Capital District Wildlife Management Area
|This 4153 acre contains a number of old roads some of which are drivable. Except for Miller Road and part of Black River Road, these are not plowed and can be good for cross country skiing. It also encompasses the Cherry Plains State Park.|
There are plowed (eventually) parking areas at the south end of Black River Pond on Miller Road.
Black River Road
Plowing of Black River road ends at the bridge over the Black River. There might be space for a few cars here in winter although the hill can be icy. Road is generally ascending in elevation until the junction with West Road. Looks like it generally descends after that until the intersection with Calvin Cole Road where it apparently becomes plowed again.
West Road is another drivable road in season, wide and fairly smooth. After a brief downhill section after the intersection with Black River Road it seems to generally ascend until you reach the junction with the road that heads back to Cherry Plain State Park. After that West Road goes over several small knolls before reaching the Dingman Road entrance.
When doing a Black River/West Road ski loop (~5 miles) it may be advisable to do so counterclockwise to take advantage of the slope. Also there's not a lot of unplowed space along side Miller road so be prepared to walk about a mile. One possible alternative might be to ski on the west side of the Black River Pond and then bushwack along the river (if parking on Black River road). There is a road/trail that goes a little beyond the causeway at the end of the lake. The terrain is a little hummocky along the river, going up the slope a little might provide a better route.
Trails West of West Road
DEC has a marked trail loop that follows the west border of the CDWMA and takes in the old sawmill site. There are two junctions on West Road that are marked with red markers. The northernmost junction follows an old road that will take you to the sawmill site. At about .25 mile a trail heads west and passes on high ground between two boggy areas for another .25 mile to the CDWMA boundry. The DEC trail heads south along a new trail, fairly rocky with a lot of new growth of Witch Hazel making for somewhat tricky footing and eventually reaches the old road at the sawmill site. The trail does continue West onto private land that is open for public hiking and leads to Teal Pond and the fire tower site as well as a number of other old roads and trails heading West and South. There appears to be a fair amount of ATV traffic along that trail from West Road even though the CDWMA trail is posted against motorized access. The Southern DEC trail junction follows an old trail and joins that road shortly before the sawmill site.
Dingman Road Entrance map
Dingman Road is an adequate dirt road off of Taborton Road. It is the next road to the East from Bower Road in case its sign goes missing again. It has a couple of side roads leading left. There is a snowplow turnaround spot at the end where 4 or 5 cars can be parked. This spot has the advantage of already being on the plateau so you don't have to climb to reach West Road.
Natural Areas of Rensselaer County, New York
NYS State Parks
DEC State Lands Interactive Mapper