Do you like to hike? Do you like to paddle? Than I am pretty sure you will like doing a bit of both packed into one adventure. A surf and turf works like this: First you paddle to a trail (surf), then you hike the trail (turf), then you paddle back. Maybe you haven't really thought about this combination before, but now you'll realize the many opportunities that there are for this type of outing. There truly are endless trips like this all over the park, your only real limitation is your imagination. What I would like to do today is talk a little about surf and turf in the southern Adirondacks, and offer you some examples of where you could give this a go.
First we should talk a bit about gear - and as a recovering gear head I don't need any reason to go out and get more gear, but there are some things to think about. If you paddle and hike on separate occasions, on separate trips, then you have all the gear already, you just need to combine those into one trip. The most important thing is to keep your hiking equipment dry on the trip over and back, so make use of waterproof bags and pouches. Bring hiking boots, I know it's probably tempting to try and hike just in sandals but it can be a bit dangerous if you are not careful; toe and ankle support are important. One last item to remember is, have a good map for the water and the trail, keep them dry and always bring a compass.
So here we go, be sure to check out these locations in Hamilton County and use your imagination to seek out other surf and turf adventures in the Adirondacks.
Blue Mountain Lake to Castle Rock—RT Paddle 4 miles, RT Hike 2.25 miles
Put your boat in at the beach on Route 28 in Blue Mountain Lake and start your paddle. Head through the chain of islands in the middle of the lake and access the trail on the north shore. The trail is small but not too difficult to find. Once on the trail you will hike uphill to the main hiking trail from Maple Lodge Road. Take a left and start your climb up the shoulder of Castle Rock and then steeply up to a wonderful overlook of the lake.
Indian Lake to Baldhead Mountain—RT Paddle 4.2 miles, RT Hike 2.2 miles
Put your boat in off Route 30 south of the Hamlet of Indian Lake. There are several places to launch but the closest will be roughly 2.1 miles away from the trailhead. Carefully paddle across the lake and through Kirpens Islands to access the trail on the backside. Once on the trail you will have a very mellow hike through the forest. The trail gets slightly steeper near the top, but not for too long.
Kunjamuk River to Kunjamuk Cave—RT Paddle 7.2 miles, RT Hike 1.2 miles
Locate the launch for the Kunjamuk River off Route 30 across from Lake Pleasant. The paddle will be upstream to reach the trail but it is quite mellow with easy current to overcome. The river is very windy and takes time to maneuver through, a short boat is recommended. Once you come to the road over the river you will be at the trail for the cave. Find a place to dock your boat and hike east along the access road/trail. The road is an easy walk and there is a very short 200-foot side trail that accesses the cave.
Long Lake to Blueberry Mountain—RT Paddle 9.0 miles, RT Hike 2.0 miles
This surf and turf is a pretty hard one but a worthy one. The paddle itself is quite demanding as the lake is long, like the name insists, and the hike is a herd path not a marked trail. Once on the lake start paddling north and continue for 4.5 miles to Kelly Point. On the point there are two lean-tos and a trail that access the Northville/Placid Trail (NPT). Once on the NPT take a left and start hiking north, be on a close lookout for the herd path on the right hand side of the road. The herd path is pretty obscure at the start, but once on it, it is easy enough to follow. It is a good idea to have a GPS and/or map and compass handy for this one. The herdpath is a bit steep in areas as it works its way up the face of the mountain to the great views out over the lake.
Lake Eaton to Owls Head Mountain—RT Paddle 2.8 miles, RT Hike 4.6 miles
Lake Eaton is out of the Lake Eaton State Campground so there is a day-use fee required to launch, but it's very inexpensive. Launch your boat at the beach area and start your paddle. Head right to the very southern tip of the lake over massive open water and locate the trail there. The trail heads in both directions around the lake, you need to take a left on the trail. In 0.4 miles you will come to the main hiking trail from Endion Road. Take a right here to head up Owls Head Mountain. The trail remains moderate but as it gets closer to the summit it gets much steeper, an excellent reason to have hiking boots and not sandals. The views from the summit and fire tower are spectacular.
Seventh Lake to Black Bear Mountain—RT Paddle 1.8 miles, RT Hike 7.0 miles
From the Seventh Lake Access off Route 28 near Inlet start your paddle. Paddle across the lake to Seventh Lake Lean-to #2 and access the trail here. The trail follows along the shore for a ways and turns hard north to start your climb up the face of the mountain. As you steeply climb views behind you start to pop up and eventually come to the main hiking trail from near Eagle Bay. Take a right here and continue to climb slightly to the summit of Black Bear Mountain, here the views are quite nice.
Ready to try your own surf & turf? Find comfy lodging to launch your adventure from!