I am often asked what some good hikes in the Adirondacks might be for families.
It’s a challenge to choose!
Moving from southwest to northeast across the Adirondack Park
After covering several hundred miles of trails and summiting more than 100 mountains throughout the Adirondacks, here are five of my favorites across the Park (so far!) where I have seen families together enjoying the spectacular views.
Bald (Rondaxe) Mountain (Old Forge, NY)
This popular mountain has some of the most wonderful views I have seen anywhere in the Adirondacks.
There is a fire tower atop the sprawling summit, but it is not at all necessary for those afraid of heights to climb up the tower to thoroughly enjoy the commanding view of several lakes along the Fulton Chain. It is close enough to our family camp that we have climbed it numerous times including ascents with school classes on field trips.
There is one steep section early on along the marked trail which might be considered a bit technical, and a balancing act along a ridge we dubbed ‘the dragon’s back’ in one of The Adirondack Kids® books, but once up to elevation where the terrain somewhat evens out there are multiple grand lookouts as you approach the tower.
The trailhead parking lot can be found just north of Old Forge on the Rondaxe Road off Route 28.
Castle Rock (Blue Mountain Lake, NY)
We discovered this mountain doing research for the 17th book in our book series: The Adirondack Kids® #17 – Spies on Castle Rock and the Secrets of the Secret Code.
Located at Blue Mountain Lake, designated parking and the trailhead are found just off Route 30/28N along Maple Lodge Road.
The hike begins on a dirt road and then veers off to the right into the woods where you will find a split in the trail. Follow the trail markers! You can make this trip a 3-mile loop, but I like to head clockwise to the summit and return the same way. There is no way to avoid some elevation gain during a mountain climb, so expect a steep section on this hike as well. The towering rock walls you will pass by will help you understand how the mountain got its name.
There is also a fascinating series of caves you will pass by. You may be tempted to do some exploration, but I would recommend against it since bees are known to have taken up residence within them. Are they found in every cave? I don’t know but have no intention of finding out!
At the summit you will enjoy an impressive view of island-littered Blue Mountain Lake.
Coney Mountain (Tupper Lake, NY)
If I’ve convinced you to do some traveling deeper inside the Adirondack Park, travel along Route 30 between Long Lake toward Tupper Lake. The trailhead parking for Coney Mountain will be found along the highway and should be well marked with a sign by the DEC.
This is a mountain I hope to hike with the grandkids one day. I never would have discovered it if it had not been one among the three mountains that constitute the Tupper Lake Triad (www.tupperlaketriad.com). While there I happened upon some folks that made the hike up Coney a family tradition.
The ascent one way is just over a mile and there is a large and wide-open summit with views in every direction. Neighboring Goodman Mountain is also part of the Triad quest and can be seen from Coney just to the north.
Cobble Lookout (Wilmington, NY)
Our family discovered this great family hike soon after the DEC had established a new trail to the lookout. We had all the grandchildren with us for this one and they loved locating the blue markers and taking turns to help lead the way. We found the meandering trail itself and the 2.6-mile round trip manageable for all three of our generations. There is a wonderful view for such a modest ascent.
Beginning at the 4-corner intersection in Wilmington travel approximately 3 miles on Route 431. When you arrive at the 3-way intersection with the Whiteface Memorial Highway, bear right on Gillespie Drive (County Route 18A). You should find the trailhead past Lake Stevens less than a half-mile on the right.
You can actually see Whiteface Mountain from the lookout and if that makes you curious about what an Adirondack High Peak has to offer, consider working into your plans the drive up that fifth highest mountain in the Park!
Mount Jo (Lake Placid, NY)
And if you would like a sweeping view of much of the high peaks wilderness, you might also hike Mt. Jo. This hike is also a 2.6-mile round trip, even shorter depending on which of the two trails you decide to follow.
All three generations in our family tackled this one together as well but understand there is a much steeper ascent and a few more technical spots to negotiate on this mountain! Remember when making plans to hike any trail, there are always more factors to consider than simply the distance being traveled.
The view of the mountains from Mt. Jo is spectacular with Heart Lake in the foreground below. It is from here where many beginning hikers contract ‘summit fever’ and aspire to one day climb all of them!
The trailhead for Mt. Jo is located at the Heart Lake Program Center near Lake Placid. For more information visit the Adirondack Mountain Club’s website at www.adk.org.
Question: Have you discovered a favorite mountain that you and your family have enjoyed? Tell us about it in the comment section below!
It’s not Hollywood, but it served the purpose! This was the simple set-up we used in our home office where Justin & I (Gary) filmed the new ‘About Us’ video that can now be viewed on The Adirondack Kids® official website. We ended up using only our GoPro camera, one external microphone, and natural window light.
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