St. Regis Mountain is a fairly long hike, but the gradually increasing difficulty puts its spectacular fire tower views within reach of most hikers. There are also fantastic views from the peak's open ledges, making this hike a fall favorite! If that isn't enough, St. Regis is also one of the mountains required to complete the Saranac Lake 6er hiking challenge.
Follow the access road at the back of the parking area to reach the trailhead sign, which is a short distance down on the right The trail starts as a gentle woods walk with a steadily increasing elevation. There are some striking areas of gigantic glacial errata, then the climb increases and some ridges begin to appear. The last portion of the trail has stone staircases, and there's some rock scrambling just below the ridge line, but it's all relatively easy.
The summit fire tower was recently renovated through the combined efforts of volunteers and the state Department of Environmental Conservation — be sure to check it out!
Trailhead: From downtown Saranac Lake head west on Route 86, toward Paul Smiths. At the four-way intersection with Paul Smith's College, turn right on Route 30 and take the first left on Keese Mill Road. Follow Keese Mill Road for just under 3 miles to the trailhead parking on the left.
Distance: 3.3 miles to the summit
Elevation: 2,874 feet
St. Regis in winter
This is a fairly easy, if not slightly long, snowshoe to a fantastic view of frozen lakes and snow-covered trees. Snowshoes are necessary to avoid postholing through the snowpack, and snow spikes are advisable on the steeper sections. 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 exposed summit, which will be much colder than the lower sections of the mountain.