day before we left I decided to call the Long Lake Office of Parks and Recreation to get some fresh, local intel. I was told that maybe instead of doing an out-and-back ride, we should consider doing a large loop around some of the finest terrain in the Adirondacks. This would take us from Long Lake, over toward Newcomb, down to Indian Lake, west to Inlet, north to Raquette Lake, and finally dropping us back off in Long Lake. We estimated that this route would be a little over 60 miles, but be warned: I’m a writer, not a mathematician or cartographer. So double check my estimate before heading out.
The day of our trip we decided to park outside of town, at a large lot off Route 30, about 8 or 9 miles before Long Lake proper. This is a stretch of the Adirondacks where I’ve never actually explored so I wanted to see it beyond the pavement of Route 30. We got all our gear together, hopped on the sled, and were off on trail C7B toward Long Lake. This was actually the route we would continue to take toward Newcomb.
In Long Lake, all the roads are snowmobile roads. Riders are asked to please share the road and keep to the shelf on the side while respecting private property.
Before we reached Newcomb we hung a right onto C8A. From Newcomb to Indian Lake is 25 miles; we went less than that since we weren't coming all the way from Newcomb. C8A was recently widened and is absolutely beautiful. I haven’t been snowmobiling long, but this might be my favorite trail so far. Today it was well groomed and so smooth. There were no water crossings, but there were plenty of lake, pond, and mountain views. This trail cuts through some incredibly beautiful scenery, so be prepared to stop and take pictures!
As C8A approaches Indian Lake, riders are faced with a choice: turn around or continue on a big loop. We weren’t sure what we wanted to do yet, so we opted to put some gas in the sled at Stewart’s in town and think about it over a cup of coffee.
Truthfully, I was getting a little cold but the coffee warmed me up and we decided to go for it. Fueled up and ready for more riding, we hopped on C8 toward the Moose River Plains and Inlet. This is some seriously remote country, but, wow, it is a ton of fun! I kept my eyes peeled for moose. Unfortunately, we saw none. The only wildlife we had seen so far was a flock of Wild Turkeys and a Hairy Woodpecker. Of course, there were lots of deer and rabbit tracks around, but the mammals must have been hunkered down somewhere, keeping warm.
Outside Inlet we kept on C8 north toward Raquette Lake. At this point, we had to cross the frozen waterbody. I was a little nervous about riding the sled over the ice, but a passing group said the ice was more than one foot thick and if we stayed on the “highway” we’d be fine. This is exactly what Long Lake’s Parks and Recreation department had told me. Away we went! Even though Raquette Lake is the largest natural body of water in the Adirondacks, we were across in no time. It was recommended to me that we get off the lake on North Point Road (S80) and ride the shelf back into town. In the past, riders have gone to the dam on Forked Lake, but the town did not recommend that route to me.
Aside from wonderful grooming and a fun day exploring new-to-me snowmobile trails, my favorite part of this trip was that we saw a bobcat! Bobcats can be found around the Adirondacks, but are seldom seen. This one watched us for a minute before jumping silently back into the woods. This was definitely a day to remember.
Make a plan
To better help you plan your trips, download the Adirondacks, USA Snowmobile App. With an interactive map and all the information you need to know to navigate snowy trails and find gas stations, stores, restaurants, and lodging properties, this app is your "one-stop shop" for all things snowmobile! Download the app today on the App Store or get it on Google Play. You can even download information so it can be accessed "offline," something very useful in remote parts of the Adirondacks.
Preparation is key. Aside from having a map, check out these tips on how to enjoy winter on Hamilton County’s snowmobile trails. And remember to Love Your ADK as you’re out riding.