Westport Pheasant Release Site

For pheasant hunters in Essex County, there is only one choice. With virtually no natural reproduction in the North Country, hunters must take advantage of the annual releases of stocked pheasants by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Birds are stocked twice – prior to the season and in mid-season in the town of Westport on the Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest at the corner of Lake Shore Road and Clark Road.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area

The 46,283-acre Pharaoh Lake Wilderness is an outstanding part of the Adirondacks! The wilderness contains an abundance of lakes and ponds, the largest being Pharaoh Lake, at 441 acres. There are nearly 70- miles of trails within the Wilderness and no shortage of campsites. Come for a day hike or spend a weekend!

High Peaks Wilderness Area

The largest wilderness area in the Adirondacks has it all, from rugged terrain to forest cover to wildlife.

Hunting in the High Peaks Wilderness Complex

At 300 square miles, the High Peaks Wilderness covers portions of six towns and three counties – North Elba, Keene, North Hudson and Newcomb in Essex County, along with Harrietstown in Franklin County and Long Lake in Hamilton County. It might be best known for Mt. Marcy, New York state’s highest peak, but hunting opportunities abound here, whether they be small or big game.

Wickham Marsh Wildlife Area

This is a great place for hiking, birding, cross- country skiing, and snowshoeing! There is also a wheelchair accessible trail.

How to get there

There are three locations where you can access the trail system.

Route 373 Trailhead: From the intersection of Route 373 and Route 9 north of Keeseville, follow Route 373 for 1.4 miles to the trailhead on the left.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest

This large, 40,000-acre tract covers portions of five Lake Champlain region towns – Elizabethtown, Westport, Moriah, Crown Point, and Ticonderoga. While the wild forest designation allows this area a higher degree of human interaction, the trails in Hammond Pond are not as heavily traveled as nearby wilderness areas and you can find some solitude here.

There are several access points, including one at Lincoln Pond Campground just outside of Elizabethtown.

LAT: 44°08'16.46"N LON: 73°34'43.67"W

Split Rock Wild Forest Trails

The largest undeveloped tract of land on the Lake Champlain shoreline, Split Rock Wild Forest covers 3,700 acres in the towns of Essex and Westport. The landscape is dominated by Split Rock Mountain; the “split rock” can be seen where the lake meets the land at Whallons Bay. The parcel is also home to the timber rattlesnake, a threatened species in New York.

Getting there

The trailhead on Lakeshore Road, 5.8 miles south of Essex and 4.7 miles north of Westport.

Outdoor Activities

As the sixth largest freshwater lake in the United States, it should come as no surprise that Lake Champlain's fabulous location, stunning shorelines, and deep waters lends itself to myriad of outdoor activities, both on the water and off. A rather...


Hunting in the Lake Champlain region White-tailed deer, black bears, grouse, turkeys, ducks, coyotes, and small game are just a few of the Adirondack wildlife found on one-million acres of public land here. The deep woods and isolated waters have...