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Owls Head trailhead (the one near Cascade Pass) closed on weekends

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  • Owls Head trailhead (the one near Cascade Pass) closed on weekends

    FYI. Cross-posted from the local Keene neighborhood network:

    **The property owners around the Owls Head Trail have decided to close the trail on weekends. The parking is limited and the number of visitors has made it difficult for property owners to drive in and out of their own homes.**

    I don't know how long this will take to be resolved. I know this is a popular trail - but please respect this closure.

  • #2
    That's a shame. Something good always seems to get ruined.


    • #3
      What a shame. That's got to have one of the best view/effort ratios in the Adirondacks.


      • #4
        This is why we can't have nice things. :(


        • #5
          That's a shame. However, the road and most of the trail lies on private property so they have control over it. Only the summit lies on state land.

          Perhaps one solution would be to oblige the public to park along highway 73 (at all times) and only allow for foot-traffic to the peak (along Owls Head Lane).

          ​Hmm. Not sure about that now. Private land appears to extend all the way to the highway. State land starts west of Brown Mtn Way (left of the image above).

          Looking for Views!


          • #6
            A number of years ago, when the current owners bought the Owls Head Rustic furniture property, I was asked to see if the state would be interested in buying two vacant parcels of land south of the present store. Their purchase included a total of four parcels, but they only needed two for their business. I scouted a feasible route to the summit that stayed on state land - provided of course that the state bought the two parcels in question. The DEC seemed interested in the project, but was unable to follow through. Just recently, as the numbers of hikers increased, one of the landowners approached me to ask about moving the trail. I gave him all of my files for the project and thought that an aggrieved landowner would have more success in getting the DEC to follow through. So far, no progress that I am aware of; but with this closure there could be more of an impetus for the DEC to act.


            • mastergrasshopper
              mastergrasshopper commented
              Editing a comment
              Last year my wife talked to owner extensively and she is very interested in having TH on her property !!!

          • #7
            IS it the trailhead or the trail that's closed? Maybe there could be parking at Pitchoff and a marked route along route 73 and Owls Head Lane, similar to the Deer Brook situation in Keene Valley?
            ADK 46*/46 CATS 5/35 FT 4/28 Saranac 0/6 Bristol 6/6


            • #8
              To follow-up on Trail Boss' post...

              In the pic below the red highlights are the roads off Rte 73, blue is the approximate trail, and the black arrow points to the trailhead. You can walk on state land (blue shaded Wilderness) all the way from Rte 73 to the summit though coming from the south you'd probably hit a lot of cliffs. As I recall it's pretty steep on that side.

              I would guess the closure all but puts that destination in mothballs on weekends until an agreement can be reached. The short climb for that view is one the great little gems of the Adirondacks but going any further to get there kinda defeats the purpose for all but a small group of bushwhackers. Plan to hit it on a weekday in the short term.

              Last edited by Makwa; 06-18-2017, 03:28 PM.


              • #9
                Official DEC announcement


                • #10
                  How many similar situations are out there? We all know there's more and more hikers flooding the Adirondacks. Will other landowners follow suit and close off trailheads/ trails due to large crowds as well? I wouldn't blame any of them. A few hikers here and there is one thing. Too many where you can't get in or out of your own driveway is another.


                  • #11
                    Has anyone visited Owls Head recently? I was there many years ago and the trail started from Owls Head Lane. However, the Adirondack Almanack's article about the closure shows the trail starts from highway 73.

                    Direct link to map:

                    ​Is that true? If so, I have some fixing to do in OpenStreetMap ... (and the stuff I wrote earlier about allowing foot-traffic along Owls Head Lane is worthless).
                    Looking for Views!


                    • Makwa
                      Makwa commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Broken I guess. Will try to fix later.

                      Start of trail is on Owls Head Lane. Not 73. Maybe a third of a mile off the highway?

                    • Trail Boss
                      Trail Boss commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks. In that case I don't know why the Adirondack Atlas shows it starting at 73. Anyhow, less work for me because I have no need to update OSM.

                    • Makwa
                      Makwa commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Trail Boss... I think the pic in post #8 is fixed now even though I believe you have figured out the correct info. One last thought... drop down to street level on Google Earth and take a peek at where Owls Head Lane intersects Rte 73. There appears to be a few parking spaces about 100 feet off the highway just to the left (north) of where the Lane takes a sharp turn there. Can't quite tell if it's OK to park there but that could explain the trail being drawn from 73. I suppose you could park on Rte 73 in the narrow shoulders nearby as well but I would imagine 99% of people drive up to where the trail signage/ parking is.

                  • #12
                    Subsequent conversation with the owners of Owls Head Rustic Furniture indicates that they would now be willing to give the state an easement on their property for both a parking lot and a trail across their property to state land. No idea at the moment who would pay for the construction and maintenance of either of these facilities, the offer of a right-of-way at no cost to the state helps move this relocation forward. But don't look for a solution by the Fourth of July.


                    • #13
                      Here is a photo of the actual sign, located right at Rt. 73. The sign seems to indicate that mid-week parking must be on the highway, while no use is permitted on weekends. Click image for larger version

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                      • #14
                        Sad. Another example of the ADKs being loved to death. Ignorance and/or arrogance on the part of some visitors: They either don't get it or don't believe rules apply to them.


                        • #15
                          A few years ago, when I was looking for a place to build, the three properties at the very end of OHLane (where the circle is) were for sale. I seriously considered purchasing one; I wish I had. Question: can one walk up the lane and it's continuation to state land?

                          ADK 46r #8003; 6W
                          2nd round: 16
                          SL6r #596
                          Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W