Stomping out the Saranac 6 – Week 2 – St. Regis Mountain

I am sure by now most everyone has heard of the Saranac 6. But if you haven’t it’s a hiking endeavor to climb six distinct peaks in the Saranac Lake Region; Ampersand, St. Regis, Baker, McKenzie, Scarface and Haystack.

I had previously climbed all these peaks but have only done one since the start of the Saranac 6ers. A few weeks back I made way to the summit of Ampersand Mountain for my first peak and blogged about it soon after. I am now dedicated to climb one each week and get back to you on the trip. Week two brought me to St. Regis Mountain, but not by way of the popular Route but from Upper St. Regis Lake.

I have a short 10-foot kayak that I use for these little outings, which at times require a decent sized portage to reach the water. Not that this 10-foot kayak is a heck of a lot lighter, but it’s a bit easier to maneuver through the trails.

I drove my car down the road located next to the official parking area for St. Regis Mountain, to drop off my boat at the carry trail. Once I strategically placed the boat in the bushes I drove back to park the car in the proper location, which is about 1/2 mile from the carry trail. I proceeded to do a bit of road running back to the carry trail, until my sandals told me to stop. I hiked the boat up over one shoulder and pushed up the carry trail, which is actually up. Once I cleared the ridge I dropped back down to the North Bay I put-in.

The paddle was nothing more than a quiet bit of time on the water. It took my only about a 1/2 hour to paddle to the start of the hike, which is referred to as the Teddy Roosevelt Trail. There is a decent dock located here and the trail is well marked at the lakes edge. The trail actually comes out of Spring Bay on Upper Saint Regis Lake.

I removed my sandals and put on some more appropriate footwear for hiking and I climb up the steep embankment away from the lake. The trail I was surprised to find, to be in decent condition. The course was obvious, narrow and soft under foot. Aside from a bit of wet area the trail was acceptable tromping grounds. As I hiked over this delightful trail I eventually made my way to the popular route up St. Regis Mountain/official hiking trail. The trail at this point is much more eroded and nowhere near as soft to hike or honestly pleasing to the eye. Of course the heavy use is surely a common cause. I didn’t see a soul that day until I was on the summit, where only about 5 or so people were lounging in the perfect weather.

I looked at the fire tower in hopes of climbing it but opted to leave it for another day due to its poor condition. I hope to soon find it restored so it can once again be climbed safely. 

I soon retreated back down the trail, in hopes of not passing the trail to the lake. I didn’t. The paddle back was just as uneventful, except in reverse order. As I was making my way back up the carry trail, I saw the last bit of visitors for the day, a large group setting up camp at the lean-to area. I once again dropped my boat off in the trees to go get my car. The carry along the road just didn’t appeal to me at that point either.  Interested in paddling the St. Regis Lakes or maybe doing a bit of fishing? Maybe a hike up St. Regis Mountain? Check out a local guide service for details. Need a place to rest your head or fill your belly? Saranac Lake has plenty of lodging and dining available.     

Author:Spencer Morrissey
Farm 2 Fork: Slow Food, Long Life
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