Nothermark, thanks for that link, I hadn't come across it yet. Yes all state campgrounds up there closing this weekend, and we are going the next weekend hopefully.
Adkphoto, I have become slightly obsessed with the Tongue Mountain Trail since you posted that, but that will have to be another hike. It looks awesome.
Raiffnuke, is Hogback road right around Lake George Village? I see a short section of a road called Hogback up near Crown Point. I'd love to be able to at least cruise by these sites and check them out.
We might be reduced to family type campground, use the primitive sites, and then trek to some of these great day hikes you guys have posted for me. I sure appreciate the help and suggestions.
Berksound, this is really way late for your needs, but keep these in mind for the next time you're planning on hiking/hanging in and around Lake George. I did Black Mountain this past summer and the view at the top was worth the effort to get there. I've done the others previously. The write ups below are not mine. I researched them over the years and add the text of each research effort into my Lake George Area Hikes folder on my laptop.
With regard to all of these hikes, there are great trails that are clearly marked. If you want to camp, you would be camping off trail. Also known as "Stealth Camping". In any event, check them out and plan for one of these, you won't regret it.
All the best,
1. Black Mountain
Black Mountain, a relatively easy hike with a few challenging spots, offers four incredible rewards for the price of one:
First, you get a breathtaking view of the entire northern portion of Lake George, including the island-dotted Narrows to the south, the spectacular Anthony’s Nose (AKA Profile Rocks) and Rogers’ Slide farther to the north, and the many jagged peaks of Tongue Mountain looming across from you. Also included in the view are the rounded knobs of Elephant and Sugarloaf Mountains, which are part of the larger Black Mountain.
The summit is crowned by one of the few remaining fire towers in the Adirondacks. Up until the 1970’s, fire wardens spent the entire summer and fall searching the horizon for forest fires. The tower, now out of service, is a reminder of our historical wilderness heritage.
Three small ponds (Black Mountain, Lapland, and Milman) lie within a mile of the summit, to the south and east. Two others (Fishbrook and Greenland Ponds) are two miles farther south. Trails lead to all of them.
Finally, after working up a powerful sweat from the hike, you can cool off in crystal-clear waters at the Washington County Beach in Hulletts Landing, and watch as the sun sets behind Tongue Mountain’s massive Deer Leap cliff. (Bring swimsuits!)
CAUTION: At one point, there is a tricky and easy-to-overlook trail junction. The trail to the summit will bear left, while the other trail plunges straight down (a very sharp right). You won’t notice it on the way up, but you will get seriously lost if you miss it on the descent.
Remember, the main trail bears to the right on the descent. (When people walk downhill, they generally walk faster, and tend to pay less attention to their surroundings.) SOLUTION: Be on the lookout for this junction on the trip up. When you find it, mark it with a temporary “sign”: pieces of yarn tied to branches, a pattern of sticks and/or stones in the middle of the trail, etc.
• The mountain is accessible by boat at Black Mountain Point.
• Black, Buck, and Sleeping Beauty Mountains, as well as the ponds near them, are interconnected by trails. If you are a more experienced hiker and prefer the challenge, try the trails around Tongue Mountain.
GETTING THERE FROM LAKE GEORGE
There are two options:
East route: Head south on Route 9 to the junction of Route 149. Turn left on Route 149, and follow it until it joins Routes 4/22. Turn left on Routes 4/22, and follow it until you reach Whitehall. Bear left on Route 22, and follow it through the lower end of Lake Champlain. Make a left turn on (Washington County) Route 6. Follow Route 6 toward Hullett’s Landing. Be prepared to take a left on Pike Brook Road. The trailhead is approximately one mile on the right side of that road. To reach the beach, turn left on Route 6.
West route: At the northern end of Lake George Village, head north on Route 9N toward Ticonderoga. (Part of this road is the steep, hilly section near Tongue Mountain.) When you reach the Village of Ticonderoga, Route 9N will make a sharp left turn. Follow 9N to a four-way intersection with Route 74. Go right on Routes 22/74, for a short distance. Route 74 will bear left, toward Fort Ticonderoga. Continue to go straight on Route 22. Continue south on Route 22 (You will see Lake Champlain on your left) until you reach (Washington County) Route 6. Turn right on Route 6, and follow it toward Hullett’s Landing. Be prepared to take a right on Pike Brook Road. The trailhead is approximately one mile on the right side of that road. To reach the beach, turn left on Route 6.
(Take a few minutes for a scenic wonder: On Route 9N, three miles past the Deer Leap trailhead, a pull-off to your right offers a stunning view of the lake below, and of spectacular Bloomer Mountain above. The charming Union Chapel lies a short distance to the north.)
2. Buck Mountain
The bald-rock summit of Buck Mountain offers, above all, a sense of serenity and peace. The cool breeze, the endless expanse of green, and the spectacular scenery all unite to give you a unique Adirondack experience.
The islands sparkle like jewels below. On a clear day, you can see the High Peaks of the Adirondacks. Boats (ranging from kayaks to paddle-wheelers) mingle below. Lake George and Bolton Landing are dollhouse villages that shimmer in the sun. Dome Island (a well-named wildlife sanctuary) lies almost directly to your northwest. (Barbara McMartin’s "50 Hikes in the Adirondacks" describes Buck Mountain as “a perfect introduction to the Adirondacks.”)
Buck is a moderate hike of three miles (one way), with a few challenging spots. Be sure to follow the yellow markers! Be especially careful not to take a right-hand turn early in the hike. Check out both Cat Mountain and Tongue Mountain for a more challenging hike if you prefer.
GETTING THERE FROM LAKE GEORGE
Head south on Routes 9/9N. Turn left at Route 9L. Follow this road, and drive slowly, for you don’t want to miss the magnificent beauty of the too-often-overlooked east side of Lake George. Relax until you pass Cleverdale Road on your left. Immediately after that, take a sharp left on Pilot Knob Road, and follow it to a well-marked parking lot to the trailhead. Buck is also accessible by boat from Pilot knob.
NOTE: Buck can also be reached from the Hogtown area (Town of Fort Ann), near the Shelving Rock and Sleeping Beauty trails.
3. Cat Mountain
Most Lake George hiking trails offer views of small segments of the lake and its surroundings. The Cat Mountain hike lets you see nearly the entire lake, many mountains on its western and eastern shores and many distant mountains to the south & east.
This Adirondack hiking trail (slightly over three miles one-way) offers an amazing variety of terrain, including streams, wetlands, and beaver ponds. The route is generally moderate, with a few challenging spots. There is a side trail to Thomas Mountain, whose summit offers a cabin and a view of the lake. The surrounding mountains offer various levels of trails, ranging from easy to quite challenging. For instance, Black Mountain is comprised of trails ranging from easy to moderate levels, while trails located on Tongue Mountain are more for the experienced hiker.
You may wish to bring binoculars. The summit of Cat is approximately three miles from the lake, and you can’t make out individual land features with the naked eye.
• A map of the “Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve” can be obtained from the Lake George Land Conservancy, PO Box 1250, Lake Shore Drive, Bolton Landing, NY 12814; 518/ 644- 9673.
• No vehicles, fires, or camping are allowed.• Pets are allowed on this trail. The use of a leash is necessary.
GETTING THERE FROM LAKE GEORGE
Head north on I-87, and get off at exit # 24. Turn right on County Route 11, and follow it toward Bolton Landing. (Do NOT turn right on County Route 10 (River Road) immediately after the exit.) Drive 2.0 miles until you reach Valley Woods Road, on your right. Turn right, and pull off immediately at a gravel lot: This is the parking area for Cat Mountain. It is poorly marked. The only indicator is a tiny “Protected Natural Area” sign. Be sure to sign the trail register.
ALTERNATIVE RETURN TRIP: Turn right on Route 11, and follow it to its end at Route 9N, for an incredible view of the lake, of several of the Narrows islands, and of Sleeping Beauty and Buck Mountains. When you start to descend, you should start to drive very slowly for two reasons: (1) The road will become steeper, and you will avoid an accident. (2) The view of the lake is fleeting, and you will be able to enjoy it for a longer time. Turn right, and follow it into Bolton Landing, and, from there, into Lake George. If time permits, you may want to spend time in Bolton Landing, a charming Victorian village with great restaurants, free beaches, and a laid-back atmosphere. Parking is usually available at the town hall, a modern building on the right (west) side of 9N.