Photo Credit: Laurie Carr
Lake George, located in northern New York state at the southeast part of the Adirondack Mountains, is full of hiking opportunities for people and dogs of all abilities and ages. Filled with challenging steeper trails with stunning views of Lake George or peaceful paths of undisturbed ponds and wetlands, there is something for everyone. The Lake George Land Conservancy has 13 preserves and parks throughout the Lake George watershed and all are dog friendly. The Conservancy supports the exploration of the areas with dogs but asks that dogs are picked up after and are leashed, most importantly during hunting season.
Amy’s Park: The Bolton property includes the headwaters for Indian Brook and contains important wildlife habitat within its large, unfragmented forest and wetland complexes. Lake George Land Conservancy has created four hiking trails for passive recreation, exploration and education, which include lookout areas to view the active beaver pond and its resident wildlife, as well as a view of Lake George. Dogs and owners are able to hike the entire perimeter of Amy’s Park.
Peggy’s Point:This park includes 315 feet of lake shoreline, a popular spot for anglers and anyone who wishes to sit and enjoy a peaceful moment on the point. Having previously hosted cabins, a convenience store and a gas station, the property is now a beautiful lawn with towering birch trees and space for families to play and picnic together. The lawn is flat and easy to walk for people and dogs of all levels of mobility. In addition, water access is available to let your dog/dogs go swimming.
Last Great Shoreline: The Last Great Shoreline Preserve (LGS) protects approximately 1,925 feet of Lake George shoreline and is one of the most ecologically significant and undeveloped parcels on the eastern shore of Lake George. The Preserve's trail system is currently 3 miles in total length and includes two scenic viewpoints. A seasonal dock here can accommodate multiple boats from dawn to dusk. Canoes and kayaks are welcome along the shore, too!
The Schumann Preserve at Pilot Knob: By far Lake George Land Conservancy’s most popular preserve, this property hosts over 10,000 registered guests each year. Though the hike to the top is moderately steep, hikers are rewarded for their efforts with a shady rest at the preserve’s gazebo and expansive views of Lake George and the Adirondacks. The orange trail leads from the parking area for a steady ascent of 620 feet to the gazebo and scenic lookout, following a sometimes rocky path that can also be wet and slippery at times. After 0.25 miles the trail splits and you can get to the gazebo by either continuing to climb east for another 0.70 miles or head south on a more meandering (longer and drier path) of about 0.85 miles.
The Pinnacle: Just a five-minute drive from quaint Bolton Landing, the trail to the Pinnacle summit provides a rewarding introduction to hiking in the Adirondack Park. The view from the top offers a breathtaking panorama of Lake George. The lookout provides an expansive 270-degree view, including (from left to right) the Tongue Mountain range, the Narrows, Shelving Rock, Buck Mountain, the Town of Bolton, Dome Island, the Bolton Conservation Park, Trout Lake, and much more!
Photo Credit: Amanda Scheidegger
Cook Mountain: The preserve harbors a variety of habitats, from moist wetlands and overgrown farmland to mixed hardwood/coniferous forest and dry rocky-summit grassland. Watch for stumps and old beaver chew marks on the trees bordering the ponds, as you walk along the old railroad bed that passes through the lower portions of the preserve. The three trails of Cook Mountain Preserve offer a variety of experiences for hikers of all ages and abilities. For history buffs, there is a new blue trail that takes you to a cemetery that dates to the Civil War. It is reached from the yellow trail about 0.15 miles past the beginning of the loop.
Pole Hill: The short inner loop trail to Bear Knob is marked with yellow trail disks, and the longer loop trail to Pole Hill Pond is marked in blue. Prepare for wet areas, steep climbs, and rocks. Your rewards will be the spectacular view from Walnut Ridge, serenity of untouched Pole Hill Pond, and abundance of native Adirondack plants and birds. The trail climbs steeply to the top of Walnut Ridge, which has spectacular views of Lake George. It then drops down to Pole Hill Pond. Just before the pond the trail intersects with a trail that will take you across Godwin Preserve to Padanarum Road. You can then continue on to Amy’s Park, via the connector trail.
Photo Credit: Robin Smith
Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve: In addition to preserving Edgecomb Pond, the Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve protects the largest tract of contiguous land remaining in Bolton, yet another step in safeguarding the majestic viewshed of Lake George. Just a five-minute drive from Bolton Landing, the trails to the summits of Cat and Thomas provide a rewarding introduction to hiking the Adirondack trails. Hikers should be aware of hunting seasons and wear bright colors and hike in groups to minimize risk. Mountain biking is allowed on all of the trails. Recommended biking routes would be the orange trail, the yellow trail (to intersection with red) and red trail, from its intersection with yellow to Edgecomb Pond.
For more information about hiking around Lake George, trail details, conditions, and advice, visit the Lake George Land Conservancy website at www.lglc.org or visit their office in Bolton Landing.
Michele DeRossi is the Community Engagement and Events Manager at the Lake George Land Conservancy in Bolton Landing, New York. Michele grew up around Lake George and loves to explore the trails around the watershed with her family’s dog, Gracie. The Lake George Land Conservancy is constantly working to provide new trails, events, and programs for the entire lake community, bringing awareness to the importance of the land that protects the lake.