From an easy stroll by a river to a cool trifecta of forest, pond, and mountain, we have a hike for every body that's interested. No matter how skilled, or un-skilled, that body might be.
Here are my favorite hikes for people who need it extra simple and easy, or want a family outing that includes everyone — from barely toddling to people with walkers or wheelchairs.
Or, as I call it, how to hike with people who don't hike.
Anyone can play
The Riverwalk is all-access.
This system of ramps, bridges, and paved paths links itself, via stairs, paved walkways between buildings, or sidewalks with curb cuts, to our historic downtown section. So anyone is only minutes away from our shops and galleries, coffee shops and restaurants, and more of our delightful park system, which was designed by the same team of architects who created Central Park in New York City.
Saranac Lake has the Saranac River flowing through its center. The Riverwalk is a fine way for anyone to enjoy the rapids under one bridge and the dam visible from another.
There is a connection to another park, with somewhat rougher paths, on the other side of the river. These would be fine for a sport wheelchair or someone who would have difficulty with the roots and rocks of a typical Adirondack trail.
Start at the informative signboards with a map and Saranac Lake history. This is found behind the town buildings where the dam is. Cross over the dam with the bridge in front of the building, and park in back of the building which declares, "Power and Light."
Level access is connected to the parking lot for the Riverwalk or the Beaver Park across the river.
Listen to the rapids under the traffic bridge, and enjoy the colorful mural.
The pathway continues to a wooden ramp right beside the rushing water.
Further on, you reach the back of the Town Hall. There are more bridges if you want more river enjoyment, and continuing access to various parts of downtown.
Explore more from downtown sidewalks with our Historic Walking Tour.
Village of Boulders
Short but so sweet; that's the appeal of the McKenzie Pond Boulder Trail.
Long ago, a glacier melted right here, with a large assortment of granite embedded inside it. Known as glacial errata, this collection of boulders has become a fine hiking destination, easily reached from a small roadside parking area.
From shin-high to two-story, they have been visited so often there are now hiking paths around and through them.
While the trails are uneven and rocky, they also have a special charm for smaller children, who can lack the patience and stamina needed for a long hike to the scenic reward. While they might need their hand held for safety, these trails are easy to reach and offer many fun things to look at.
Some of these rocks are towering hunks, while others can look as though nature sculpted it into a natural bench. Some are mossy, some are cracked, and some have little birch trees growing from them in classic bonsai style.
While there isn't much trail to cover, there are so many side areas and new angles to discover that we can stay as long as someone is still finding new stuff to enjoy. The road is little traveled and a screen of trees keeps it invisible.
We can feel deep in the forest with very little effort.
Find out more with the blog post, Village of Boulders.
Choose your level
The thrill of the Trifecta is that it comes in three levels, so there is something for everyone.
The trailhead is our Visitor Center, with information, bathrooms, and ample parking in the back. Walk down the driveway and turn left at the sidewalk. A short stroll past Pendragon Theatre and we cross the railroad tracks, reaching the entrance to The Pines.
This system of trails, dedicated to the pioneering tuberculosis specialist Dr. Lawrason Brown, was once where the patients took their gentle exercise. Now it is still lovingly maintained. There are signposts, benches, and a number of different terrains to explore.
A wonderful option is that there are two sides of Moody Pond to walk to reach the trailhead. Once there, there are two ways of ascending (take the right hand fork to use the stone stairsteps left from the old quarry) for stunning views most of the way, or descending (at the summit, face the best view and follow the trail to the left) for a gentle woods walk.
Then take the other side of Moody Pond to get back to The Pines.
Mount Baker is a fine start to becoming a Saranac Lake 6er.