Accessible, short, and fairly easy as mountains go, Baker Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the region. Baker is also a Saranac Lake 6er; it's recommended those vying for 6er status tackle it first.
- Distance: 0.9 mile to the summit
- Elevation: 2,452 feet
- Ascent: 884 feet
From downtown Saranac Lake, head north on Broadway (Route 86) and turn right on Bloomingdale Ave. (Route 3), then turn right on Pine Street after about a half mile. Cross the railroad tracks and turn left on Forest Hill Ave. and follow it as it wraps around Moody Pond. The trailhead is on the left in about a half mile. Park on the right shoulder of the road, and please be respectful of the nearby property owners.
From the north end of Moody Pond, enter the woods at the trailhead sign, sign in at the trail register, and continue slightly uphill through the power line cut. Shortly after that there is a Y intersection — bear right to stay on the marked path. From here the trail starts climbing and never really lets up. At 0.4 mile, after a series of sweeping bends in the path, there is a short, level stretch. The summit is straight ahead and can be seen through the canopy.
After the level stretch, the path dips slightly before climbing steeply, sometimes over short ledges and bare rock, before reaching the summit in 0.9 mile. Be sure to stay on the marked path, as there are several side routes here that don't necessarily lead to the summit. Speaking of the summit, bear right just before you reach it to get to the overlook, where there are expansive views that include the village of Saranac Lake to the right, the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area to the left, and the High Peaks straight ahead in the distance.
Baker Mountain in winter
Baker is a great beginner snowshoe for anyone who feels ready to tackle a mountain. Snowshoes are necessary to avoid postholing through the snowpack, and snow spikes are suggested for ascending the mountain's steeper sections, although they might not be absolutely necessary. Extra layers of non-cotton clothing, a windbreaker, emergency blanket, first-aid kit, headlamp with extra batteries, and plenty of food and water are essential items for any winter excursion. The extra layers and windbreaker are especially important on the summit ledges, which are partially exposed and likely to be much colder than the lower sections of the mountain.
On The Map