Easy Short Adirondack Lake Placid Hikes: Hiking Owl's Head Keene (NY)

Take the kids on a beautiful family hike in the Adirondacks.

Owl's Head (Keene NY)
Trailhead to Summit: 0.6
Ascent: 460 ft
Snowshoe - yes

Owl's Head, located between Lake Placid and Keene, is a perfect hike for the entire family. It takes approximately 45 minutes round trip for an average hiker though we always plan for a bit more than an hour each way. The ascent is 460 ft., and very easy for even the smallest climber. The summit is semi-wooded, and has spectacular views of Cascade, Pitchoff and Giant Mountains.

A Race to the top of Owl’s Head
My husband asked for a new backpack for his birthday. Not a swanky designer, top-of-the-line camping pack but a comfortable pack that could carry our youngest in style up any number of hills. I sigh at how our lives have changed. Just a few years ago he would have had the Cadillac of camping gear. Now he pours over catalogs or bids on eBay for a Kelty child carrier.

My husband’s birthday arrives and my son eagerly spills the surprise by telling his father that we have a gift for him that will help carry Lisse. What could it be? He guesses and guesses until my son can no longer stand the anticipation. Now we just have to try out the pack and Owl's Head Mountain between Lake Placid (NY) and Keene in the Adirondack High Peaks is the perfect place. 

            The day is ripe for a climb. With everyone else in the North Country, we have been stuck inside creating new ways to avoid going outside in a crushing downpour. Finally the sun strikes back the rain and we take advantage of the blue sky. Our pale pasty skin is not used to the bright rays. I feel a bit like a mole venturing out of the darkness.

We make a game of seeing who will get to the top first. I am shown proper race stance with two fingers of each hand touching the ground. Our race is put on hold as wild blueberry patches, in flower, distract us. We start our race again only to stop to view Cascade and Pitchoff. My daughter enjoys the view from her canopied carrier.

The trail has us climbing over rock faces and switchbacks. We come across a group repelling down the cliff as we approach the summit. My son stands in awe as a girl waves to him as she hops down the rock face of the mountain. He waves enthusiastically back to her and turns to me to let me know he wants to try. He believes this is how “superheroes” get down mountains. I ask him to just get to the top first; we can worry about the “getting down” later. Today he will descend via the pathway. I have a few years grace period before he takes the superhero route down.

On Rt. 73, about 3.5 miles from the Cascade trailhead turn onto Owl’s Head Lane. Continue .2 miles until you come to a Y. The trailhead is directly in front. Park to the left, off to the side. There isn’t a parking area. Please be considerate. The Owl’s Head trailhead is surrounded by private property.

Adirondack Family Time Trivia:
1)    What is a raptor?
2)    Name two other animals in addition to owls that are nocturnal.

3)    What is the opposite of nocturnal?

1) An owl is a raptor or a bird of prey. A raptor is a bird that hunts for its meat and has hooked beaks with sharp edges, feet with sharp, curved claws or talons and keen eyesight.
2) Two other animals that are nocturnal are raccoons and bats.
3) Diurnal animals are most active during the day rather than nocturnal animals, which are most active at night.


Anonymous said…
I love this hike. I do it with my 3 year old and 18month.
Diane said…
It is one of my favorite as well! Plus the blueberries (in season) make it extra special. Thanks for reading!

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