Jackrabbit Trail: Lake Placid to Keene

Jackrabbit Trail Day 3 of 3:
Lake Placid Pub & Brewery to Old Mountain Road


Day three of our three-day cross-country ski tour from Paul Smiths to Keene found us at the Jackrabbit trailhead behind the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. We were looking forward to finishing off this trail with what we've heard are probably a few of the best sections. If you are just catching up with our adventure, be sure to check out the blogs detailing our first two days on the Jackrabbit Trail: Day 1 - Paul Smiths to McKenzie Pond Road, and Day 2 - McKenzie Pond to Lake Placid.

From the back of the Pub we faced a wall of snow plowed up in front of the trail, expected of course, since it is a parking lot after all. This is a very short section that follows along a small slice of forest that separates Mirror Lake Drive and Lake Placid Club Drive. We almost decided to skip this and park at the Lake Placid Club Golf Course, but as fussy as we are, we wanted to do the entire trail. After this short section we had to remove our skis and walk up the road to the golf course where we found the trail to the right of the clubhouse. With skis strapped on we cruised down the short, steep hill and then onto a gentle grade bringing us across the golf course and eventually to a crossing of Route 86. 

Again, we had to remove our skis to cross the tarmac. We then enjoyed a gentle ski slightly down and to the left. For a short distance we skied over the golf course before a sharp right brought us into the woods. Soon we came to a narrower wooded area with several interesting sections of downhill runs.

Craig Wood

Craig Wood Golf Course

In a short time, we came to a secondary road at the backside of a bridge. Once across the bridge we followed along the side of River Road. In a very short distance, we had to cross River Road and ski along the opposite side near a farmer’s field. We opted not to take off our skis and hop across on the lightly sanded surface.

Once past the red barn, we had to walk the road for a bit then take a left up Bird Song Lane, which we skied. Eventually the trail left the roadside and entered the woods again on a narrow trail. This section was similar to the last, in that it has rolling hills, with some long ups and downs. In what seemed to be a rather quick section, we began to climb up to the back side of the Craig Wood Golf Course.

Once on Country Club Road, we took a short breather and adjusted our layers.  We then passed through a sliver of trees, swiftly skiing through the Craig Wood driving range at the edge of Route 73. We then once again removed our skis and crossed Route 73.

Unbroken Trail

Cascade Ski Center

Now on the Cascade Cross-Country Ski Center trails we were expected to have a pass, but we didn’t as of yet. From here we followed the trail as it winds away from Route 73 at an almost 90 degree angle. There is one long downhill in this section that we enjoyed before a decent little climb to a T-intersection, where we followed the signs to the lodge. At the ski lodge we had lunch and a little hot toddy before we hit the trail again. We also stepped up to the counter to pick up a day pass.

Old Mountain Road

We could easily see the large Jackrabbit sign on the post, so there was no question as to which way to go. We continued on the groomed trails for as long as we could, but soon we would have to leave them. This section is lightly used, at least it was on this day or week, so we ended up having to break trail all the way to the crossing of Route 73 at Old Mountain Road. This section does go through an attractive forest making the trail breaking at least scenic. The climb up to Route 73 was a true bear, especially with the high snowbanks. Now on Old Mountain Road we had around 1-mile to ski or walk. We ended up walking this section with skis over our shoulders. We felt there was just too much sand on the road and we didn’t want to do too much damage to our glide.

North Side of Pitchoff

Pitchoff Mountain Cliffs

From the actual trailhead, we had a relatively easy time. Passing several boulders along the way, we soon had our first glance at the north face of Pitchoff Mountain and the cliffs. We then started a slow ascent that would bring us to the height of land. This climb was short, but steep, and we felt it a bit in our hips. From here, we had a blast on the long downhill stretch that brought us to a crossing of a small marshy area. This was followed by a second, more moderate downhill and a second marshy area. We hit the flats in prime condition to kick and glide our way out to the parking lot on Alstead Hill Road near Rock and River Guide Service.  After an awesome day on the trails, we celebrated our "we finished" accomplishment with some pizza and wings at Little Italy while already planning our next adventure. 

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About The Author

Spencer Morrissey is an Adirondack native and to this day resides and works in the park. He works as a community developer, smart growth planner, recreational consultant, and licensed guide. He is the owner of Incapahcho Wilderness Guides a publishing company, and co-owner of Mountain Goats, LLC an Adirondack Guide Service based out of Lake Placid and Cranberry Lake. Spencer is a 5-time 46er and a winter 46er, a fire-tower challenger completer, a finisher of the Adirondack 100-highest, and is in the pursuit of climbing all the names peaks in the Adirondack Park. Spencer is a published author with titles; “The Other 54,” “Adirondack Trail Runner,” and “Adirondack Trail Skier,” with other titles always in progress.

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