Beaver River The Lost Hamlet

In the furthest reaches of Northern Herkimer is this hamlet Beaver River. North beyond the Fulton Chain is Stillwater Reservoir. The reservoir is part of the Beaver River. On the west end is Stillwater with some camps, ranger station, lodging and a shop: THEY LOVE THEIR LOONS. One route runs east from Lowville and southeast through Big Moose Station to Eagle Bay. It brings the reservoir vehicular access from civilization. On the east end of the reservoir is the hamlet of Beaver River. The road in, Carthage Rd, was inundated by the reservoir. Accept for having a railroad the hamlet became cut off from civilization. Surprisingly, this place has survived. There are a lot of camps there. It even has a hotel.

YNN did an article on Beaver River. It showed a specially configured car called a high rail. It can be used on the railroad and on highways. I saw an example of a high rail on You-Tube. I love it. A resident would drive to Big Moose Station, pick up the railroad, and ride up it to Beaver River. It’s kind of humorous to see a car riding down a railroad.

From what I researched the only way in other then rail is by water or hiking. I chose to hike, because I prefer to be as independent as possible. From Stillwater you can arrange for a boat to Beaver River. There are even ferries for cars. Beaver River has a system of roads. According to the ADK trail guide west-central region, one access point is Grassy Point Rd. a long ways down the lake. The landing is within a mile from the hamlet. There is another boat crossing to a road that was part of Carthage Road. It can be called the six-mile road or on Google Maps Flow Rd. That crossing appears shorter compared to the other. I suppose a seaplane could be used. I even heard of a landing strip. It looks like it’s further up the rail line towards Brandreth near a place labeled Little Rapids. It’s most likely private. The hike starts out from Twitchell Lake. A sign there reads seven miles to Beaver River. If there were any other possible ways, only the locals would know. Obviously during the winter snowmobiles are used.

I can’t believe I made this hike. It’s difficult to dodge the overtime mud slinging in a farm or factory. No sir, I don’t want to work overtime, I’m shooting for a hike tomorrow. Needless to say I graciously worked last Saturday to relieve someone. I wasn’t going to let the job or anyone else kill the hike to Beaver River. The window of daylight hours is closing at an accelerated rate around the coming equinox. So after work I hauled all the way to Big Moose. Old Forge was very congested. I reached the trail at Twitchell Lake by 3:15pm. When I saw the sign say seven miles to Beaver River I almost gave up. Still I pushed forward, determined, even though the time window was closing. I ran, jogged, power walked as long as I could up the trail. After awhile I past a sign saying 4 miles giving me hope. Further up on a ridge, the reservoir was seen through the trees. I ran down that ridge saying to myself I’m going to finish this. I reached Beaver River by 5:25 and couldn’t believe it. It was like walking back in time. There are old style cars everywhere. I walked to the bridge were Norridgewock Lake meets the Reservoir. I snapped a few pictures, and turned back. I couldn’t cross the bridge to where the center of town was. I was in danger of nightfall. When I got back to the car it was 7:30 and I almost lost sight of the trail. Dangerous yes, but at least the overtime hordes didn’t stop me. I finally got to take a glimpse of that mysterious place.

For those of you who might hike the trail to the Oktoberfest, here is what to expect. You drive past Old Forge to Eagle Bay on route 28. Turn left on Big Moose Rd for Seven miles. Take a right on Twitchell Lake Rd for 2 miles to the lake. Walk down the continuing dirt road to a sign pointing to Beaver River. Go right and straight up the steep ridge. Make sure you follow the blue disks and are immediately climbing. A deceptive side trail branches to the left at the beginning. After the steep ridge is a decent to Oswego pond. The trail crosses the outlet and is noticeable. Then the inlet is crossed starting the twitchell mountain pass. The trail will rap graciously around the mountain and take you down to another stream a long ways off. Cross the stream and start the next ridge. Soon a sign of hope will appear. Three point five miles has been completed. Move to the top of the ridge, down into another stream and up another knob. The trail raps around the knob and an exciting view of the reservoir can be seen through the trees. The final descent is long, but exciting, because you know your almost there. The trail crosses one major stream half way down. At the end is a register box and a cabin. You have entered the roads of Beaver River at Norridgewock Lake. Turn right on the road and then turn left at the next. Cross the bridge and there you are.

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