Easy Adirondack Hikes: Saranac Lake The Pine Trails

My family used to use the short “spur” trail known as “The Pines,” as a shortcut to a friend’s house. It was our path to a walk around beautiful Moody Pond and a road walk to Baker Mountain. The Pines was always a bit of a tangle with herd paths making it more a maze than a direct trail. We always managed to take a bit of a wander around, seeing the road beyond but always exiting with more of a bushwhack than easy stroll.

Read the ADE FamilyTime column 
Thankfully last year local Boy Scout Matthew Adams made The Pines his Eagle Scout project. With many trail improvements including water bars, benches and trail signs, the path is an easy wooded loop walk with no confusion over trespassing. 

The 12-acre plot is owned by the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association (SLVHA) and deeded in 1937 to the organization while still under the name of “Saranac Lake Tuberculosis Society, Inc.” It seems fitting that The Pines is owned by the SLVHA.  Since 1897, the SLVHA has provided visiting nurse services upon referral. Now the organization has grown to make other healthcare initiatives possible for Saranac Lake residents. In addition to the visiting nurse service, the SLVHA funds the Saranac Lake Elementary School Dental Hygiene Program, provides health based scholarships, loans necessary medical equipment, and offers an adult dental grant program. With The Pines trail, the organization continues to provide opportunities for everyone to be in the best of health.
The SLVHA Pines Trail 
The Pines trail system looks like a roundabout with an entrance off Pine Street, a loop trail in the center, and another entrance off Forest Hill Road. We enter from the Pine Street entrance and head north toward Forest Hill Road. From one end to the other, the trail is slightly over 0.3-miles with a roundtrip distance of just over 0.5-miles. A large sign at the entrance dedicates The Pines to the memory of Dr. Lawrason Brown, a pioneer in Tuberculosis research in the late 19th Century and founder of the SLVHA. We walk up the gentle incline and talk about how cold air and being outside was so important to the Cure Cottage philosophy. We cross over the water bars that help keep the trail clear of erosion and run-off. The trail levels out and a large wooden bench is situated at the junction. We turn to the left and follow the wide path. There is a unmarked trail to the left that exits to Labrador Rd. We stay to the right and quickly reach the next marked junction where the path splits. We can either loop back to the right and backtrack to the landing or head left to Moody Pond. We reach Moody Pond in less than a minute, admire the pond and Baker Mountain in the distance and head back. There are a few other herd paths that intersect the main trail. We follow the signs and continue along the loop, passing the bench and back down the slope to our car.   

From the intersection of Pine St. and Brandy Brook Ave, the trail entrance and parking pullover is located on Pine St. diagonally across from the railroad track crossing. The Pines is open to the public, though some restrictions do apply. No camping. No motorized vehicles. Volunteers maintain the trails, so please carry out what you carry in.  Please be respectful of other people’s land as private property surrounds The Pines. Enjoy!

 © 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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