The hike up Jenkins is long but it isn't terribly difficult, making it perfect for anyone seeking a nice woods ramble that ends in a great view. There are two main approaches to Jenkins. One is from the Paul Smith's College VIC parking area, the other is from the Black Pond trailhead on Keese Mills Road.
- Distance: about 4.5 miles to the summit from both parking areas
- Elevation: 2,513 feet
- Ascent: about 900 feet
To the VIC: From downtown Saranac Lake, take Route 86 west, toward Paul Smiths, for about 10 miles. At the intersection with the college, turn right on Route 30. The VIC is on the left shortly after the turn. The VIC is on the left, about a mile past the turn. Turn into the well-marked driveway and follow it to the large parking area.
To Keese Mills Road: From downtown Saranac Lake, take Route 86 west, toward Paul Smiths, for about 10 miles. At the four-way intersection, turn right on Route 30 and make the first left on Keese Mills Road. Follow that for 2.5 miles and look for the parking area on the right.
From the VIC parking area: Cross the paved road you drove in on and head for the gazebo. Follow the trail as it dips down to Heron Marsh and crosses Barnum Brook, after which it officially becomes the Jenkins Mountain Trail. Continue through a pleasant hardwood forest to a T-intersection and turn right, following the blue trail markers. The trail meanders through the forest without gaining or losing much elevation. It soon passes the Black Pond/Long Pond trail, described below, before passing a couple attractive beaver ponds. Shortly after the ponds, the trail makes a broad sweep around the base of the mountain before the moderate climb to the partially open summit begins. The outstanding view includes waterways and some attractive wilderness peaks.
From Keese Mills Road: The trail along Black and Long ponds isn't as wide or smooth as most other VIC trails, which doesn't make it bad, it just makes it more like other Adirondack paths. The trail leaves the parking area and follows a river before the western shore of Black Pond comes into view. Black Pond is actually a 72-acre glacial pond — read more here. The trail follows the western shore of the pond. It's narrow in spots, and depending on the time of year there could be some wet sections, but you're wearing hiking boots, right?
At the intersection go straight to leave the northern tip of Black Pond, right makes a loop around the pond, and follow the stream that connects Black to Long. Long Pond is reached in no time at all. It's much smaller than Black Pond, so reaching the intersection with the Jenkins Mountain trail doesn't take long. Turn left. From here, the trail is described above.
On The Map