By Diane Chase
Distance = 1.1 mile
Elevation = 2,600'
Vertical Ascent = 640'
Location: Between Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake (Hamilton County)
Sawyer Mountain’s 1.1-mile climb is popular with a wide age set and we are no different. The parking lot has only one car as ours pulls in but we’ve been told it will soon fill up. My son signs us in at the trailhead register and we start the modest ascent to the summit.
We soon catch up to the owners of the lone vehicle. The first thing we are asked is if the walk is going to be worth it. We have never been here before but our answer is a resounding yes.
The trailhead and for most of the walk we are under a canopy of hardwoods. Mud from a recent rain provides a few obstacles but nothing we can’t handle.
My daughter is rather curious about value added onto a climb. “Is it worth what,” she questions in a stage whisper, “money?” She is a typical six-year-old in that she realizes some things require loose change and folding money. I can see her wheels spinning as she tries to figure out if there is gold hidden in the rock formations.
We talk about how there are different types of hikers. Some people put their feet on the trail in search of the view from the top while others may like what they find on the way. I let her know that some people are new to a wooded walk so it is our role to encourage them. I ask what kind of hiker she is.
She ponders the question and I am ready for her to bestow some childlike wisdom upon me. Her answer is simple. She likes the rocks when the roots don’t trip her. She really likes the top when she can get there from the bottom.
We pass two larger groups on our descent. We are asked again if it is worth it. I can’t speak for anyone else and don’t want to wax poetic as I play dot-to-dot with the bug bites on my arm. Yes, it is worth it. It was quick and pain-free, two requirements that add up to complaint free. It takes an hour to get to the top, which includes stops for water, squirrel sightings and a muddy turn at shoe tying. For someone new to hiking it may take longer but the view and feeling of accomplishment is value added.
On a crowded day people do not tend to linger at the tree-lined peak so continue a short way to a small rocky clearing for a beautiful view. We spend about 20 minutes together having a snack and identifying the landscape. Blue Mountain has the flat top to the northwest. To me it is worth it.
For an nice introductory hike, a quick run to the top in search of the summit or a stroll to spy treasures along the way, Sawyer Mountain is a great option. Travel 6 ½ miles from the Route 28/30 junction in Blue Mountain Lake on route to Indian Lake, parking is on the west side of the road.
all content and photos are © Diane Chase, author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) available for purchase online or bookstores/museums. Diane is currently working on the second guidebook and app in the four book series of Adirondack Family Activities.