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Old 08-21-2015, 10:52 AM   #1
Josh Seeley
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Favorite Day Hike w/ young kids

Heyyyo! Baby boot camp has begun in my family. Our daughter, who is four and a half, is getting better and better with her trail skills. We've done a lot of local hikes in/around the Albany, NY area. Looking for a nice ADK for us to climb tomorrow. Ready to lace up her boots to try something a bit more challenging. Obviously, it's all about the journey, all about fun, so summit is less of a consideration than it normally might be. Swimming holes might be cool. Waterfalls. Rocks. Any rocks in ADKs?

What hikes do you recommend for young kids?

I've been considering Crane Mt, Pharoah Mt, etc. Plotterkill Preserve...

We love the High Peaks, and I know places like Pitchoff, Noonmark, and Hurricane will be ideal, I'm looking to stay a little closer to Albany for this weekend in particular.

Friends, fellow hikers, please help! Thanks.

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Old 08-21-2015, 11:28 AM   #2
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My 5 year old niece really enjoyed Castle Rock by Blue Mountain.

It's an easy hike, but there are caves and cliffs and bit of easy scrambling toward the top.
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Old 08-21-2015, 12:39 PM   #3
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Castle Rock seems like a nice hike. Great tip. Thanks! We can handle 4 miles. Probably do some swimming on the way home too.

I think Blue Mountain Lake and the TH is about 2 hours from our house near Albany. Not too shabby! From Albany, would you take the Northway and head west from there? Or go North through Amsterdam? Any idea? No worries, we can figure it out. Just wondering about your preference.

I wonder if anyone knows of any other hidden gems? Anything closer to Albany? I know, I'm being picky. I just don't want to burn her out on a long car ride.
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Old 08-21-2015, 12:43 PM   #4
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Chimney Mountain in Indian Lake has caves and cool rock formations, along with nice views. Good for hikers of all ages.
http://www.summitpost.org/chimney-mt/197323
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:05 PM   #5
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I try and leave when my girls are still sleeping, so they don't notice the drive. They like picking through the trail mix early in the day. When else can they start with M&Ms and dried fruit.
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:06 PM   #6
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I suggest you check out the east side of Lake George. Below are my recommendations in order of easiest to hardest. All have fantastic views overlooking Lake George.

1)Sleeping Beauty
2)Buck Mountain (from Shelving Rock side)
3)Buck Mountain (from Pilot Knob side)
4)Black Mountain
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:17 PM   #7
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You could probably nab Chimney and Castle Rock on the same day if your kid has lots of energy.

If you have a boat, try this:

Head out to the trailhead from Blue Mtn Lake public canoe launch (it's right next to the beach). You cross the lake all the way around the back peninsula and you can pick up the TH to CR from there. Then on the way back there is a really nice day use beach area on Osprey Island (the east-most large island on BML) for swimming and dinner/lunch. The paddle back to the launch is exactly 1 mile. It's less than 1.5 out to the far end where the CR TH from the lake starts.

This maps shows it:



You can see the trail from the lake just north of Bluff Pt.

If you don't own a canoe, you can rent one here:

http://www.boatlivery.com/rentals.html
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:19 PM   #8
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4.5 is still pretty young. Before Castle Rock, you might want to do Panther Mountain overlooking Piseco Lake. If she's still game, do Hope Falls on the way home. Those are two of the best bang for your buck hikes anywhere in the ADK's. You can swim at the town beach in Wells. My kids LOVE the diving board.
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:47 PM   #9
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Kane Mt., just north of Caroga Lake on Rt. 10/29A, is a great hike for a 4 year old. At 1.8 miles round trip and 620 ft elevation gain it's sure to please. The fire tower at the top adds to the experience. My grandchildren all enjoyed this hike at early ages.
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Seeley View Post
What hikes do you recommend for young kids?

I've been considering Crane Mt, Pharoah Mt, etc. Plotterkill Preserve...
For what it's worth, as a young kid I grew up hiking Pharaoh Mountain and visiting the surrounding area, and I still love to return to the area often to this day.

Plotterkill Preserve and its waterfalls are very nice also, but please do be very careful on the steep slopes as the clay undersoil tends to be very slippery!
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:05 PM   #11
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Based on wanting to stay closer to Albany, I agree with Jmitch; around Lake George are your best bets. The ones mentioned already are good. Also, Lake George land Conservancy has numerous properties with excellent short hikes; rocks, views, etc. Look up their site and pick from the choices.
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Old 08-21-2015, 11:38 PM   #12
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Thomas Mt, just a few miles off Northway exit 24 is big hit with kids because there's a cabin at the top that they can explore while the adults take in the view. Take the blue, Two Brothers trail on the way up for a more interesting hike than the orange keep trail. And be sure to take the short spur trail to the western view point on the way up.

http://www.lglc.org/preserves/cat-thomas-mountains/

As TCD mentioned, the LGLC has a bunch of preserves that offer short hikes with varied terrain and views. Info on all can be accessed under "Parks & Preserves" at the link above.

If your daughter's up for more once you conquer Thomas, the trail up The Pinnacle is just five minutes away, and is a quick, easy hike to an even better view of Lake George.
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Old 08-25-2015, 01:53 PM   #13
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I wish I had seen your post before the weekend. I just took my 4.5 year old son up Panther Mountain on Saturday and would recommend it. We camped at Sandy Point CG on Piseco and although it was a typical noisy summer crowed it was not too bad.
He has also done Poke-o-moonshine and sleeping beauty. For areas even closer to Albany I will second the recommendation for plotterkill. The waterfalls are huge (80ft and 60ft I think) but the winter is a really great time to check them out. Also the indian ladder trail in Thatcher Park and 5 rivers nature center.
I suspect that you probably are already aware of these. Vroomans nose is a great one for that age near Albany too. The hiking in Moreau SP was surprisingly good.
Down south, the Mohonk Preserve was phenomenal for a little kid. The partridge run preserve was quiet and nice and fun for kids, but not particularly exciting.
My son did chimney mountain last year and that turned out great for him.

On the other side of the spectrum, I think Crane mountain might be a bit too much for a little kid because the decent is sooooo steep and requires some pretty sure footedness.

So far I have found that the challenges of hiking with a little kid are not exactly what you would expect. For instance, when going up, steepness doesn't seem to matter. Scrambling up rocks and roots is fun and stimulating. However a fairly easy trail that goes on for a long distance is excruciating. It elicits a lot of detours and "this trail is going to last forever!" and "When do we get the snacks?" every ten minutes. Places where you and I see an opportunity to make good time are exactly the places where kids become little boat anchors that we have to drag through the woods.
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:37 PM   #14
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I plan on heading up with my kids this October. I have a 7 yr old who will be hiking, will have a 20 month old on my back, and my wife will have our 3 month old on her front, all boys.


We've done Mt. Kane several times with the 7 yr old (was 6) and the 18 month old (was ~7 months). The inlaws live on Canada Lake.

My first peak ever, at 4, was Mt. Joe and that's where I'd like to take them. I thought I remember us camping at Heart Lake, but I could be mistaken. Does anyone have any good campsites to recommend that are in close proximity to Mt. Joe. Lean to would be ideal and as far from crowds as possible as one of the youngins is bound to cry at sometime in the middle of the night. Luckily we'll be able to go midweek, so hopefully crowds will be at a minimum.

thanks
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:58 PM   #15
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Sleeping Beauty will always be special for my daughter and I . It was her first mountain at 4 years old. And since she became a gymnast a 5 years old. Our time doing mountains and hiking were spread way out. Then, when she came home from college her last year at SU ,we did her mountain again. She loved it just as much as she did 18 years ago. Great memories. And ,theres always Million Dollar beach to swim and lunch downtown Lake George.Maybe someday ,I`ll be taking her kids up Sleeping Beauty. Must be something in its magical storyhood name.
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Old 07-15-2016, 02:40 AM   #16
IndLk_Brett
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Originally Posted by Josh Seeley View Post
From Albany, would you take the Northway and head west from there? Or go North through Amsterdam? Any idea? No worries, we can figure it out. Just wondering about your preference.
When I'm traveling in that direction and I'm trying to get there a little faster or it's night time and I can't see any scenery anyway I normally take the Northway as far as Warrensburg and then head west from there. However, if not in any rush I definitely prefer traveling up through Amsterdam as I find it to be the nicer, more scenic drive. It does take me slightly longer that way though, but by no means significantly so.

I know I'm a bit late with the response, but maybe it can help for your next trip after your daughter hopefully discovers she loves going!
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:06 PM   #17
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Stewart Mtn (part of the Chester Challenge in Chestertown) is super easy. A good one to start for anyone.
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Old 07-19-2016, 09:26 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by jmg343 View Post
I plan on heading up with my kids this October. I have a 7 yr old who will be hiking, will have a 20 month old on my back, and my wife will have our 3 month old on her front, all boys.


We've done Mt. Kane several times with the 7 yr old (was 6) and the 18 month old (was ~7 months). The inlaws live on Canada Lake.

My first peak ever, at 4, was Mt. Joe and that's where I'd like to take them. I thought I remember us camping at Heart Lake, but I could be mistaken. Does anyone have any good campsites to recommend that are in close proximity to Mt. Joe. Lean to would be ideal and as far from crowds as possible as one of the youngins is bound to cry at sometime in the middle of the night. Luckily we'll be able to go midweek, so hopefully crowds will be at a minimum.

thanks
The Adirondack Mountain Club operates a campground at Heart Lake, which is probably what you remember. There are tent sites and 16 lean-tos. It's not really "far from crowds" as the campground gets a fair amount of use, but the atmosphere is generally relaxed and peaceful within the campground. It's a good family friendly place to camp and while you'll see lots of other campers and hikers, it generally isn't a place where people go to party and be rowdy. Some of the lean-tos are spaced out from the others- as I recall, lean-tos 2, 3, and 9 have some distance between them and the next closes site. You may want to look into reserving a site.

Another option is South Meadows Road just north of Heart Lake, which has about 12-15 free, first-come, first-serve campsites. These sites are generally spaced out pretty well (except for the sites at the end of the road) and are a better bet for having some solid distance between you and the next closest campers. You can stay at a site for up to 3 nights, and mid-week there's almost always a bunch unoccupied. However, these sites are technically in the Eastern High Peaks, which means that you cannot have campfires at them. They are also lacking in amenities, except for maybe an outhouse.

In addition to Mt. Jo (btw, it's Jo, not Joe, and is short for Josephine) a hike into Marcy Dam is short and easy, and definitely worth while as it will get you an up close view of Mt. Colden and a taste of the High Peaks backcountry.
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:49 AM   #19
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I have to say castle rock is pretty cool. I think your kids will enjoy it.
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Old 07-24-2016, 07:23 AM   #20
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Mount Van Hoenberg is relatively easy and it has great views.
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