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Outdoor Adventure

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: Hiking Trails and Camping

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Hiking in Siamese Ponds Wilderness

reading in a hammock in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness

The Siamese Ponds Wilderness is one of the largest wilderness areas in Adirondack State Park in Upstate NY. However, the area is not super trafficked, making it a perfect place to escape for some fresh air. The area is great for hiking, camping, fishing, and swimming. This guide will cover everything you need to know about hiking and camping in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness. 

siamese ponds wilderness in the adirondacks

What to Expect 

We visited this park during early May, when the weather was just starting to warm up in Upstate NY, and found very few other hikers on the trail. This made it the perfect outdoor getaway for us, but definitely something to consider if you are hiking or camping alone. 

The trails are very well-marked, so you shouldn’t have any issue following the trails. From the trailhead, all of the trails follow the same path for about 4 miles, before they split off into different directions. 

socks airing out after a long day of hiking

There are tons of options for long hikes in this area, but given the weight of our packs, we stuck to the four-mile trail to the Sacandaga Lean-to. The start of the trail is quite intense, with lots of quick elevation gain, and little protection from the sun. Eventually you’ll come to a river with only the remains of a bridge to cross. If you follow the river to the right about 100 meters, you’ll find a new, makeshift bridge. This is much easier than walking through the ice cold water, which is exactly what we did the first time around. 

man stands in front of tall trees in Siamese Ponds Wilderness in the Adirondacks in Upstate NY

If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can continue on to the Siamese Ponds, or even further to the Old Farm Trailhead. It’s definitely a great area to get lost in for a few days! If you decide to stay at the Lean-to, and don’t want to hike all the way to the ponds, I recommend continuing straight. Rather than crossing the bridge, continue straight with the Lean-to on your right-hand side. There are some wooded trails in this direction that are great for a short 2-3 mile hike. 

girl hiking in the adirondacks - siamese ponds wilderness

Where to Camp in Siamese Ponds Wilderness

Just before you reach the lean-to, you’ll come across two perfect camp spots on the left hand side. Located right on the river, with a little bit of shade from the trees, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to camp out for a few nights. There was a fire pit set up, which made it easy to contain any fires that we made. The easy access to the river was perfect for cooking, especially since we had our LifeStraw for purifying the water to make it safe to drink. 

There are also campgrounds closer to the Siamese Ponds, which are an additional 2 miles from the Lean-to. 

swimming in the adirondacks

What to Pack

You will need to pack quite a bit if you plan on camping out. Here is a list of my recommended must-pack items:

  • Tent – While it is possible to set up a hammock to sleep in, the weather can drop quite a bit at night. Additionally, there is quite a bit of wildlife in this region. I personally felt a lot better zipped up in my tent
  • Sleeping Bag – Due to the park’s location in Upstate NY, the weather can drop quite a bit at night. I definitely recommend packing a sleeping bag, in addition to some warm layers for the chilly evenings.
  • Sleeping Pad – A sleeping pad may add a bit of extra weight to your pack,  but it is a serious lifesaver. I’m not sure how I would have survived two nights sleeping in a tent without it.
  • Cooking Utensils – You should try to pack as light as possible, but if you’re looking to cook there are a few items that I recommend bringing along. These include a pot for cooking and heating up water, a set of utensils, and tin foil. I also brought along a lightweight tin cup that was perfect for my morning tea, and evening cocktails.
  • Jetboil – if, like me, you are awful at keeping a fire going, then this Jetboil will definitely come in handy! I find it particularly helpful for breakfast, when we don’t want to waste time starting a full fire. The product itself is reusable, and you can just purchase additional fuel
  • Bug Spray – There are quite a few bugs in this area, especially in the earlier half of summer. Don’t forget to pack some bug spray
  • Light Source – It’s important to pack a headlamp or flashlight. Another great option is a solar powered lantern
  • Hiking boots – The path can be quite muddy and wet depending on the season. It is important to wear proper shoes to avoid any injuries. Even  better if you have a pair of waterproof hiking boots.

camp food on the fire, camping in the adirondacks

Tips for Hiking and Camping at Siamese Ponds Wilderness

  • There is quite a bit of large wildlife in the area. Make sure to store your food properly. All food should be stored in a bear canister or strung up in a tree, away from your tent. 
  • Make sure to sign in to the trail. This is for your own safety! 
  • The bugs can be quite bad in May and June — use bug spray and wear long layers when possible.

guy signing into the trail at siamese ponds wilderness in the adirondacks


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