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Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area

State Land Master Plan February 2014 Description

This Wilderness Area is in the Towns of Newcomb and Minerva, Essex County, and the Town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County. It encompasses the wildest and most remote section of the Hudson River, as well as a spectacular white water gorge.

There are two foot trails within this area that have long been designated for public use by the Department. From the south, a trail leads from Route 28 to Whortleberry Pond, with short spur trails to Ross and Big Bad Luck Ponds. From the north, a trail begins on Northwoods Club Road and ends at Blue Ledge on the Hudson River. There are no public roads or other access routes to this section of the Hudson River. In the past relatively few people were successful in navigating the waters by canoe, boat or raft. These factors had served to retain this portion of the river and its immediate surroundings in a near wilderness condition. River access has significantly increased with the development of commercial rafting since the early 1980's.

Although no established foot trails parallel this section of the Hudson River, the two above-mentioned trails, particularly the Blue Ledge Trail, receive considerable use.

Unlike the majority of the Adirondack Park, much of the underlying bedrock in this area is calcareous, which is reflected by the species and natural communities that occupy these lands and waters. The river corridors along the Hudson and Cedar Rivers, along with limey cliffs and wetlands, feature a diversity of bryophytes and vascular plants that may be unmatched in the Park. In addition to its biological diversity, Blue Ledge provides dramatic cliffs enjoyed by those who run the river or hike to the river or ledges. Opportunities for good fishing are available along the river and at several interior ponds.

The distance between Newcomb and North River is the most dramatic white water trip in the Adirondacks, if not the State as a whole, and one of the most de-manding and hazardous. Since the early 1980's, commercial white water rafting, utilizing a release from the Lake Abanakee dam which permits rafts to gain access via the Indian River, has increased dramatically on the lower portion of this route. This type of use has reached about the maximum level consistent with the carrying capacity of the resources of the river banks and wild char-acter of the river and care should be taken not to exceed present use levels.

This area was originally classified as Primitive because of substantial private inholdings in the vicinities of the confluence of the Hudson and Indian Rivers, and Blue Ledge and the critical relationship of those lands to the river gorge. The area was upgraded to Wilderness in 2013 after most of the private lands - including their entire river frontage - were acquired.

The Department developed an Interim Access Plan for this area in June 2013.

This area does not yet have an adopted Unit Management Plan.

Mapping Resources:
(Not from the State Land Master Plan or Unit Management Plans)

Recreational Opportunities Map

View larger map with additional options

Soils and Wetlands

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Hudson Gorge area statistics:

State Lands 23,494 Acres
Bodies of Water (25) 314 Acres
Foot Trails 7 Miles
Lean‑tos None
Non‑conforming Uses:  




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