Overlooked hikes near Saranac Lake
Shadowed by the popularity of the High Peaks so close by, the hiking in and around Saranac Lake often gets overlooked. There are so many hikes offering outstanding views with payoffs that get missed by many of the visitors to the region. Please join me as I introduce you to a few select hikes that should just not go unseen while visiting Saranac Lake or any of our neighboring villages for that matter.
Bloomingdale Bog, South
Follow Route 86 out of Saranac Lake and continue roughly 1.3 miles past the Adirondack Medical Center. There is a dirt road on the right that you need to turn down and park. If you drive past a marshy area along Route 86 you have gone just slightly too far.
This trail is an old railroad bed and flat, which makes it perfect for just about everyone to walk. This trail is used as a popular dog walking area and leads through Bloomingdale Bog, one of the largest bogs in the Adirondack Park. The old railroad grade runs through the bog and offers outstanding views of wildflowers, birds, and the random moose. You can continue all the way through to Bloomingdale or turn around at whatever point you feel in necessary.
Follow Route 3 out of Saranac Lake toward Bloomingdale. Continue for just under 5-miles to a dirt road near a farm house. The trail is not signed at the road, so it takes a keen eye to locate it. You will need to park along Route 3 or drive down the dirt road to the Saranac River and Park there.
Cross the steel bridge over the Saranac River, a scenic spot in itself. The trail is a very moderate route that sweeps around a small unnamed mountain as it continues back to Moose Pond. Moose Pond offers outstanding vistas out over a calm pond. Fishing is decent from this location, but much better from a boat. A small rocky outcropping gives a perfect spot for picnics, sunbathing or even swimming.
Follow Route 3 out of Saranac Lake and continue for 8.5 miles to the Ampersand Trailhead on the left. Parking is on the right or along the road as needed. Be very careful crossing this busy highway and be sure to park in a safe location.
Ampersand is part of the Saranac 6er list of mountains and is one of the finest around. This hike is very close to that of a High Peak adventure and in some cases even tougher. As you pass through an open hardwood forest you will slow start to gain elevation as you cross a couple wet areas and streams. Once at the true base of the mountain you will have a very aggressive climb ahead of you. The trail over the steep sections are very eroded with difficult footing, especially on the steep descent back to the trailhead. The summit will open up a 360 degree view of the entire region, a true gem in all its meaning.
Middle Saranac Lake
This short hike is located right from the Ampersand Mountain parking lot as mentioned above but on the same side of the road; this is a perfect end to a day’s hike. This hike of roughly 0.5 miles will bring you to a sand beach on Middle Saranac Lake. The shallows at the beach are perfect for everyone to enjoy the water, whether they swim or not. An average height person can wade out for 100 feet in certain areas without being over their head. The hike itself is an easy stroll that can be done in water shoes or even flip flops if you wanted to change before you set off.
Follow Route 3 out of Saranac Lake and continue for around 14-miles to the Panther Mountain Trailhead on the right. Parking is on the left. Be very careful crossing the road here and do it quickly. You will be crossing a busy highway on a somewhat blind corner for drivers.
This 1.5 mile round trip hike will start you off climbing right from Route 3 and not stop until you reach the semi-bald summit of Panther Mountain. Looking below you can seemingly throw a rock into Panther Pond. In the distance the Seward Range shadows the foothills.
I could go on for quite some time about the excellent hiking opportunities in the Saranac lake Region. You can visit our hiking pages for more opportunities in the area. Maybe you want to do some flatwater paddling, Saranac Lake has some of the finest in the country and numerous ponds and lakes throughout the region; you might need a lifetime to explore all they have to offer. Our local guide services can also help you on your way or even bring you to some of their favorite spots.