Loop / Thru Hikes In NY

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DayTrip

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For 2021, I've set out to try new areas, avoid crowds and do multi-day hikes. I recently did some short "thru" hikes in PA (the 43 mile Black Forest Trail and the 75 mile Quehanna Trail for reference if anyone is familiar with them) and really enjoyed the miles of scenic and uncrowded forest, backpacker friendly camping rules and terrain, etc. There are more options for me in PA but I am trying to find some comparable loop hikes closer to home with maybe a different "feel" to the terrain and woods. (Central PA trail heads are 6-7 hours for me).

Does Central NY have any loop hikes of this nature? I've tried a bunch of Google searches but I keep getting the short, "touristy" loops in very popular areas I'd like to avoid and/or really short loops not worthy of a 4-5 hour drive. Can't seem to find anything fitting what I'm looking for. If any of the NY hikers here can think of something fitting this general description that I could research further it would be appreciated. I'm not opposed to anything in the Catskills or Adirondacks but I was trying to avoid because of the crowds, the horrible parking and the many camping regulations and limits in the Adirondacks so it seems like these areas won't be helpful. PA really spoiled me for easy trail access, seclusion and loops with miles and miles of really scenic forest, rivers and plateaus.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.
 
Look up French Louie Loop.

Tongue Range has a loop.

The Catskills have some good loops, if you want me to list them?
 
Look up French Louie Loop.

Tongue Range has a loop.

The Catskills have some good loops, if you want me to list them?

I've done several loops in the Catskills which I really enjoyed but they were easy overnighters (sub 20 miles). I love the Catskills but not the crowds so if you have some suggestions I will definitely be interested. Most trailheads in that area are even closer to me than the Whites, which is nice. I'll check those other ones out. Thanks.
 
Try here: https://www.nynjtc.org/content/long-distance-trails-new-york-and-new-jersey

My guess that parts of the Northville - Placid trail are not very crowded. Parts of the Finger Lakes trail should be good in spots also.

I had actually set aside vacation time last July and was going to attempt the NPT until the whole COVID thing hit. By the time everything calmed down I didn't think I'd be in good enough shape so I canceled. Turned out I wound up getting into great shape and probably would have been able to complete it. But on May 4th tipping the scales at 241 lbs I had no idea. Last year was weird.

I was actually looking at the map for the NPT again last night and didn't really see any good way to work a loop into it without using truck or horse trails, which I suspect are probably not the kind of hiking I'd be interested in. I do want to get on this trail at some point though. I've heard good things about many sections of it.
 
I had actually set aside vacation time last July and was going to attempt the NPT until the whole COVID thing hit. By the time everything calmed down I didn't think I'd be in good enough shape so I canceled. Turned out I wound up getting into great shape and probably would have been able to complete it. But on May 4th tipping the scales at 241 lbs I had no idea. Last year was weird.

I was actually looking at the map for the NPT again last night and didn't really see any good way to work a loop into it without using truck or horse trails, which I suspect are probably not the kind of hiking I'd be interested in. I do want to get on this trail at some point though. I've heard good things about many sections of it.
Have you done 'The 9' ? Start at Denning, do Table, Peekamoose, Lone, Rocky, Balsam Cap, Friday, (Dink), Cornell, Wittenberg, (Cornell), Slide, and out to Denning. 11 peaks if you count repeats and sub bumps. Lots of bushwhacking, but lots of places to camp. Sometimes water is hard to find.
 
I had actually set aside vacation time last July and was going to attempt the NPT until the whole COVID thing hit. By the time everything calmed down I didn't think I'd be in good enough shape so I canceled. Turned out I wound up getting into great shape and probably would have been able to complete it. But on May 4th tipping the scales at 241 lbs I had no idea. Last year was weird.

I was actually looking at the map for the NPT again last night and didn't really see any good way to work a loop into it without using truck or horse trails, which I suspect are probably not the kind of hiking I'd be interested in. I do want to get on this trail at some point though. I've heard good things about many sections of it.

The Horse Trail over by Corey's isn't bad and gets some hiker use. Without looking at my High Peaks guide, it is either a wet/muddy option or it's more direct and should be avoided in wet weather. (or maybe I missed it altogether and have to read it again) Truck roads from what I've experienced and that
is just one off of 28N is that they are wide and with grass high enough that I worried about ticks as I walked on it in shorts. (I think that was my off day between Allen and the Dix Range) Depending on how many miles you were on them and learning to see how popular they are with the ATV & Mudder crowd would be good. (Are the Mudder and high volume ATV trails in the ADK and Catskills or just on private land? IDK

Large loops are hard to come by, especially if looking at avoiding crowds. Thinking someone has done this in NH, however, how many days would it take to start in Lincoln Woods, up Osseo, doing the loop until the Twinway turns, stay on the Twinway, take the A-Z to C-Notch, Over the Presidentials, out to 16 near one of the trails that lead over the Carters (to limit walking on 16 - this area of 16 is where I've had luck hitchhiking also), back to PNVC, up to and out over the Davis Path or down into the Dry River and then pick up the AT and then work back towards Lincoln Woods, either up Zeacliff so you can get over the Bonds again or staying in the woods and avoiding the crowds.

In the ADK out of trailheads in the Tahawus area, you could go under Wallface and walk to the HPIC, from there, you can have choices on how you get back to behind Marcy and in the Panther Gorge area. Heading towards JBL on the trail that connects JBL to the HPIC would likely be the less crowded option.

The hardest thing with loops is that they tend to build trails where there is a desire to have trails that take you to views and peaks. The best loops will have crowds in some spots. Have you posted over on the ADK boards?
 
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Have you done 'The 9' ? Start at Denning, do Table, Peekamoose, Lone, Rocky, Balsam Cap, Friday, (Dink), Cornell, Wittenberg, (Cornell), Slide, and out to Denning. 11 peaks if you count repeats and sub bumps. Lots of bushwhacking, but lots of places to camp. Sometimes water is hard to find.

I've heard of it and have not done it. Peakbagging is really not my goal here although I suppose subconsciously my mind wants to "complete" something like an officially named trail. What I'm really looking for is a high mileage (say 40-60 miles) cruising trail through attractive woods, fields/balds, wetlands or whatever (it can have summits of course) where the trails are less traveled and camping opportunities ("at large" or at designated spots). Pennsylvania was a real nice eye opener for this with miles and miles of nice trails, abundant water sources and convenient camping at really scenic spots. It's like they have the exact opposite thought process than the Whites or Daks. Every great spot on a river or outlook had an established camp site, stone firepits made from the abundant slate, etc. It lacks the dramatic terrain that only real mountains can have but it also has way less people. The killer for me is the drive.

Not sure this is a great example but my favorite Catskill hike to date was the Blackhead/Windham loop. I went CCW. I did it in early May and it was spectacular with all the blooming flowers, open areas, summits with very different forest types, abundant outlooks, etc. Had a ton of scenic variety. It was fairly busy obviously except for that NE corner (Acra Point??) that had a good stretch not associated with any list peaks. But even with the 3 3/4 mile road walk to close the loop I think it was only 24 miles or something like that. Longer versions of this type of loop is what I'd like to find. I did an out and back awhile ago too on Romer Mtn (??) which was a nice long ridge walk that eventually climbed Wittenberg. That was another great walk and it didn't seem very popular. I really like the feel of the woods in the Catskills in most of the places I've gone but most of the trail loop options aren't very long.
 
The Horse Trail over by Corey's isn't bad and gets some hiker use. Without looking at my High Peaks guide, it is either a wet/muddy option or it's more direct and should be avoided in wet weather. (or maybe I missed it altogether and have to read it again) Truck roads from what I've experienced and that
is just one off of 28N is that they are wide and with grass high enough that I worried about ticks as I walked on it in shorts. (I think that was my off day between Allen and the Dix Range) Depending on how many miles you were on them and learning to see how popular they are with the ATV & Mudder crowd would be good. (Are the Mudder and high volume ATV trails in the ADK and Catskills or just on private land? IDK

Large loops are hard to come by, especially if looking at avoiding crowds. Thinking someone has done this in NH, however, how many days would it take to start in Lincoln Woods, up Osseo, doing the loop until the Twinway turns, stay on the Twinway, take the A-Z to C-Notch, Over the Presidentials, out to 16 near one of the trails that lead over the Carters (to limit walking on 16 - this area of 16 is where I've had luck hitchhiking also), back to PNVC, up to and out over the Davis Path or down into the Dry River and then pick up the AT and then work back towards Lincoln Woods, either up Zeacliff so you can get over the Bonds again or staying in the woods and avoiding the crowds.

In the ADK out of trailheads in the Tahawus area, you could go under Wallface and walk to the HPIC, from there, you can have choices on how you get back to behind Marcy and in the Panther Gorge area. Heading towards JBL on the trail that connects JBL to the HPIC would likely be the less crowded option.

The hardest thing with loops is that they tend to build trails where there is a desire to have trails that take you to views and peaks. The best loops will have crowds in some spots. Have you posted over on the ADK boards?

I have to revisit the Adirondacks maps and see what I can come up with. I think it's been 2 or 3 years now since I've been back there. Extreme crowds and crazy traffic after a 4 1/2 hour ride was a turn off. Camping regulations are very tight too, especially in the High Peaks area, which is a huge turn off for me. I much prefer "at large" camping.
 
Yes that was one of the only hikes that came up in my Google searches but it isn't a loop. It didn't look like a good option from that perspective.
 
Yes that was one of the only hikes that came up in my Google searches but it isn't a loop. It didn't look like a good option from that perspective.


While the AT has trail angels giving rides and in some places in the Whites you may be able to hitch-hike and there is also the AMC shuttle, What do people do for rides in other places with distance trails, ie, Finger Lakes, Long Trail, Northville Placid? Hostels seem to have numbers for rides or offer them if you stay there before or after your trip. Is Uber or Lyft an option? If you find a hostel in the area, does staying there on day one make sense for a ride? (Hiker's Paradise used to so thru-hikers or I imagine, any of their guests could slack pack the Presidentials) If they are on the trail you are looking at, make their location the end of your trip, park there and get shuttled some distance away.
 
I have done French Louie loop with a friend about a year and a half ago overlapping Columbus day weekend, so we saw some people near Cedar Lakes on the first day, and then one more person following day, but otherwise the hike was fairly serene. There were some muddy spots, so I was happy that I brought my gaiters.

Not sure if you already considered Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway - I have done it some time ago alone and I used a taxi service to get a ride from a campground in Goshen to Monadnock State Park. Other than on the first day (mid-week) I did not really see anyone on the trail, so if you are looking for paths less travelled this might be something worth exploring. Here is a link to my trip report with some details about logistics - https://hikingatsnailspace.blogspot.com/2018/05/monadnock-sunapee-greenway.html (I posted this a while back on VFTT.)
 
I have done French Louie loop with a friend about a year and a half ago overlapping Columbus day weekend, so we saw some people near Cedar Lakes on the first day, and then one more person following day, but otherwise the hike was fairly serene. There were some muddy spots, so I was happy that I brought my gaiters.

Not sure if you already considered Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway - I have done it some time ago alone and I used a taxi service to get a ride from a campground in Goshen to Monadnock State Park. Other than on the first day (mid-week) I did not really see anyone on the trail, so if you are looking for paths less travelled this might be something worth exploring. Here is a link to my trip report with some details about logistics - https://hikingatsnailspace.blogspot.com/2018/05/monadnock-sunapee-greenway.html (I posted this a while back on VFTT.)

Yes I have considered the MSG. It was actually going to be my "prep" hike last Spring to get a sense of whether or not I could do the NPT in July. And of course 2020 went to $#%^ so I didn't do it. I actually section hiked a small piece of it last weekend and will be doing the parts that look the nicest. Will hopefully be doing another section this coming weekend. Seems like a lot of road walking on it but there are some really nice stretches. I like the terrain in that general area: Monadnock, the Wapack Trail, etc. I tend to do day hikes in that area every Spring.
 
Yes I have considered the MSG. It was actually going to be my "prep" hike last Spring to get a sense of whether or not I could do the NPT in July. And of course 2020 went to $#%^ so I didn't do it. I actually section hiked a small piece of it last weekend and will be doing the parts that look the nicest. Will hopefully be doing another section this coming weekend. Seems like a lot of road walking on it but there are some really nice stretches. I like the terrain in that general area: Monadnock, the Wapack Trail, etc. I tend to do day hikes in that area every Spring.

I actually really liked the road walks. They were all in the fog and next to no traffic. Gave the little towns a creepy feel that went really well with binging Shittown. The Washington General Store was a highlight. Grabbed a sixer for the final night and the finish. That said, I can't imagine doing that trail in a post covid world in season, the campsites are small and I feel like the cat is out of the bag on the MSG.
 
I actually really liked the road walks. They were all in the fog and next to no traffic. Gave the little towns a creepy feel that went really well with binging Shittown. The Washington General Store was a highlight. Grabbed a sixer for the final night and the finish. That said, I can't imagine doing that trail in a post covid world in season, the campsites are small and I feel like the cat is out of the bag on the MSG.

I agree with it being "out of the bag" and I've only seen a few of the campsites but they are small. Having said that for the SAT of a Memorial Day weekend I only saw two people SAT morning, both through hikers (granted the weather was fairly lousy - light rain, 20mph winds and temps in the low 40's but still a holiday weekend.) First rate lean-tos though. I stopped at Max Israel shelter SAT to get out of the rain and have a quick snack. Perfect condition, spotless and had some brand new work tables and benches. Not a shelter guy but these were definitely the nicest and cleanest I've ever seen.
 

That does look to be a great option. I have heard of it before but it is not actually where I thought it was. I thought that was down by Lake George for some reason and as such thought it was a very busy area. Have you done it before? What were the crowds like? Seems to be "out there" enough but the website has a pretty lengthy list of finishers on it, which makes me wonder. Definitely going to research further. Thanks for the idea.
 
That does look to be a great option. I have heard of it before but it is not actually where I thought it was. I thought that was down by Lake George for some reason and as such thought it was a very busy area. Have you done it before? What were the crowds like? Seems to be "out there" enough but the website has a pretty lengthy list of finishers on it, which makes me wonder. Definitely going to research further. Thanks for the idea.

I wouldn't let the list make me wonder if it's crowded, I'm tempted to say the 46er's are generally 10% more list crazed than the NH 4000'er crowd. NH has Owl's Head, Isolation, and the Bonds as long distance trips, two of those three trips have great views to make it worthwhile. While many of the long distance ADK peaks have some views, They aren't 360 or 270 degree views. IMO, Allen, Couchsachraga with Santanoni & Panther, Seymour, Emmons and Donaldson are all harder, than Owl's Head. Some with great views, (Panther Santanoni) while others have good views in one or two directions.

They still do Couchsachraga with is almost 200 feet short of 4,000 through a bog/pond (depending on rain) in the col. It's a detour off of a ridge connecting two peaks with really nice views, Santanoni and Panther. I'm guessing that there are more NH Grid finishers than ADK grid finishers. Twelve, Allen & twelve Couchsachraga trips sounds like near torture.
 
That does look to be a great option. I have heard of it before but it is not actually where I thought it was. I thought that was down by Lake George for some reason and as such thought it was a very busy area. Have you done it before? What were the crowds like? Seems to be "out there" enough but the website has a pretty lengthy list of finishers on it, which makes me wonder. Definitely going to research further. Thanks for the idea.

I have not hiked it yet, nor do I know if it gets crowded, though I'd be a little surprised if it did. You might try the ADK High Peaks Forum or the ADK Forum for more beta.
 
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