Adirondacks State Park

Hiking around Lake George
Lake George, Adirondacks State Park
Lake George, Adirondacks State Park (Stockbyte/Getty)

The Lake George Region is one of the most scenic areas in New York State. As a result, it has also become a tremendously popular recreation area. Scores of motels, hotels, amusement areas, historic developments, campgrounds, swimming and boating facilities have been developed in order to satisfy public demand.

Thousands of acres of land bordering on the lake and extending to the tops of the surrounding mountains have been acquired by the State of New York in order to preserve the magnificent scenery. In addition, by virtue of original ownership, the people of the State of New York have title to the bed of the lake and to upwards of 80 percent of the nearly two hundred islands that dot its surface. These islands, along with some excellent rivers in the area, make Lake George a joy to paddle.

The Department has developed recreational facilities in the area including three public campgrounds, historic Lake George Battleground Park and the magnificent Lake George Beach State Park. In addition, 48 islands are available for camping and nearly a dozen are developed for picnicking.

The challenge of climbing the numerous mountains overlooking the lake and surrounding area and traveling the forest trails to remote mountain ponds. A system of trails has been developed by DEC to provide the hiker with an opportunity to reach and enjoy the principal points of interest in the interior of the forested areas which surround Lake George. Over 50 miles of foot trails are marked with the round Department trail markers, 3 inches in diameter, in either red, blue or yellow colors.

Prospect Mountain Trail
This red marked trail, 1-5/8 miles long, leads to the summit of Prospect Mountain. To reach the trail from Lake George Village, turn left on Montcalm Street to Smith Street. At Smith Street, turn south 1/2 block to the sign indicating the start of the trail, where it crosses the Northway on an elevated walkway. The climb to the summit is not easy but rewarding. The trail follows in part the road bed of an old funicular railway that served a once thriving summer hotel on the mountain.

Tongue Mountain Range Trail
This trail system contains over 18 miles of foot trails located for the most part on the high ridges and affording many fine views of the surrounding territory. The most popular section of the system follows the ridge of Tongue Mountain 10 miles from its point on the lake to Route 9N, 12.2 miles north of Bolton Landing. There are two lean-tos along the main trail. There are four points of access to the trail system. Two of these points are reachable by land, one being in Clay Meadow and the other at the summit of the Tongue Mountain highway, both on Route 9N. The remaining two points can be reached by water, one at the point of the Tongue and the other at Five Mile Mountain Point. The top of Tongue Mountain is dry and hikers are advised to carry canteens.

A word of caution is due regarding the hazard of rattlesnakes in the area. The situation is not dangerous as long as ordinary precautions are observed. The wearing of high boots and care in the use of hands when climbing are recommended.

Miles Trail Description
00.00 Start of trail on State Highway 9N on summit of Tongue Mountain, 12.2 miles north of Bolton Landing. Follow blue markers. Two hundred feet from start turn sharp left across bridge.
00.65 Top of first easy climb. Yellow marked spur trail to left goes to Deer Leap, one mile. Bear right for main trail.
00.80 First good lookout 200 feet to left. From this point the trail follows an easy upgrade with many fine lookouts.
01.20 Black Ledge. Views of Mother Bunch Islands and the Black Mountain Range.
01.25 Height of land, Brown Mountain. Lean-to, on ledges to right of trail fine view of Adirondack High Peaks and Northwest Bay. Trail follows open woods and ledges.
02.10 By easy grade over the ledges of Huckleberry Mountain, wide-spreading views, to cliff overlooking Northwest Bay, then swinging to left.
03.55 Easy climb over ledges to top of Five Mile Mountain elevation 2,258. Down grade across bridge with spectacular views.
04.95 Trail junction, red and blue trails. Red foot trail to left, 1.35 miles steep down grade to Five Mile Mountain Point on Lake George. Red trail to right, 1.90 miles, to Clay Meadow on Tongue Mountain highway 6.6 miles north of Bolton Landing. Follow blue marked trail straight ahead for point of Tongue.
05.50 Trail junction. Yellow trail to left, 1,500 feet to Fifth Peak lean-to. The views from the shelter and from the open ledges nearby are worth any effort to see. For point of Tongue continue southerly on blue marked foot trail. The foot trail swings around ledges and crosses a plateau through open woods to a lookout westerly.
06.80 Then through thick woods to the first knob of French Point Mountain. Spectacular views.
07.40 Second knob of French Point Mountain. The trail skirts precipitous ledges, offering beautiful views. The trail zigzags down into a deep notch passing interesting ledges and lookouts. A stiff climb from the notch to northerly spur of First Peak.
07.75 First Peak (north spur). Most striking view down the lake through the narrows.
08.90 South spur First Peak. From this point the trail follows the hog back, open ledges; through woods to the point of the Tongue.
10.45 Point of Tongue. Trail swings west. Follow shore of Northwest Bay to the head of the bay and then along the shore of a winding creek and marsh filled with interesting bird life.
14.80 Trail junction with red trail from notch described above at 4.95 miles. Bear left for highway.
15.30 Tongue Mountain Highway at Clay Meadow, 6.6 miles north of Bolton Landing.


Black Mountain Fire Tower Trail
Crowning beautiful Lake George on its eastern side the rocky and formidable Black Mountain rises, grim and austere, from the water's edge. Surely, no vacationist in the Lake George region should miss the awe inspiring view from this mountain top. Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains of Vermont, Lake George and its islands, the Hudson Valley and all the high Adirondack peaks are spread out in one glorious panorama.

This 2-3/4 mile red marked trail starts from Black Mountain Point, about two miles north of the Glen Island headquarters, on the east shore. It is accessible by boat only. The first 1-1/4 miles to Black Mountain Brook are not difficult. At this point you will find the last dependable water supply. The next quarter of a mile follows up the brook to the beginning of the Zig Zag and a steep climb of one mile to the fire observation tower maintained by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

There is a marked approach to Black Mountain from the east by turning off highway Route 22 between Ticonderoga and Whitehall, on the road to Hulett's Landing. By this route cars may be driven to within two miles of the tower and the climb is easier, but still challenging. This trail is marked with red markers.

Alternatively, an 8.6-mile loop route takes in the fire tower, and also takes you to a series of charming ponds along the way.

East Side of Lake George
This system contains nearly 30 miles of trails which provides the hiker with an opportunity to reach and enjoy the principal points of interest in the interior of the vast forested area lying to the east of Lake George in Washington County. The trail system leads the hikers to numerous mountain summits which furnish exceptional views of Lake George, past several picturesque remote ponds and along the eastern shore line of the lake where there are many peaceful bays. Some of the trails in the area have been specially marked for use by horseback riders and snowmobilers.

Rattlesnakes have been seen occasionally on the lower west slopes of Black Mountain, at Black Mountain Point and south along the Lake to Shelving Rock Mountain. This, however, is very rare and if reasonable care is taken, should not deter anyone from enjoying this section of the trail system.

Miles Trail Description
00.00Start of trail at junction of yellow trail and Shelving Rock Road, 1/2 mile north of Upper Hogtown Parking Lot. Yellow trail to S.W. leads 2.5 miles to summit of Buck Mountain (See also a 6.6-mile route to the summit of Buck Mountain.) Fine views of Lake George north to Narrows, and of forest land and small lakes. Continuing SW on yellow markers for another 3.3 miles the trail terminates at Pilot Knob Trailhead on the shore of Lake George. Or you may follow the yellow trail north from Shelving Road.
00.41 Spring-cold mountain spring shaded by dense hardwood forest.
02.21 Trail junction. Follow yellow markers along old road through Dacy Clearing, site of old abandoned homestead to junction with red marked trail. Red trail follows old road upgrade to Bumps Pond overlook 1/4 mile beyond spring. Excellent view of Lake George and area west.
03.38 Along yellow marked trail to summit of Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Moderately steep grade following old bridle trail. Unsurpassed view of the region surrounding Lake George including the Green Mountains of Vermont and view of trail route already covered from Buck Mtn.
04.21 Junction of yellow and red marked trails near outlet of Bumps Pond. Easy downgrade through shady forest growth. 1/10 mile back along red trail to spring near Bumps Pond.
05.21 Fish Brook Pond. Pond stocked with trout by the Department.
05.56 Intersection of red trail to Lake George and main yellow marked trail. Red trail passes around north end of Fish Brook Pond and then west down the notch north of Erebus Mt. to the shore of Lake George, a distance of approximately 3 miles. Fish Brook Pond lean-to north shore of Pond. Follow yellow markers for main trail.
05.64 Junction with red marked spur trail to Greenland Pond, and lean-to, 1 mile to east.
06.51 Milman Pond. A picturesque wilderness pond, lean-to.
08.41 Junction with blue marked trail to Lapland Pond and Tower trail to Pike Brook Road. 2.25 miles to Pike Brook Road. Follow yellow markers to left. Lean-to at Lapland Pond.
08.76 Round Pond.
09.18 Black Mt. Pond, lean-to.
09.43 Junction with red trail from Black Mountain Fire Tower to Black Mountain Point. Red trail to right to tower .75 miles. Steep trail up ledges. End of yellow trail.
11.43 Black Mountain Point. Red trail follows common route down mountain. No camping permitted. Follow short yellow marked trail south along lakeshore.
11.68 Junction, red marked trail to left ascends sharply for 3 miles to Fish Brook Pond. (See description at 5.56 miles). This is a good two-hour climb. Continue ahead on red trail along lakeshore. Trail follows old road past beautiful Red Rock Bay.
14.88 Spur trail to summit Shelving Rock Mountain (yellow markers) .60 mile to summit. Extensive view north toward the Narrows.
15.89 Junction of trail with town road leading from Hogtown to Shelving Rock. Trail follows town road (red markers).
19.29 Junction with main yellow marked trail at parking area on Shelving Rock Road.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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