Easy Adirondack Hikes: Mount Van Hoevenberg (Lake Placid)
Mt Van Hoevenberg
Distance = 2-2-miles
Vertical ascent = 799'
Elevation = 2, 940'
Hiking the Adirondack High Peaks isn't always an option, but hitting the trail for a beautiful day hike can always be squeezed into our agenda When my children were younger we looked for those hikes where they could finish on their own with a feeling of accomplishment
The children are now able to take longer and longer hikes. For me it is with great pride and slight sadness that my daughter no longer requests the baby carrier. She enjoys being on the trail and boosts my own confidence by elevating me to superhero status. If she feels lost, I find her. If she cries, I heal her. I open my backpack and provide her with ointments to sooth her ills and snacks to appease her hunger.
I am attempting to extend our trips with the eventual goal being a backpacking trip into the woods. Not like our first camping trip where I spent more time on the road than at the campsite. Mt. Van Hoevenberg, near the Adirondack Mountain Club's Adirondack Loj is a good steady climb of 2.2 miles that starts at the South Meadows trail.
The start mile of the trail is flat enabling the kids to play tag and pop the Touch-Me-Nots, watching them explode in the air like tiny fireworks. We arrive at a marsh and start circling around looking for the blue trail markers. We look for traces of beaver and other tracks along the path. At this point the trail starts gaining in elevation.This trail is named for Henry Van Hoevenberg, the original owner of the Adirondack Loj. According to the Historical Gazetteer of the United States Van Hoevenberg built the Adirondack Lodge in memory of his intended Josephine Schofield, who died in 1881. The original lodge was burned in the great fire of 1903. Van Hoevenberg built the first trails in the Adirondack including the trail up Mt. Marcy.
Then the trail starts to become steeper, winding around boulders and trees. We pass by tall rock cliffs, indicting that we are nearing the peak when my daughter decides she is not going to walk another step. She starts to cry and even the snacks in the bag will not satisfy her. I negotiate that I will carry her to one trail marker then she must walk to the next. I lift her, take the first step and trip over a root. It is in slow motion that I watch my hands circle her head while her eyes lock onto my face.
My knees and knuckles are scraped when I hit the ground cushioning her body from the roots. She pushes me off her and screams out that her father has never dropped her. At first my son just nods in agreement then describes how her head bounced when it hit the ground. That announcement stops her sobbing. She brushes off and asks for more details.
We pass by one overlook with views of Mt Marcy to the south. I didn't realize that a misstep on my part would provide enough fodder that my children would forget how tired there were. By the time we are at the summit you would think I had played basketball with her head, but she does not ask to be carried again.
On top we enjoy the views of the High Peaks and Lake Placid. As we carefully maneuver down the trail toward our car, my daughter informs each new passerby of our mishap. I ask her if it wasn’t better climbing the whole mountain by herself. “Safer.” my son quips.
© 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.