|Hiking and canoeing are very popular at Milford House. We have numerous trails that let you combine these activities for an interesting adventure. Trails lead to four outlying lakes and a large stillwater. At each of these locations you will find a locked canoe put there for the free use of guests of Milford House. Keys to the locks are available at the front desk. This arrangement assures that only one party will arrive at a lake expecting to use the canoe. Be sure to take your paddles and life jackets, which we will provide.
GANG LAKE TRAIL
Probably the most popular trail is the one from the northeast corner of Boot Lake to Gang Lake. This trail is an easy, short walk between the lakes. In Gang Lake you will find a picnic table on Hal’s Rock on the shore of the major island. This is a delightful place to enjoy your picnic lunch or an afternoon rest. Loons are frequently seen on Gang Lake and occasionally a mink may be seen on the rocks or running along the shore. There is a well-marked, short trail connecting Gang and Thomas Lakes. Like Gang, Thomas has its own locked canoe. On Thomas Lake, see if you can find the babbling brook that runs into the narrow cove at the far left of the opposite shore. In years past there was good trout fishing in this inlet cove. Enjoy your adventure and leave plenty of time to get back to your cabin in time for a rest before dinner.
The McLellan Trail is a loop about 5 Km. through the woods and about 3.2 Km. on roads. The trail is clearly marked with red paint blazes on the trees. The first point of interest you come to along this trail is the McLellan Stillwater, with a canoe. A paddle up the Stillwater is worth the time as it traverses beautiful marsh lands and beaver are sometime seen. You can paddle the Stillwater all the way to where a narrow stream flows in from Big McLellan Lake, though depending on the activity of the resident beavers, you may need to pick your canoe over a beaver dam or two.
Continuing along the trail you will cross the stream below a small beaver dam coming to the next point of interest, Little McLellan Lake with its own canoe. Mink are sometimes seen playing in the lake and on the shores. If you use this canoe be certain to mark the landing spot because it can be hard to recognize it on your return.
Still proceeding along the trail you will come to Big McLellan Lake and another locked canoe. There is also a picnic table at this location. Big McLellan is a much larger lake with numerous islands and fun to explore, but again, be sure to remember the landing spot because it is easy to lose your bearings on Big McLellan.
Many guests return to the lodge from Big McLellan by returning to the main trail and turning left to backtrack as they came in. However you may wish to turn right to continue the loop. For some distance the trail follows close to the lake shore but eventually winds out of the forest onto a road which you follow back to Milford House. After all this you will have a good appetite for dinner.
This trail is a pleasant, easy walk along the shores of Geier Lake and Boot Lake. It will take you past two Milford House landmarks. “Pompey Rock” marks the boundary between Geier and Boot Lakes. The “Needles Eye” is a short and narrow waterway, passable by canoe only at high water in the spring. At two points along the trail there are comfortable benches where you can relax and enjoy the view of the lakes. Early in the season along the Geier Lake end of the trail there is usually a good display of trillium and lady slippers in bloom. The trail ends at the site of the very old ice house where winter ice blocks were cut and stored for summer use.
BOOT LAKE TRAIL
Our newest trail (2010) is the Boot Lake Trail and is about .5 kilometers long. Enter at the sign post just past Geier cabin and follow the wide trail through an old growth forest to the shore of Boot Lake with its huge granite boulders. Following the shore, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a beaver or loons in the lake, and keep your ears and eyes open for woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and a variety of warblers in the summer. Turtles often bask in the sun on low rocks or logs at the water’s edge. The trail gently rises and comes out just below Little cabin. From there turn left and watch for the sign for Pompey trail and continue on your hike or return to the main cabin road.