Monday, October 6, 2014

Easy Adirondack Hikes: Silver Lake Mountain (Silver Lake, Au Sable Forks NY)

Silver Lake Mountain
Ascent = 900’
Distance = 0.9 mile

We were all getting a bit antsy and looking for something to do before a trip to Plattsburgh. We wanted a quick, easy climb with a beautiful view. Well, that isn’t too much to ask for, is it? Not in the Adirondacks! With the same ascent (900’) and distance (0.9 mile) as Saranac Lake’s own Baker Mountain, Silver Lake Mountain is certainly a family-friendly option.

Located in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest, the trailhead to Silver Lake Mountain, as outlined in my second Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook, Adirondack Family Time™: Champlain Valley from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) is easy enough to find. We plan on making this a quick jaunt as my kids are old enough to make fast work of these smaller hikes.



We put on our orange vests, even though it doesn’t look like any hunters are around. (I may be over cautious but I keep day-glow vests in the car as soon as the leaves start changing color. For the $1 investment it makes me feel better about being in the woods during hunting season. I have been questioned in the past about the necessity but I think it promotes safe habits. Plus, doesn’t everyone look good in orange?) We glow and are so loud that no hunter would mistake us for deer.

The trailhead is well marked with red foot trail markers and starts out a slow easy walk and quickly becomes a steady climb. There are many rock overlooks so this quick jaunt became a longer affair. With the leaves off the trees there were plenty of unobstructed views. There were rock slabs to sit upon and rest and boulders to explore.

Besides the distance and ascent, there are other similarities to those familiar with Baker Mountain. This climb will take shorter legs a bit longer but it’s worth the effort. You will even find a tree on Silver Lake Mountain near the summit that has a low, wide branch shaped like a seat. Similar to the one on Baker, it is worn smooth from all the kids (and adults) sitting upon it.



Near the summit is a wide-open rocky area with clear views of Silver Lake and Taylor Pond. Catamount is just beyond Taylor Pond to the north with Whiteface in the distance. That is not the true summit so proceed another 500 yards for a wider view of the surrounding mountains. We found plenty of blueberry bushes so we will look forward to returning in the summer.



Even though we always try to take a quick walk, we discover once we are outside there is too much to see and do. We even found interesting ice crystals already forming on the sides of some rocks. Be careful. There is ice on the trail.

From the intersection of Union Falls Road and Silver Lake Mountain Road (near Hawkeye) continue on Silver Lake Road (CR1) toward Black Brook for approximately 0.1 mile and the trailhead and parking is on the left side of the road.  

© Diane Chase, author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series Adirondack Family Time™: (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) for the towns of AuSable Forks, Plattsburgh, Keeseville, Crown Point, Port Henry, Elizabethtown, Willsboro, Essex, Westport and Ticonderoga  which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores.

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