Rock Lake (GPS Coordinates 43.8213482, -74.3502601 / Rock Lake, 7946 NY-30, Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812 ) is located northwest of Route 28 and 30,between Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake. While the trail sign says .5 mile the actual distance is closer to .8 mile –about a 20 minute portage. At 0.3 mile the Johnny Mack Brook is on your left. Just over half a mile from the start, the trail comes to a T with a snowmobile trail running below the south shore of Rock Lake. To the right, there is a wide wooden bridge crossing Johnny Mack Brook. Stick with the wide snowmobile trail over 0.15 miles of rolling terrain. When you see a trail breaking off to the left, follow it down to the lake shore where you will find a NYS DEC approved campsite. This is one of five designated camp sites on Rock Lake. There is a second site located along the south shore off the snowmobile trail, and three more sites on the north shore that are typically accessed by boat.
You can follow the snowmobile trail east along the lake to a junction with Rock River Trail. Rock River Trail starts from Route 28 near the trailhead for Sawyer Mountain and about a mile from the start of Rock Lake Trail. Rock River Trail heads further north along the east side of Rock Lake to a trail camp on the Rock River below Rock Lake.
Another way to Rock Lake is to take the Rock River trail and after about 1.5 miles look to your left, and you should be able to see the lake off through the trees. You can bushwhack over to the nice sandy beach on the lake. The trail heads northeast from the road and intersects the Indian Lake and Lake Durant Snowmobile Trail just before reaching a wet brushy area. From this junction the snowmobile trail heads northwest to Lake Durant. The hiking trail turns right crossing a snowmobile bridge over Johnny Mack Brook and turning northeasterly to end at the lake shore. The snowmobile trail continues south-eastly along Rock Lake to the Rock River Trail.
We were destined for Little Tupper Lake and decided to check out Rock Lake instead. In 2008 Skip,Bob and I hiked into Rock Lake to check out the portage trail. There was one vehicle at the parking lot. We shuffled gear, since going to Little Tupper we hadn’t planned on doing a portage. Eric took the kitchen backpack and carried the food pack. Kathryn carried the Bill’s Bag, life jackets and backpack cooler. I carried my backpack,canoe and paddles as we single carried down the portage trail.
At the lake we found two canoes parked along the shore. We looked across the lake and saw a large empty site directly across lake where three years ago we spotted hunters camping during our spotting trip. We landed on the sandy beach, checked out the campsite and decided to stay.
One interesting facet of the campsite was a large number of owl pellets of containing squirrel and mice bones. Eric found many of these pellets below the large white pine trees and collected bones trying to recreate a squirrel skeleton.
In the afternoon we toured around the lake looking for campsites and swimming beaches.
We went swimming from a large sandy beach on the south side of the lake.
After swimming we hung around camp: taking pictures, resting, playing cards and listening to podcasts.
We baked four fruit biscuits,using our Backpacker Oven,and tea in the late afternoon. Below Kathryn wades out to get clean water to filter through our Base Camp water filter. We made pasta primavera for dinner.
In the evening we had a small fire and turned in shortly after nine o’clock.
Sunday morning Eric started and fed a small fire “to keep the bugs away”. Kathryn and I watched a family of sapsuckers flit around the trees above us.
We explored the inlet and outlet of Rock Lake and then went swimming again before having lunch and packing up for our portage out and trip home.