Trail running is a popular sport out west but not so much in the Adirondacks. I run on trails fairly often and rarely encounter another runner, so I was bit surprised to see a fellow jogger on a trail near Moss Lake last weekend.
But in retrospect, I am not that surprised: The 2.5-mile loop around Moss Lake is nearly ideal for running. Most of the route follows an old woods road that’s used for cross-country skiing in winter. The run can be extended by taking a side trail to Bubb and Sis lakes—for a total of 4.7 miles.
Moss Lake is on the road from Eagle Bay to Big Moose in the western Adirondacks. It once was the site of a Girl Scouts camp. In the 1970s, after the state bought the camp, Mohawk Indians took over the property and declared it to be an independent nation. They occupied the site for a few years before a legal settlement was reached. A sign at the trailhead relates this history.
If you’re unsure whether you’ll want to extend your outing to Bubb and Sis lakes, run the loop counterclockwise. That way, you won’t reach the side trail until late in the loop, and you can better judge if you’ll have the time and energy for the detour. The following description assumes a counterclockwise direction.
From the trail register, the trail heads slightly downhill and turns left, soon passing a side trail that leads to a deck overlooking Moss Lake. After a small uphill, the trail parallels the northern shore. This section is somewhat rocky, but not as much as typical hiking trails.
After passing a boulder field on the right, the trail descends to cross a small stream. At 1.3 miles, you come to a large bridge over the outlet, with a view of the lake’s south bay.
At 1.8 miles, you reach the junction with the trail to Bubb and Sis lakes. Turn right if you want to take the detour. You’ll reach Bubb Lake in 0.6 miles and Sis Lake in 1.3 miles. If you continue another 0.15 miles, you come to a path on the right that leads through a hemlock stand to the shore with a good view of Sis. This is a good turnaround spot, though you could continue (on rougher trail) for another 0.9 miles to a trailhead on Route 28.
Once back at the junction, turn right to continue the loop. You’ve got only 0.7 miles to get back to your starting point. The trail descends to another large bridge, this one over the inlet, and then ascends to an unmarked junction. Bear left here. After another small down and up, you’ll pass through a clearing with some scientific apparatus and then arrive back at the trail register.
For a good view of Moss Lake, walk down the short side trail from the register to a beach on the eastern shore. Note the osprey nest on the dead tree on the lake’s island.
Directions: From NY 28 in Eagle Bay, turn north onto Big Moose Road and drive 2.2 miles to the Moss Lake parking lot on the left.