When most people think about hiking, they envision reaching a summit and taking in views from on high. While inherently beautiful, hiking to the top of a mountain is not the only type of hike a person can enjoy. I'm here to introduce you to a different kind of hiking that offers similar rewards - hikes to lakes. I have always gravitated toward water because of the sense of calm I feel beside a lake. There is something about the way water looks, feels, and sounds that has captivated me since I was a child. Fortunately, the Adirondacks have an abundance of water, so there are endless options to choose from. Allow me to introduce you to three of my favorite trails leading to tranquil lakes in Hamilton County.
Moss Lake - Inlet, NY
Distance: 2.5-mile loop
Parking: From the intersection of Route 28 and Big Moose Road, follow Big Moose Road for a little over 2 miles. The parking area is on the left. For accessible parking, continue a little further down Big Moose Road.
The trail around Moss Lake follows the route of an old bridle trail that was once part of Moss Lake Camp for Girls, which operated from 1923 to 1972. The path is wide, flat, and impeccably maintained. The area also has numerous facilities that are accessible to people with disabilities, including trails, campsites, picnic tables, and an observation platform. Moss Lake is also a great swimming and paddling destination, making it a true multi-sport paradise. There is an option to extend your hike to the prized lake trout waters of Bub and Sis Lake at the southeastern end of Moss Lake, a sign marks the path.
Lake Sagamore at Great Camp Sagamore - Raquette Lake, NY
Distance: 3.7-mile loop
Parking: From the intersection of Route 28 and Sagamore Road, follow Sagamore Road for 3.75 miles to the entrance to the Great Camp Sagamore. Just before the second bridge, a side road will lead to the trailhead to the left on the south side of the lake. If there isn't any parking available, there is a secondary parking area. Signs on the right side of the main road will lead to guest/ visitor parking after passing over a bridge. This requires a short walk to the trailhead.
The trail around Sagamore Lake is a flat 3.7-mile loop that passes through the mature forests of the Blue Ridge Wilderness area. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow. Most hikers follow the trail in a clockwise direction, but the path can be followed counterclockwise as well. There are views through the trees of the lake for much of the hike, but the most memorable outlook is of the Great Camp from the eastern bay of the lake. The extraordinary Great Camp Sagamore complex, built in 1897, is a marvel to see and once served as the summer home of the Vanderbilts. Visitors can add to the experience by taking an illuminating 2-hour tour of this National Historic Landmark from the Gilded Age (admission fee).
Nine Corner Lake - Arietta, NY
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
Parking: Roadside parking areas on both sides of Route 29A, less than .1 miles from the intersection of Route 10/Route 29A.
Follow this short, gentle path through the forest, past mountain streams, and a waterfall, to the crystal clear waters of Nine Corner Lake. The trail is located in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest and follows red snowmobile trail markers. The hike is a gradual climb from the trailhead that crosses many old wooden bridges before reaching a small waterfall. At the 0.9-mile mark, follow the trail to the right for the last 0.1 miles to the shores of Nine Corner Lake. The deep cobalt-blue water is breathtaking, and a rope swing invites you to swim in its depths. For a longer hike, take a left at the fork and continue along the south side of the lake for an optional extension.
Love Your ADK
The Adirondacks are a special place with millions of acres of pristine forests. It is up to us to keep it that way. Please help protect the Adirondacks and be prepared when you hike by following Leave-No-Trace ethics and consider taking the Love Your Adirondacks Pledge to help ensure that the forests, waterways, and local communities remain beautiful and unique for generations to come.
1) Plan ahead and prepare
2) Stay on hiking trails and camp at designated areas
3) Dispose of human waste and trash properly (pack it in, pack it out)
4) Leave what you find
5) Minimize campfires
6) Respect wildlife
7) Respect other hikers and manage your pet