Proceed to the northeast corner of the parking area (to the right of an old stone building) and follow the blue-blazed Three Lakes Trail, which enters the woods, crosses a stream and bears right to parallel it. After passing a swamp on the right, the trail turns left and begins to climb rather steeply. Near the top of the hill, the trail passes an interesting split rock to the right. Just...
Proceed to the northeast corner of the parking area (to the right of an old stone building) and follow the blue-blazed Three Lakes Trail, which enters the woods, crosses a stream and bears right to parallel it. After passing a swamp on the right, the trail turns left and begins to climb rather steeply. Near the top of the hill, the trail passes an interesting split rock to the right. Just beyond – at the top of the rise – the remains of the Denny Mine may be seen to the right of the trail. You’ll first notice a long, narrow opening, surrounding by piles of tailings (waste rock removed from the mine). If you bushwhack a little further to the northeast, you will reach an even more impressive mine opening – about 100 feet long and 20 feet deep, with the bottom filled with water. Use caution if you wish to explore these mine openings, all of which are to the right (northeast) of the trail.
Return to the trail and head north, descending through mountain laurel into a valley. Here, the trail turns right onto a woods road and soon reaches Sunken Mine Road (also known as Sunk Mine Road), a rough dirt road. Turn right onto Sunken Mine Road and follow it for 0.2 mile, passing the southern end of John Allen Pond on the left. Just beyond, follow the blue blazes as they turn left, leaving the road. The trail crosses the outlet of the pond on rocks just below an old stone dam (now breached) and turns right. After continuing parallel to the lake shore for a short distance, the trail bears right, away from the lake. It reaches an old mine railbed and turns left to parallel it. After crossing a stream on rocks (to the left, the stone abutments of the mine railway are visible, but the bridge is gone), the trail bears left and joins the mine railbed for a short distance. It then turns left, leaving the railbed, and passes the stone foundations of several buildings from John Allen’s homestead.
The Three Lakes Trail now climbs to reach a junction with the red-blazed Charcoal Burners Trail, which leaves to the left. Proceed ahead on the blue-blazed trail, which goes through mountain laurel thickets and continues through a grassy area, where it crosses a small stream. Just ahead, the yellow-blazed Old Mine Railroad Trail begins to the left. Continue along the blue-blazed Three Lakes Trail, which bears right at a fork and heads north on a relatively level footpath. Soon, you’ll pass Hidden Lake on the left.
About two and one-half miles from the start, you’ll reach a junction (marked by a cairn) with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Turn sharply right and follow the A.T. as it descends rather steeply to a ravine, then ascends, passing to the right of a cliff. After proceeding through an overgrown field, the trail climbs steeply through hemlocks to the top of a ridge. It descends a rocky slope and continues along a ridge studded with pine and hemlock, with a steep drop to the right.
After steeply descending from the ridge along a rocky slope covered with pine needles, the A.T. crosses the outlet of a swamp to the right of the trail on rocks, with an attractive cascade below. A short distance beyond, it turns right on Sunk Mine Road, but follows the road for only 60 feet before turning left and ascending on an old woods road, first rather steeply, then more gradually. After passing a split rock on the left, the trail crosses a long, smooth rock and narrows to a footpath. It descends briefly, then continues to climb to a high point, with limited views through the trees to the west.
The A.T. now begins a steady descent. At the base of the descent, it skirts a swamp to the right, crossing its outlet stream on rocks. Soon, it reaches a junction with the red-blazed Catfish Loop Trail, which leaves to the left at a fork. Bear right, continuing on the white-blazed A.T., and in another 0.2 mile you’ll reach the grassy field at Dennytown Road where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 06/26/2003 updated/verified on 07/25/2012
This loop hike leads to the remains of an old iron mine, passes an attractive lake, and follows the scenic Appalachian Trail along a forested ridge.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.