GILL BROOK TRAIL | TOWN OF KEENE
The clear pools dotting Gill Brook are popular places to cool off on the way to or from other hot spots in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve—Indian Head, the Colvin Range, Nippletop—but the waterway can be its own destination. The Gill Brook trail follows along its waterfall-rich namesake before intersecting with the cutoff back to the Lake Road, making for a 1.5-mile loop—though there’s about a 2-mile walk from the gate to the start of the route. You can detour to the Gill Brook Flume on a signed spur just before reaching the trailhead.
IF YOU GO: The Adirondack Mountain Reserve parking area is located off Route 73. Reservations are required between May 1 and October 31, even for those getting dropped off; visit hikeamr.org to sign up. Parking along Route 73 is illegal.
UPPER DAM TRAIL | PIERCEFIELD
For a family-friendly hike or bike, try this mostly level 2.5-mile dirt road to the Bog River’s Upper Dam. The trail travels along Hitchins Bog before meandering through a host of other bird-friendly habitats. At the Upper Dam, take a left to walk to Hitchins Pond, or turn right for the 1-mile hike to Low’s Ridge, with eye-popping views of the Bog River Valley and High Peaks. Paddlers can canoe to the picnic area on Hitchins Pond before heading up the ridge.
IF YOU GO: From the intersection of Routes 28 and 30, in Long Lake, take Route 30 north for a little over 13 miles. Turn left onto Route 421 and follow it for 7.5 miles to the intersection of two dirt roads. The gated road to the left will take you to the Upper Dam. For the paddle/hike combo, turn left after 5.8 miles on Route 421 and travel a little more than a half mile to the Lower Dam. From there, you can canoe the 3 miles to Hitchins Pond.
ROUND LAKE | TOWN OF LONG LAKE
With wooded islands to explore, a little beach on the north end and no motors in sight, this wilderness getaway near Little Tupper Lake is worth a trip—and the journey there is half the fun: you’ll spot plenty of feathered friends hanging out in the wetlands along the channel into the lake proper. And, once there, heritage brook trout await the lucky angler. There are 11 primitive campsites around the lake, in case one day in paradise just isn’t enough.
IF YOU GO: From Long Lake, follow Route 30 toward Tupper Lake for about 7 miles. Turn left onto Sabbatis Circle Road, then take a left at the three-way intersection; the put-in will be on your right, about 100 yards from the Round Lake parking area. You’ll paddle almost a mile along the channel to the lake.
TIRRELL POND | TOWN OF INDIAN LAKE
if you need some alone time, try this 3.5-mile trek that shares a trailhead with the much busier trail to Blue Mountain. Along the way you’ll catch views of the mountain, meet up with the Northville–Lake Placid Trail (NPT), and maybe even see a moose. The payoff is a mountain-rimmed lake with a sandy beach for swimming and a quiet lean-to for camping—or just picnicking and pondering the scene. To extend your trip, continue south along the NPT, skirting the western shore of the pond; in just over a mile you’ll reach another lean-to, at O’Neill Flow.
IF YOU GO: The trailhead is about 1.5 miles north from the intersection of Routes 28 and 30, in Blue Mountain Lake; the parking area will be on your right. The trail begins at the northern end of the parking area.
CRANBERRY LAKE 50 | CLIFTON/FINE
This half-century hike circumnavigates the 6,995-acre lake, ushering visitors through old-growth forests, past pretty ponds and into the heart of two communities. The average hiker can finish the whole trek in three days, with plenty of camping options along the way. For shorter adventures, the loop can be divided into sections, from the 2-mile Wanakena trail to the 15-mile High Falls Loop. (Some segments are also open to biking, such as the Peavine Swamp trail.) There’s a patch for those who finish—whether you do it all at once or take it in little bites.
IF YOU GO: There are seven trailheads that access the Cranberry Lake 50: two in Wanakena, two in Cranberry Lake and three along Route 3. Visit www.cranberrylake50.org for more information, including full trail descriptions and a downloadable map.