Peavine Swamp Trails
(Loop 3) is a "Top 10 Area Favorite Hiking Destination"
"Cranberry Lake Wild Forest"
The "Peavine Swamp Trails" are made up of three very distinct loops, all of which, offer unique walks in the forest. There is also a lean-to located about 0.5 miles off Loop 3 which is a great location for a camping destination along the "Oswegatchie River".
The "best way" to do all the trails is to follow the lowland trail all the way back to the lean-to and then, finish off by working your way back along the loops upper portions, by doing the remaining portion of Loop 3 first, then 2, and then finish off on Loop 1.
Loop 1 starts 0.3 miles from the trailhead. Continue straight for another 0.75 miles along a moderate course to the start of the loop on the left. The loop has many small, easy rolling hills and one longer, low grade ascent, which doesn’t look much but if the trail, is not broken out, it’s a tough kick and glide. As you pass along the ridge you will notice this area does get some serious snow. There is a mild descent at the end that will bring nicely you back to the main trail, take a right back to the trailhead.
Loop 2 (Christmas Tree Loop)
Loop 2 starts and ends about 0.3 miles further up the main trail from where Loop 1 starts and 1.3 miles from the trailhead. Continuing very easily along a flat section you will come to the backside of the loop after 1.4 miles. From here you will take the left and climb ever so slightly to get up closer to the ridge and come to an intersection, right is Loop 3 and left is the remainder of Loop 2. Continuing on Loop 2 you will have several small rolling hills and a couple hogbacks to go over. There isn’t too much for downhill runs. You will notice the upper portion of this loop, gets much less use.
Loop 3 (A Top 10)
Loop 3 starts and ends where Loop 2 starts. There is a little bit of climbing along this lower section to where you come to a side trail on the right which access you to the NYS Ranger School, take a left here and continue around the loop. Soon you will pass the Spur Trail to the lean-to on the Oswegatchie River on your right as well. From here take a left for the loop and start to climb a decent amount to make the ridge. A very mild, almost unnoticeable descent will bring you to Loop 2. Take a left to go back to the lower trail or stay right to use Loop 2.
Lean-to Spur Trail
This spur is a very short trail which is mostly downhill to the river. A wonderful lean-to sits on the shore making for a great afternoon lunch spot.
Distance Round Trip:
Approx. 11.0 miles for all trails
Follow Route 3 west out of Cranberry Lake for a couple miles to the trailhead on the left. To reach the Ranger School End, take CR61 (Wanakena Road) off of Route 3 and take two lefts to reach The Wanakena Ranger School. There is parking in front of the Ranger School.
Additional Important Information:
To do all loops is a very tough undertaking for many, doing just Loop 1 can be enough, especially due to the trails lack of frequent use.
In Winter, skiing over a frozen body of water is a cross-country skiing past time; it can access you to areas not seen by most in the summer. With that being said it is a dangerous activity to cross frozen water bodies and should be done with care and respect for your environment. Know the ice conditions and be prepared for anything including heavy winds, snow drifts, whiteouts, slushy conditions, and thin ice.
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