The charms of Lows Ridge

Lows Ridge overlooks Hitchins Pond and the Bog River.

Lows Ridge may rise only four hundred fifty feet above the landscape, but it offers an awesome view of the Bog River country, with the High Peaks in the distance.

Most people climb the ridge after paddling up the Bog and across Hitchins Pond, but it also can be reached overland via an old woods road now closed to vehicles. It starts at a gate a mile west of Horseshoe Lake and ends at the dam that impounds Lows Lake. Depending on your inclination, you can walk, run, or mountain-bike down the road.

I jogged down the road last Sunday and then went up the new trail leading to the ridge’s overlook. (To reach the trailhead from the end of the road, bear right toward a stone ruin, and you’ll see the register.) The route is a model of modern trail design. Unlike many Adirondack trails that go straight up the mountain, this one winds up the slope at a moderate grade.

An interesting note: The trail sign says it’s 1.1 miles to the ridge overlook. It so happens that I was trying out a GPS watch (Garmin Forerunner 405), and it put the distance at 0.7 miles-quite a difference.

The vista from the ridge is stunning. You look down on Hitchins Pond, the Bog River, and a vast marshy landscape. Mount Morris stands out in the northeast. Beyond it are the High Peaks.


The trail ends at this plaque.
The trail ends at this plaque.

The trail ends at a plaque dedicated to A. Augustus Low, who died in 1963. Low’s father acquired forty thousand acres in these parts in the 1890s and built a woodland empire based on logging, maple sugar, preserves, and bottled water (from “Virgin Forest Springs”). If you climb Lows Ridge, be sure to take the brief walk to Hitchins Pond before or afterward. A kiosk on the way includes information about the Low enterprise.

After your hike, you can cool off with a swim in Horseshoe Lake.

Incidentally, Lows Ridge is part of the Lows Lake Primitive Area, but the Adirondack Park Agency proposes to add it and a lot of the surrounding land to the Five Ponds Wilderness. Opponents of the land reclassification note that the region still bears the obvious stamp of man in the form of roads, dams, and impounded waters.

Directions: From Tupper Lake, drive south on NY 30. After crossing the Raquette River, continue 6.9 miles to NY 421. Turn right and drive 7.6 miles past Horseshoe Lake to a gated dirt road on the left. If coming from the south, NY 421 is on the left about 13 miles from Long Lake. Note: NY 421 turns to dirt after 5.8 miles and makes a hairpin turn as it crosses railroad tracks. The gate is 0.9 miles past the tracks.


The woods road passes several wetlands on the way to Lows Ridge.
The woods road passes several wetlands on the way to Lows Ridge. All photos by Phil Brown.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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