Best Tips for camping in the Seward Range:
1. If you want a lean-to, assess your odds of getting one in advance simply by counting the cars at the trailhead. Twelve or more cars will definitely mean that the "Blueberry" and "Ward Brook" lean-tos (the shortest hikes from the trailhead) will be taken and there will be numerous tents pitched near the lean-tos.
2. If you continue on to the third camp site, named "Camp Four", you are very apt to discover one or both of the lean-tos there to be empty. Also, the likelihood of tents nearby is small. Again, this is based on 12 cars at the trailhead.
3. Get to the trailhead before 9 AM on weekends and plan to keep walking until you find an empty lean-to, if you prefer a lean-to.
4. Starting early, but stopping at either the first or second lean-to will probably mean that by mid-afternoon the immediate area will be full of tents.
Approximate Distances to Landmarks, Lean-to's and Trails
0.0 mi., Trailhead
4.4 mi., Blueberry Lean-to (1) on BFT
4.5 mi., intersect Ward Brook Truck Trail, end Blueberry Foot Trail
4.7 mi., pass cairn on right marking start of Seward, Donaldson, Emmons Trail at unnamed brook
5.1 mi., Ward Brook Lean-to (1)
5.4 mi., pass cairn on right for Seymour Trail at bridge over unnamed brook
6.0 mi., "Camp Four" Lean-to's (2)
The ADK map and all non-metric USGS maps do not show either of the brooks that the trails to the summits of Seward and Seymour religiously follow, nor do they it show the trails to the summits since that is ADK policy with regard to so-called untrailed peaks. You can't miss the two brooks, however, as you hike in on the Blueberry Foot Trail since the trail passes over each.
The trails to both Seward and Seymour are each marked by a cairn located at the trail's beginning where it intersects the Ward Brook Truck Trail. Since each trail follows its own respective brook, you will cross a good plank bridge (of which there are more than a few) on the Blueberry Foot Trail and immediately see the cairn on your right marking (if you are walking east on the BFT a very clear trail.
If a lean-to is your preference, be aware that you can increase your odds of getting one significantly by using your noggin. There are three lean-to sites scattered along the Blueberry Foot Trail, each well separated from the other two.
Blueberry Lean-to: The site of this lean-to, while closest to the trailhead, and nicely situated on flat, shady ground is quite apt to be very crowded with at least one party in the lean-to and five two-man and larger tents set up nearby. This crowding tends to persist throughout the summer. Outhouse conditions suggest you wear a gas mask and bring your own wipes. You'll be glad you did.Ward Brook Lean-to: If you continue on, you'll come to this lean-to. The lean-to was full and there were also a number of tents in the immediate area, as well.
"Camp Four" Lean-tos: By this time we had realized that in good weather the Seward Range is popular and getting either privacy or a lean-to is not apt to be easy. We were glad we persisted and continued on to the Camp Four Lean-tos. These were the furthest from the trailhead, but the walking had all been flat and the scenery very nice. We found 2 lean-tos, no inhabitants in either, and no tents. This was a very nice location with virtually no through traffic and decent placement for climbing the Sewards. The low occupancy continued for the two nights we were at Camp Four.
The Main Trailhead for the Seward Range is Corey's Road:
From the village of Tupper Lake head east on NY Routes 30 & 3. At about five and a half miles from downtown Tupper Lake the two highways split. Bear right, staying on Rte. 3. Follow Rte. 3 for 2.6 miles to Corey's Road. A brown and yellow DEC sign on the right side of Rte. 3 identifies Corey's as the western approach to the High Peaks.
Follow Corey's Road south. Along Corey's you will encounter a number of access points for horse trails, canoe routes, and hiking trails. Continue on past these often heavily used junctions. Mileage along Corey's Road to the trailhead from Rte 3:
1.2 miles, pavement ends.
2.4 mile, long iron bridge over Stony Brook.
3.9 miles, Pickerel Pond trailhead
5.8 miles, trailhead for the Blueberry Foot Trail to the Seward Range, parking and register
The trailhead for the Seward Range is a large parking lot able to comfortably hold 20 cars. At its entrance is a large sign (see photo) that clearly indicates that you've arrived. It is nearly impossible to miss the trailhead if you keep track of your mileage from Route 3 or if you simply look for the large sign. If, in spite of this you do miss it, you'll not travel far before you encounter a closed gate that prohibits you from going further on Corey's Road.
Maps, Brooks, Lean-to's, and Cairns along the Blueberry Foot Trail and Ward Brook Truck Trail Maps are confusing regarding the landmarks along these trails. Reading these next few paragraphs will tell you what is where and how to get a lean-to and which lean-to's are closer to which peaks.
The ADK map is the only map we are familiar with that actually shows the 4 lean-to's in their approximate locations relative to Seward and Seymour Mtns. Yes, there are 4 that are well situated for those wanting to do the Seward Range via the Blueberry Foot Trail (BFT). The McMartin map incorrectly shows only one lean-to drawn in in red, but if you
look close, you will see tiny black dots correctly marking the locations of all 4 lean-to's.