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Great Camp Santanoni - Gravel Cycling


This short out-and-back ride into an historic great camp is one to savor.

How to get there

The entrance to Camp Santanoni (Santanoni Preserve) is located on the Newcomb Lake Road in the Town of Newcomb. There is a sign on NYS Route 28N identifying the intersection.  (Coordinates: 43.972526, -74.163974)

Ride through history

This ride will take longer than you expect, not because it’s difficult, but because there’s just so much to see at this captivating historic site. You will know this isn’t your ordinary ride the moment you cross a small river that connects Belden and Harris Lakes and catch sight of the enchanting stone and wooden guard house. Since parking and the start of the ride are up the hill and beyond the guard house, you will almost certainly begin this ride by going in the wrong direction as you will want to see this building. And this is just the start. As you hop on your bike and head into the woods, you pedal up a gentle hill toward your destination. Along the way you pass over one stone bridge after another including trickling streams and a roaring brook. In less than a mile, you pass by the old farmhouse and remains of historic barns where you will undoubtedly stop to read the exhibits and enjoy cozy homestead.

The road then ride climbs to a height of land approximately 2 miles beyond the farm, and it is then pretty much downhill all the way to historic Camp Santanoni. At the camp you can park your bike in the available bike rack and spend several hours soaking in the historic structures, reading about life in this remote camp in the late-19th and early 20th centuries, and the influence of Japanese architecture on the design of the camp itself. After enjoying the sights, return back the way you came.

By the numbers

  • Level of Difficulty: Easy
  • Route length: 9 miles (14.5 kilometers)
  • Elevation: 692 feet (211 meters)
  • One lane dirt road

Additional info

A few additional notes about this ride: Electric bicycles are not permitted. Also, the road is shared with horses and is a very popular walking trail; bicyclists must yield to both. For safety’s sake should you meet a horse on your journey you should stop and stand quietly at the edge of the road until the horse passes. You also must be mindful of your speed, especially on the downhills as you will likely encounter other trail users during this trip. The first half of this dirt road is in very good shape and then becomes more rugged as you descend to the camp.


Ride With GPS Link:

Due to limited cellular coverage, please be sure to download this route and save for offline use before you leave home.


Upper Works Trailhead

As the southern access point into the High Peaks Wilderness, Upper Works offers a unique option for hikers and visitors looking for an alternative to traditional northern or eastern trailheads. In addition to hosting plenty of fantastic hikes, this trailhead is steeped in history. It is the location of the former town of Adirondac, now abandoned in residence, but alive with interpretation. Open Space Institute has created an interpretive trail that examines many of the old buildings, landscapes, and structures that put this mining hub on the map. You will drive by an old blast furnace on the way to the parking lot, signaling the area's rich mining history. It was also near this location where Teddy Roosevelt was informed of President McKinley's imminent death from a gunshot wound. The MacNaughton Cottage stands within view of the parking lot; this is where Teddy Roosevelt began his midnight ride. Human history is not the only element to this story; the forests and waters all tell a story as well. The mighty Hudson River, on route to New York City, begins not too far from Upper Works and can be seen from many places along the road.


From exit 29 off I-87, turn west onto Blue Ridge Road (CR 84) toward Newcomb. Follow this route for 17.4 miles to an intersection with Tahawus Road (CR 25). Turn right on Tahawus Road and stay on it for 6.3 miles then turn left at a sign for High Peaks trails. Pass by the old blast furnace at 2.8 miles up this road. From the blast furnace, it is less than one mile to your destination. The road dead ends at the trailhead. Please park in the new 60-car capacity lot adjacent to the MacNaughton Cottage. The old parking lot (terminus of Upper Works Road) is closed. Unauthorized vehicles in the old parking area after June 18, 2021 will be towed away at vehicle owners expense. 

Interpretive trail

From the new parking lot, an interpretive trail leads to the official trailhead. It's so much more than a place to park your car now! In addition to an interpretive trail, a scenic and historic trail along the Hudson was built and the ruins of a massive iron furnace and the MacNaughton Cottage, which once served as a base camp for the explorations of Teddy Roosevelt, were stabilized. This is truly a place to walk through history!


From the Upper Works trailhead, hikers have access to miles and miles of trails leading into the High Peaks Wilderness. The Calamity Brook trail is the shortest approach to Mt. Marcy from the south (10.3-miles, one-way with 3,800 feet of elevation gain) but is an attractive route that passes by popular camping destinations at Flowed Lands and Lake Colden. This route also allows access to other High Peaks, such as Mount Colden, the MacIntyre Range, Mount Skylight, and numerous others via herd paths. The Calamity Brook trail follows the historic Calamity Brook, where you will find a memorial for David Henderson, who tragically shot him accidentally while on a hike. David Henderson was an early manager for the early mine located nearby. If you're looking for something that isn't a mountain, hiking to Hanging Spear Falls is a good day-trip (6 or 7 miles, one-way). Bearing right at an intersection near Flowed Lands, you'll be on the Hanging Spear Falls trail, where viewpoints allow you to see the magnificent 75-foot tall cascade. Traversing down to the base of the falls is dangerous, but there are lookouts along the marked trail.

Another major trail out of Upper Works is the Indian Pass trail. This trail leads 4.4- miles one-way (with 870 feet of elevation gain) to Summit Rock, where the trail connects with another that starts at Heart Lake on the Adirondack Loj property. This is not a High Peak hike, but the views are impressive, especially those of Wallface's enormous cliff. Of course, these two trails are not the only destinations one can hike to from Upper Works. We recommend buying a map and guide book (and consulting a local guide) before trekking miles into the wilderness. For a less strenuous option, Open Space Institute's short interpretive trail meanders around the area, guiding visitors from the parking area through the former village of Adirondac to the blast furnace (built in 1856).


As with many trails in the Adirondacks, all hiking trails can be used by snowshoers in snowier months. In the High Peaks, snowshoes (or skis) are required when there 12+ inches of snow. Please make sure to plan ahead. At this mountain trailhead, there is likely to be more snow than in town.

Cross-country skiing

When the snow cover is right, skiing is great here. The most popular option is to ski out and back to Flowed Lands or Lake Colden. For this, you ski on an incline for roughly 4.5 miles to Flowed Lands, so your return trip will be mostly downhill, sometimes steeply. 


Even though this is primarily a hiking trailhead, Upper Works also serves as an access point for Henderson Lake. It is about a 0.3- mile carry from the parking lot to the put in and while it is a bit of an uphill walk, it is not strenuous. Plus, the views that await you on the water are absolutely breathtaking, and are not too often seen, as this paddle is still flying under the radar. 


The trails that lead from Upper Works can take you to many different campsites. There are primitive backcountry tent sites as well as lean-tos, all available on a first come, first serve basis. 

For your information...

For continuously updated information from the Department of Environmental Conservation on trail conditions, etc., please subscribe to their weekly email updates or visit their website.

Newcomb Historical Museum

The mining community of Tahawus was built in 1941 and dismantled in 1963, with many of the town buildings moved to Newcomb. This new museum celebrates the extraordinary history of this company town who lived on as a thriving community.

Contact museum for hours.

Schroon-North Hudson Historical Society

The Schroon-North Hudson Historical Society, Inc. documents the history of the towns of Schroon and North Hudson and serves the present and future research and educational needs of the towns' citizens and others. The Historical Society was organized to collect and to preserve the historical records and other artifacts for the Town of Schroon and the Town of North Hudson so these records and artifacts can be used for historical and other research.


Minerva Historical Society

Thursday through Sundays, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Free.

The former Methodist Church houses a small local history museum collection which features prints and explanations of watercolors painted by Winslow Homer at the nearby North Woods Club.


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