How to Find the Best Hiking in the Adirondacks and Lake George Area

During your stay at Friends Lake Inn, your nights are filled with gourmet dining experiences and a romantic Adirondack ambiance, but what to do during the day? There is no shortage of day trip options in the Adirondacks, and hiking is one of the most popular ways to take advantage of the season because of the mild temperatures, sunny days, and fiery foliage. The Adirondack region, with its 46 mountain peaks, has a wide range of hiking trails that vary in length and difficulty, so those new to hiking can enjoy safe, easygoing routes as much as experienced hikers can suit up for a challenging day-long adventure. Meander over the trails at your leisure, or power your way to the summit for a breathtaking vista under a flawless blue sky.

Easy Routes for Novice Hikers —

Shelving Rock: An excursion to Shelving Rock has a deceptively rocky start, but don’t be put off—the trail soon widens into a not-too-steep, navigable path up the Eastern side of Lake George that encourages exploration of your surroundings. Along the way, you’ll find the trail’s namesake waterfall, and if you’ve brought a bathing suit and temperatures are agreeable, you can wade underneath the cascades while enjoying a spectacular view of the lake. It takes about an hour to reach the summit.

Pilot Knob Gazebo: A hike through the Pilot Knob nature reserve can be combined with trip to charming Lake George Village. The trail takes you to a gazebo overlooking Lake George and can be traveled in less than an hour. After admiring the view, you can double back on your steps or follow a stream to the falls. This day trip is perfect for anyone looking for less of a rough and ready hike and more of a leisurely picnic day.

Challenging Hikes for the More Experienced —

Buck Mountain: If you can sweat out a four-hour climb to a rocky summit, Buck Mountain will reward you for your troubles. At the peak, hikers are treated to a particularly interesting view of Lake George that includes the village itself and Dome Island. On a clear day, you’ll see the High Peaks rising into the distant sky. Autumn is the perfect time to climb this trail: you’ll pass through the woods and enjoy the sight of brilliant foliage.

Cat Mountain: Every view of Lake George is uniquely remarkable, but the Cat Mountain nature preserve trail provides the most panoramic view—a stunning 270 degrees. A side trail to Thomas Mountain (also worth exploring), the Cat Mountain route travails over streams, wetlands, and the beaver ponds that dot the Adirondack mountain landscape. If you’re a hiker acclimated to navigating the occasional difficult spot, don’t miss this one.

Tongue Mountain: This hike is among the most difficult available, so plan accordingly. Named for its unusual appearance, Tongue Mountain is actually a series of multiple connected peaks. There are endless possibilities for exploration here: coupled with three separate entrances, the nine mile trail will keep you coming back for new adventures, and the incredible view of the shifting colors of Lake George.

Hiking Essentials and Safety Tips —

We want our guests to be safe on their hikes, so if you’re less experienced, please note these guidelines from the Lake George website so that you have a hitch-free day trip.

Clothing: Wear sturdy hiking boots and layered clothing. If you use a knee brace or other supportive wear, put it on or bring it with you just in case. Walking sticks are another popular option for physical support.

Navigation: An up-to-date map and functional compass are essential. Plan your trail in advance, check in at the trailhead, and don’t stray from the path. Set a designated time to turn around and head back so that you don’t end up hiking in the dark, but bring a flashlight just in case.

Food and Water: Bring protein-filled snacks like protein bars and nuts with you in addition to plenty of water. Invest in a reusable water bottle that carries at least 32 ounces.

Cell Phones: These days, we are all used to letting our smartphones to get us out of everyday jams. However, service in the mountains is poor. A map, compass, and designated turn-around time are much more reliable navigation tools than a GPS.

Parting Thought

Of course, these are only a few of the myriad hikes, trails, and nature walks that the Adirondacks and Lake George region have to offer. If you’re still looking for the perfect-sounding trip, or just feeling curious, the Lake George website has plenty of in-depth trail profiles and hiking tips. Do you have a route you love and the photos to prove it? Share them on our Facebook page!