Hiking on Wellesley Island

Clayton, NY

It is difficult to keep the Nimble Hiker “nimble” in the flat terrain of northern New York.  But some research revealed a hiking trail along the shore of the St. Lawrence River on nearby Wellesley Island.  So one day last week we crossed the Thousand Island Bridge to check out the hike.

Thousand Island Bridge span to Wellesley Island

If you have a fear of high spans this bridge is not for you.  It’s a bit steep with only two lanes and no shoulder.

Going up from the mainland

Coming down on to Wellesley Island

Once on the island we headed for the nature center in the Thousand Island State Park where the trail begins.

Beginning of the trail

While its not like hiking the Rockies, there is some rock scrambling to this trail . . .

. . . and even some slick rock along the way.

At many spots there are great views of the river and some of the nearby islands

At one point we came upon what are called Glacier Potholes.  The holes were created by retreating glaciers, but no one is exactly sure how.  The one pictured below is three feet wide and fifteen feet deep.

As we approached a channel between Wellesley and another nearby island called the Narrows, we watched many boats of all sizes entering or leaving the channel.

At the top of a rise we found a great view of the Narrows with a Clayton Island Tours boat navigating the channel.  This is the same tour we took earlier in the week.

The Narrows provided a great spot for “lunch with a view.”

We continued following the trail around the island.  At one point it went down a steep grade into a ravine . . .

. . . and back up the other side.

More great views of the river and nearby islands continued to appear along the trail.

The water of the St. Lawrence is almost perfectly clear.  The tree pictured below is completely submerged, but easily visible.  The clear water is the result of the Zebra Mussel, an invasive species that first appeared in the river and the Great Lakes in 1988.  While Zebra Mussels do filter the water, they are considered invasive because they disrupt the ecosystems  and damage harbors and waterways, ships and boats, and water treatment and power plants.  Water treatment plants are most affected because the water intakes bring the microscopic free-swimming larvae directly into the facilities. The Zebra Mussels also cling on to pipes under the water and clog them.

Clear water of the St. Lawrence River

After about three miles the trail turns inland.  Along the trail we saw evidence of beaver activity on many trees.

Approaching the end of the trail, we crossed a large wetland area.

Soon we were back at the nature center after hiking almost five miles.  After all the great hiking we did the past year out west it felt good to get “back on the trail” for a while.  We are soon leaving the Thousand Islands and moving to our former home town of York, PA for a long visit, so we plan to check out some hiking in that area.

More on that later . . .

Sunset over the St. Lawrence

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20 Responses to Hiking on Wellesley Island

  1. Gay Taylor says:

    Sure looked good seeing those feet with a view! Thanks for sharing the beautiful sights with us! The tree the beavers have worked on is cool!

  2. Lisa says:

    YAY! You found some decent hiking! Looks like the weather was pretty cool as well, that’s got to be a nice change. Loved the beaver cut tree!

    Metamorphosis Lisa

  3. Janna says:

    It does feel good to be out hiking again, doesn’t it. We enjoyed our rock scrambling yesterday.

  4. Ingrid says:

    Glad to see those used hiking shoes in a photo again. Weather must be cooling….pants in lieu of shorts. Amazing what your readers notice….LOL. The lush vegetation is a contrast to the arid climate of the west. Diversity…the beauty of this lifestyle 😉

  5. LuAnn says:

    It must have felt great to stretch those legs and hit the trails again. We do miss the west and all the fabulous hiking trails.

  6. I HATE high bridges. I just put my head down and close my eyes when we go over them.

    You two have more clothes on up there in the summer than you had on in Utah in the winter…what a hoot.

    Boy was this one tame hike compared to what you two are used to. I love the Narrows. What a gorgeous view of the water and the traffic on it.

  7. There really are some nice places to hike in the east but the west can get you spoiled! Our family used to camp at Wellesley Island State Park. Thanks for the tours of the area.

  8. Margie says:

    We have “potholes” above the St Croix River north of Stillwater, Minnesota, and they seem to think they were caused when the water of the river had not yet eroded the cliff sides of the river to the depth that they are now and that a boulder had drilled the walls of the holes due to the current which just kept swirling them around. Some of the potholes still have the boulder in them… : )
    Enjoy your blog – began reading it when you were still out west; fabulous pictures and stories. Safe travels…

  9. Donna Huffer says:

    Can’t remember where we met you but I see you are near my old stomping grounds. I grew up in Henderson Harbor sw of Watertown. My folks owned the West View Lodge and the marina across the street. Pretty area. Also if you haven’t been to Sackets Harbor it has a lot of history from the French & Indian War or the war of 1812. Can’t remember which.

  10. Donna Huffer says:

    Oh did you see the Heart Island Castle on your boat tour. If not be sure to go back.

    • placestheygo says:

      We’ve been to Bolt’s Castle several times in the past but not this trip. We really just wanted to take a boat trip on the river this time. No stopping.

      We’ve been through Sackets Harbor on motorcycle trips but have never spent any time. Maybe one day.

      Thanks for following along with us:)

  11. Pam says:

    In spite of the relatively flat terrain, looks like you are finding ways to stay nimble. I love anything on the water so this would be my kind of hike. High bridges–not so much–especially if we are in the motorhome.

    I noticed the long pants too. I would have thought it to be warmer there this time of year. We have heard that it has been a cooler summer in most places. We are enjoying a balmy 70 degree day here in Astoria. :>)

  12. While you were hiking along the river of St Lawrence we were biking along the Gulf of St Lawrence in PEI. And Pam you are absolutely right, the island is beautiful!

  13. rommel says:

    That humongous rock! It looks like you are hiking on top of a turtle shell. And that last shot is for the win!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Rommel! Actually, the rock was quite steep for the area. It doesn’t look as high in the photo. It was a “little” taste of what we miss so much in the west.

  14. Dave says:

    I could drive that bridge, but it would be a hard one for me to walk over unless I was right down the middle of the road. Nice sunset! –Dave

  15. Bob and Jo says:

    What a gorgeous area, definitely added to our list.

  16. Where was the trailhead? I’m going up tomorrow and that’s the exact hike I want. I see the narrows by boat several times a year and always wondered how to get on that trail.

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