Monday, November 9, 2015

Easy Adirondack Hikes: Mt Gilligan (New Russia) Elizabethtown NY

View of Rocky Peak Ridge from Mt Gilligan, New Russia, NY
We are a family that is always on the go. I don’t over schedule my children, but they are involved, active kids. Though we may be going in different directions a lot of the time, one activity that always gives us a positive attitude adjustment is to get outside. Since we are such a busy family, we’ve always migrated to those shorter hikes that we can squeeze in on our way to another activity. (I also find these shorter hikes are a great way to see a beautiful view and still be back in time to have a nice dinner or take in a show.) 

Adirondack Family Time: Champlain Valley
Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga:58 easy hikes, 33 swimming holes,
300 seasonal activities, snowshoe/ski trails, maps
trivia and more! 
Mount Gilligan in New Russia (near Elizabethtown, NY) is just one of 58 easy hikes around the Adirondack Champlain Valley from my second Adirondack Family Time guidebooks. With an elevation of 1,421’ and a vertical ascent of 790’, this 1.1-mile hike to the summit offers numerous viewpoints along the way.

There is no parking directly next to the trailhead so the path really begins at the parking area. It is a nice walk over a bridge as we follow the dirt road to the right. We’ve been here before so we know that the trail begins just before the first house. There are private property “No Hunting” signs, but we still take precautions and wear our blaze orange vests.
We immediately enter the tree cover and walk through heavy leaf litter searching for markers along the way. The trail is a series a short, steep ascents weaving along eskers to reach rocky ridges and open ledges.

This stone "staircase" leads to the first
overlook on Mt Gilligan
At 0.3-mile we reach what my kids always referred to as “the stone staircase.” For little ones with shorter legs it can be challenging to maneuver up through these rock boulders without some assistance. At the top of this pass, a herd path to the left reaches the first overlook. We see glimpses of Rt. 9 below and a clear view of the Dix Range in the distance. This can be a great turnaround point, depending on the timeframe and ability of the hikers. We walk back to the staircase and the trail continues to the right.

The path is marked, but can be confusing. Along the trail we encounter red and yellow AMC markers as well as Champlain Area Trails markers (CATS), appropriately a cat paw print, in addition to rock cairns and paint slashes. Be careful. There are numerous herd paths leading to the various rocky ledges.

There are three more points where the trail descends to only immediately climb around boulders and ridges with overlook points. The final hike to the summit leads to clear views of Rocky Peak Ridge. It is an easy return, though we still have to pay attention to the marked path. Enjoy!

The first overlook on Mt Gilligan shows views
of the Adirondack High Peaks Dix Range
To get to Mt. Gilligan from Keene Valley drive 8 miles south on Rt.73. Turn north onto Rt. 9 toward Elizabethtown. Drive about 3.5-miles and turn right onto Scriver Rd and park at the designated area. Walk across the bridge over the Boquet River and follow the road as it bears right. The trail is on the left. Diane 

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time™ guidebook series. Adirondack Family Time™guidebooks have easy, short Adirondack family hikes for ADK kids, parents, retired, seniors, dog-owners, Adirondack swimming holes, Lake Placid Olympic activities, Adirondack trivia, Adirondack horseback rides, Adirondack snowshoe family trails and more. Look for the Adirondack family guidebooks online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the next Adirondack Family Activities™ guide.

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