Castle Rock Loop

Castle Rock Loop

Hiking

This is one of the most popular destinations in the Blue Mountain Lake Region, and rightfully so, it's got an amazing view. This is a great destination for the entire family to get out and enjoy the Adirondack Backwoods.

Although there are many wide spots and turn-outs at various locations that provide access to the property, there are few developed trailheads that provide visitors with information and safe parking. Many locations only offer a trail sign and a small pull-off in which to park. Trail registers are located at Upper Sargent Pond, Lower Sargent Pond, Castle Rock, Owl's Head Mountain, Lake Eaton and Forked Lake Dam. A register journal is also located at the lean-to on Lower Sargent Pond.

How to get there

From the intersection of Route 28 & Route 30 in Blue Mtn Lake, head north on Routhe 30 and drive 0.6 mile to Maple Lodge Road. Make a left onto Maple Lodge Road, and take the foot trail for approximately 1.1 miles to the trail head. Park off to the left side of the road. Trailhead is ahead on the right.

You'll see Minnowbrook Conference Center off to the left, on the lakeside. Hike along the private road and then turn right, entering the Forest Preserve. This trail continues to Upper Sargent Pond via Helms Pond Trail. Located along the northern shore of Blue Mountain Lake, Castle Rock is a unique geologic formation with a marked trail leading to its summit. A large overhanging natural rock shelter and a small cave are located to the south of this formation. Castle Rock can be accessed by an easy hike leading to the 200-foot high rock outcrop. From this vantage point visitors get an excellent view of Blue Mountain and Blue Mountain Lake. A short spur trail from the Castle Rock Loop leads to the shores of Blue Mountain Lake.

Park in designated area only please.

Trail Description

Initially you will be following a private dirt road, please stay on the marked route. The trail markers are on the power poles, but when in doubt keep right. After a short distance you will leave the road and start on a foot trail. Within a few hundred feet of leaving the road you will come to split in the trail. Follow the trail left over a small foot bridge. I have this route going clockwise for ease of travel reasons. This bridge crosses the outlet to Chub Pond, which you will be able to see shortly. The view over Chub Pond is a decent one but you will get a better view later from the other side.

Continuing on along a nice mellow trail you will come to an intersection with a spur trail to Blue Mountain Lake. This is a short 0.3 mile descent to the shore of the big lake, if the need strikes you. At the trail intersection you will start a steep continuous climb up the shoulder of Castle Rock. The ascent to the Castle Rock trail is very steep. Above the steep section it moderates to a nice grade.

As you crest the steeper section you will be able to see the cliffs of Castle Rock in front of you. The trail takes a hard right and almost heads back in the same direction you just came from before it takes a hard left toward the cliffs. This section of trail is quite amazing. That is if you like rock walls, caves, and formations. There is a trail through a small cave that comes out the other side.

Follow the trail north until you come to another intersection with the yellow trail. Here you will need to go right. From here the climb gets much steeper with large steps over rocks and roots. In short time you will be on the open rock summit of Castle Rock overlooking Blue Mountain Lake. After you have relaxed and soaked up the views return to the last intersection and follow the red trail to the right. You will drop down slightly to a fork in the red trail. Left leads to Upper Sargent Pond and right leads back to the trailhead.

Continue on following the red trail as you are lead through open woods on a side slope, natural springs run off Peaked Mountain. If the weather is warm or the season not perfect, wet trails can and will be encountered. The trail at this point is rolling hills eventually you will at the shores of Chub Pond again. This time however you are on the better side. The views over the pond are much nicer as you look down the inlet from the trail.

From here continue on a moderate to easy trail as it leads back to the first split you had this day – near the footbridge. Follow left back to the road and back to the trailhead.

Elevation

2430'

Distances

3 miles, loop

Family with Young Kids

  • 3 hours loop

Experienced Hiker

  • 2 hours loop

Out of Shape Hiker

  • 3 hours loop

Snowshoeing

This trail is typically broken out by midday after a storm but can become quite slippery as you approach the summit. This is a great snowshoe, but could be used for skiing in the clockwise direction only. However, the skier needs to be very good. The steep section from near the lake to the summit of Castle Rock is best snowshoed.

Initially you will be following a private dirt road, please stay on the marked route. The trail markers are on the power poles, but when in doubt keep right. After a short distance you will leave the road and at this point you will have to put on your snowshoes if you haven't already. Sometimes the road is packed enough, and often plowed throughout the winter. Within a few hundred feet of leaving the road you will come to split in the trail. Follow the trail left over a small foot bridge to do the loop in a clockwise direction. This bridge crosses the outlet to Chub Pond, which in the winter looks more like a snow covered field. Continuing on along a nice mellow trail you will come to an intersection with a spur trail on your left which leads to Blue Mountain Lake. At the trail intersection you will start a steep and continuous climb up the shoulder of Castle Rock. The ascent to the Castle Rock trail is very steep for a short period of time. Footing can be difficult along this section, but under most circumstances, it is just steep. Above the steep section it moderates to a nice grade.

As you crest the steeper section you will be able to see the cliffs of Castle Rock in front of you. Soon you will come to another intersection with the yellow trail. Here you will need to go right. From here the climb gets much steeper with large steps over rocks and roots. This tends to be a tricky spot with snowshoes, but you will need them or another form of traction. In a short distance you will be on the open rock summit of Castle Rock overlooking Blue Mountain Lake. After you have relaxed and soaked up the views return to the last intersection and follow the red trail to the right. This section of loop, especially in the winter gets very little use in comparison; expect it to not be properly packed.

If you decide to go you will drop down slightly to a fork in the red trail. Left leads to Upper Sargent Pond and right leads back to the trailhead. Continue on following the red trail as you are lead through open woods on a side slope, natural springs run off Peaked Mountain and in some cases can cause slushy conditions. The trail at this point is rolling hills eventually you will at the shores of Chub Pond again. From here continue on a moderate to easy trail as it leads back to the first split you had this day – near the footbridge. Follow left back to the road and back to the trailhead.

How to get there

From the intersection of Route 30 and Route 28N in the Town of Long Lake follow Route 30/28N toward Blue Mountain Lake. Continue into Blue Mountain Lake and pass by the Adirondack Museum. Just past the Adirondack Museum, locate Maple Lodge Road. Follow this rod to the hiker parking and the trail register; park in designated area only please.

Elevation

2430'

Ascent

570'

Approximate Time Round Trip:

Families with Kids: 2.5 to 3 hours
Experienced Snowshoers: 2 to 2.5 hours
Out of Shape Snowshoers: 2.5 to 3 hours

Distance Round-Trip

3.0 miles, loop
3.0 miles, Castle Rock and back

Difficulty: 1=easiest, 5=hardest

Three; Castle Rock gets a three based on distance of the loop and most importantly the steepness of the terrain and difficulty on that steep terrain.

Additional Important Information:

The steep upper portion can be very difficult on the descent, especially in snowshoes. Take your time and be careful on this section.

E-Newsletter Signup