Cat Mountain photograph Carl Heilman II
Lake George Land Conservancy Hike-A-Thon
It’s July 5th—the marching bands have faded, the fireworks have fizzled and the potato salad has finally gone south. What’s left to do?
One of the best bets to keep the party going is the Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) Hike-A-Thon, which kicks off the morning after every Independence Day. It’s a parade of treks and paddles designed to introduce—or reacquaint—the public with all the adventures awaiting in the natural world.
The volunteer-led outings start simultaneously at 19 sites around Lake George and end in aerial photographs of every hiking group. It’s all free—LGLC communications and outreach manager Sarah Hoffman says the goal is to keep the celebration accessible to as many people as possible—though donations are accepted for LGLC’s ongoing stewardship costs.
There are trips designed for all ages and abilities—family dogs are even invited on most hikes (if they’re leashed at all times). But slots are limited for each outing and many fill quickly. The most popular hike is the most unique, a three-mile, moderate tramp to Little Slide on Roger’s Rock. The spot is owned by LGLC, but there’s no official trail to this overlook of Heart Bay; special access is granted by private landowners for the event.
A trip up Record Hill in Anthony’s Nose Preserve is another top pick. The cliffs of Anthony’s Nose are a breeding ground for peregrine falcons, and although hikers must remain at a distance, they may catch a glimpse of the mighty hunters soaring above.
For a jaunt with the kids, ecologically diverse Amy’s Park offers an easy stroll to a lookout where youngsters can watch beavers at work. More seasoned hikers can try the Cook Mountain Preserve’s ridges trail, a challenging hike ending with a lovely view down Lake George.
Cat Mountain is Sarah Hoffman’s go-to trip. (Though the LGLC sold the Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve to the state five years ago, the organization still maintains those trails.) “It has the widest view,” Hoffman says. “You can look over Lake George and into the Adirondacks.”
The event has expanded since it began, in 2013, to mark the LGLC’s 25th anniversary. Paddling choices were added a couple of years ago; this year there’s a meander from Northwest Bay Brook into the bay and an easy circuit of Hague’s Jabe Pond. And partner sites have joined in: Up Yonda Farm, in Bolton Landing; YMCA Camp Chingachgook, in Kattskill Bay; and the Silver Bay YMCA now host outings.
The nonprofit LGLC, which has had a hand in protecting nearly 11,000 acres of land, launched the Hike-A-Thon to celebrate the joys of the outdoors. But the event also aims to instill a sense of responsibility towards nature, especially in the younger generation.
“Once you’re on the land and you hike it and see the view, that sticks with you,” says Hoffman. “Kids come out and they remember these hikes. It builds a lifelong appreciation for the land and protecting it.”
If You Go
Call (518) 644-9673 to register for the Lake George Land Conservancy Hike-A-Thon by June 15, but popular hikes will fill up well before then. If you miss the main event, there’s the DIY approach: LGLC trails are free and open to the public year-round. Find hiking opportunities, maps and a schedule of events at www.lglc.org.