short day hikes
Short Day Hikes Near Campus
- Snowy Mountain
- Pillsbury Mountain
- Good Luck Lake and Cliffs
- Bald Mountain
- West Mountain
- Blue Mountain
Snowy Mt. is a more challenging day hike. It misses being a 4000 ft peak by only 101 ft and beats some of the 46 peaks in its climbing ascent of 2106 ft. The total distance hiked from trail head to summit is 3.9 miles with an elevation of 3899 ft.
In winter this is a popular snow shoeing trail although the steep incline near the top requires the same skills and equipment used for winter climbs in the High Peaks.
The trail is marked with red DEC trail markers. From the trail head, head West for 1.2 miles on fairly level ground before crossing Beaver Brook. After the first crossing of Beaver Brook the trail turns steep and then becomes more gradual before crossing Beaver Brook a second time at 1.9 miles. About 180 ft after the second crossing of Beaver Brook the trail opens up. During the next 1.3 miles of steady climbing you will cross the stream and several tributaries. After a total of 3.2 miles, the trail turns right and ascends an extremely steep slope to a cliff. The cliff offers a panoramic view of Indian Lake and beyond to the Siamese Pond Wilderness Area. Look for a spring at the edge of the woods; this is where the trail continues to the fire tower at the summit. (There is a side trail that goes 50 yards West from the spring to a lookout toward Squaw and Panther Mts.) From the spring, the summit is 500 ft SW up a slight incline. From the fire tower a spectacular view of Indian Lake, the Siamese Wilderness Area, and distant mountain ranges to the East can be seen.
Total Driving Time: About 2 hours 15 min.
Total Driving Distance: About 89.9 miles.
Head down College Hill road and through the center Clinton, staying on 12B North. Follow the signs for 12B N which joins 5 E. This becomes I-790 E for .4 miles before turning into NY-8 N. Stay on NY-8 N for 34.5 miles until the town of Speculator. At Speculator turn left to stay on NY-30 N. Follow this for 17.2 miles until the trailhead. The trail head is 4.5 miles after Lewey Lake Outlet on the West side of the road. Look for a well marked parking area on the East side of the road. The trailhead is directly across the road from this parking area.
(For more information see ADK book 3, pg. 90 – 91)
Pillsbury Mt. is a moderate to difficult climb with a fire tower at the summit that provides some striking views. The total distance hiked from the trail head to the summit is 1.6 miles with an elevation of 3597 ft.
In winter this is a great snowshoe trail, though the road into the trail head is closed, so round trip distance from Mason Lake is 15.8 miles.
The Pillsbury trailhead is immediately left of the trail register at the rear of the parking area. The trail starts off going West and descends for .1 miles to cross Miami River (more like a brook at this point). After crossing the river, the next mile’s grade varies from moderate to steep. At 1.3 miles there is an indistinct trail junction at the base of a steep rock area. (The side trail is to the right and in poor condition). The main trail takes you over the steep rocks and to the fire tower. From the fire tower one can see Snowy Mt., Cedar River flow, and West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area, among other views.
Total Driving Time: About 2 hours and 30 min.
Total Driving Distance: About 86.3 miles.
Head down College Hill road and through the center Clinton, staying on 12B North. Follow the signs for 12B N which joins 5 E. This becomes I-790 E for .4 miles before turning into NY-8 N. Stay on NY-8 N for 34.5 miles until the town of Speculator. At Speculator turn left to stay on NY-30 N. Follow this for 8.1 miles until the trailhead. Although closed from December 1 to May 1, Perkin’s Clearing Road (a dirt road) on your left is excellent during the remainder of the season. Follow Perkin’s Clearing Road SW for 3.3 miles until a road junction at Perkin’s Clearing. At this junction turn right from the Perkin’s Clearing DEC trail sign. The road passes a metal gate at 3.4 miles and crosses a bridge at 4.6 miles. After about 5.1 miles you will have reached Sled Harbor. Past Sled Harbor go up a small grade and bear right at the junction. You should reach the trailhead and parking area after a total of 6.3 miles off the main road.
(For more information see ADK book 7, pg. 115-116)
Good Luck Lake and Cliffs
The hike to Good Luck Lake is a relatively easy hike over attractive level terrain. The lake itself has some small, rocky but sandy beaches that provide great spots for swimming. The total distance hiked to the lake is 1.8 miles. The hike to Good Luck Cliffs follows most of the trail to Good Luck Lake before turning off to go up to the cliffs. The total distance hiked to the top of the cliffs is 2.5 miles.
In winter this trail is a great cross country ski trail with some ups and downs for some nice runs. Beware that snowmobilers do use this trail too. Many people snowshoe or ski the trail that turns off to Good Luck Cliffs, stashing their skis before the steep ascent to the cliffs.
Both trails start by entering the forest after passing a metal barrier that closes the trail to motorized vehicles in all seasons but winter. Heading NW the trail is a bit rocky in places. At .2 miles the trail jogs left and then right, leveling off at .3 miles. The trail then descends into a boggy area before reaching a three way split at .5 miles. Take the left-most trail in the fork. After taking that left, a wet area is almost immediately crossed. The trail levels out at .6 miles before it hits another wet area at .9 miles. After a short ascent you should be able to see Good Luck Lake on the left at 1 mile. Though you continue to glimpse the lake through the trees, the trail stays on the ridge. Between 1.1 and 1.2 miles the trail crosses a small snowmobile bridge, a larger bridge spanning a stream, and another snowmobile bridge. At this point the trail comes to another big board bridge, and a well worn but unmarked path to the right. (see your specific heading for further directions).
Good Luck Lake: Take the big board bridge and the trail will then jog left. At 1.3 miles another wet area is crossed and then the trail reaches a junction. Take the unmarked path to the left at the junction. This will bring you along the ridge for another .4 miles before taking you to a nice beach on the lake.
Good Luck Cliffs: Take the unmarked trail to the right of the big board bridge. The trail leads NW and re-crosses the stream at 1.5 miles. The trail then proceeds up a draw that is clogged with boulders. After climbing through the draw, skirt the giant boulders and cross the stream once more at 2 miles. Heading due N a small clearing is crossed at 2.1 miles where a fork can be discerned. The left fork is the main path, although the right path will take you through some scrub and then rejoin the main trail .2 miles later. The path begins to climb steeply now, and then levels off. At 2.4 miles the path bends left and begins to traverse the ridge. Soon it takes a sharp right and brings you to the top of the cliffs. The good sized ledge provides a spectacular view of Spectacle lake, with nice shade from twisted white pines.
Total Driving Time: About 1 hour and 39 minutes.
Total Driving Distance: About 62.6 miles.
Head down College Hill road and through the center of Clinton, staying on 12B North. Follow the signs for 12B N which joins 5 E. This becomes I-790 E for .4 miles before turning into NY-8 N. Stay on NY-8 N for 8.5 miles. Then continue onto S Main St/ NY-28 S. Follow this for 8.1 miles before turning left onto Fairfield St/ NY-29 E. Stay on this road for 9.6 miles before veering left onto NY 29A E. Follow this for 14.6 miles, with a right to stay on the road at after being on NY 29A E for 5.4 miles. Take a sharp left onto NY-10. Approximately 5.9 late you will cross the Sacandaga River for the second time. The parking turnout is on the E (right) side of the road. The trailhead is directly across from where you park.
(For more information see ADK book 7, pg. 204 – 205)
This short and easy trail climbs through the woods and then through open rock to a fire tower that is climbable. The summit provides great views, including some of the High Peaks on clear days. The total hike is .9 miles with an elevation of 2350 ft.
In winter many people snowshoe this trail. Crampons may be needed for the icy summit on the rocks.
The trail is well used and climbs mostly South along moderate grades with a few steep pitches. The climb starts in deciduous forest, but soon gives way to open rock. A large part of ascent is on bedrock. Starting at .4 miles, views of Second, Third, and Fourth lakes form the edge of cliffs on the left side of the trail. The views from the top include the first four lakes of the Fulton Chain, Blue Mt., and from the fire tower views of some of the High Peaks are possible.
Total Driving Distance: About 65.7 miles.
Total Driving Time: About 1 hours 45 minutes.
(For more information see ADK book 5, pg. 108 – 109)
This route extends along the West side of Raquette Lake going roughly North and finally West to the summit. The markers on this trail are sporadic. The total distance to the summit is 4.8 miles with an ascent of 1302 ft.
In winter this trail is suitable for backwoods skiing or snowshoeing, although West Mt. has a steep slope, making it doable for only experienced skiers.
After a narrow, bumpy start, the trail crosses an open grassy area at .4 miles, and .1 miles later crosses woods roads in areas where the route has been unclear. At 1.4 miles, the trail joins the old road of the Sucker Brook Bay Trail. It follows this road right across Beaver Brook. At 2.1 miles the trail reaches a junction. Take the left branch of the junction and pass a stand of tall white pines. At 2.4 miles, pass a side road on the right. At 2.9 miles the trail crosses Sucker Brook. At 3.1 miles the trail turns left off the old road and heads North to another junction with an old road. These two roads lead East and join at a private camp. (On the return trip be careful to go right on the blue trail between these two roads.) The trail heads North East and crosses Stillman Brook at 3.6 miles. At 3.9 miles the trail begins to actually ascend West Mt. The trail reaches a clearing near the summit at 4.8 miles. There follows a short steep pitch through spruce to the summit.
Total Driving Time: About 2 hours 10 minutes.
Total Driving Distance: About 84 miles.
Head down College Hill road and through the center Clinton, staying on 12B North. Follow the signs for 12B N which joins 5 E. This becomes I-790 E for .4 miles before changing back into NY-12 N. Stay on NY-12 N for 23.1 miles. Turn right onto NY-28 N. Follow Ny-28 N for 48.6 miles before turning left at Co Rd. After .3 miles on Co Rd turn right to stay on Co Rd for .1 miles more. Then continue on Antlers Rd for .3 miles. Turn left onto Brown Tract Rd. Drive West for .55 miles and park in the parking area on the left. The trail begins another 120 ft farther West down the road on the right. The entrance to the trail has been hard to find, so keep your eyes peeled.
(For more information see ADK book 5, pg. 129-132)
This is a popular trail that climbs from the road to the summit of Blue Mountain, where you will find a fire tower that provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. The trail itself is mostly well-worn and of a moderate grade, but there are some areas that are rougher and steeper. From trailhead to summit is 2.0 miles, with an ascent of 1550 ft.
In the winter this trail is best for snowshoeing for properly equipped mountaineers – there can be dangerous winter summit conditions including white-outs and powerful winds below zero degrees, so be sure you are well prepared before heading out in the winter months.
The trail begins as an old road from the parking lot, with a gentle climb and one steeper section. The road ends at about 0.3 mi, after which point the trail turns towards the SW ridge. After crossing 3 streams, there is another short steep climb where you meet an older trail – from here on the climb is a steady uphill on some rocky terrain. At 1.6 mi the rock footway becomes continuous, and the final .25 mi is mostly flat. The fire tower is visible at about 2.0 mi. While the view is somewhat blocked by balsam fir trees on the ground, climb the fire tower as far as the landing for a great panoramic view of the High Peaks region.
Total Driving Time: About 2 hours, 43 minutes
Total Driving Distance: About 107 miles
Head down College Hill road and through the center Clinton, staying on 12B North. Follow the signs for 12B N which joins 5 E. This becomes I-790 E for .4 miles before changing back into NY-12 N. Stay on NY-12 N for 23.1 miles. Turn right onto NY-28 N. Follow NY-28 N for 61.7 mi, and continue straight on NY-28 N/ NY-30 N so that you drive about 1.4 miles beyond the Adirondack Museum to a parking lot on the right (East) side of the road. The trailhead is marked with DEC red markers.
(For more information See ADK book 5, pg 151-155)