Buck Mountain is on the east side of Lake George and provides sweeping views of the lake and Tongue Mountain Range
3.3 miles (6.6 miles round trip)
Lake George Wild Forest
Fort Ann, Washington County
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Hike Buck Mountain
Buck Mountain is on the east side of Lake George in the Town of Fort Ann in Washington County. The Buck Mountain trail is located in the Lake George Wild Forest area in the public Forest Preserve. The trail is 3.3 miles long (6.6 miles round trip) from the trailhead to the summit and is pretty difficult, with close to 2,000 feet of elevation gain. The view at the top is a stunning panoramic view of Lake George and the mountains in the southeast corner of the Adirondack Park.
The trailhead and the parking lot is near the end of Pilot Knob Road, off of Route 9L along the shore of Lake George. The trail starts from the back corner of the parking lot, and traverses a flat grade for the first section. Various unmarked side trails lead off of the main trail, but hikers should continue on the wide, clearly marked path.
The serious uphill climb begins after the first small stream crossing, close to half a mile after the trailhead. After this point, the trail is consistently uphill, nearly the entire 2.8 miles to the summit. Though a steady climb, the trail manageable. The trail is wide, well-marked, and in good condition, with only some eroded patches where it gets steep very near the summit. The surrounding forest is a mix of northern upland trees and various conifers.
At about 1 mile, the trail reaches an intersection. To the right, a new trail leads to Inman Pond. Follow the trail to the left to the summit of Buck Mountain. Another few hundred feet along the trail, it turns rather sharply to the left, heading more directly towards the summit. After this turn, there are a couple of short steep sections with scrambles over rocky outcrops and a few muddy stream crossings.
The Summit of Buck Mountain
At close to 3 miles, the trail canopy opens up and hikers will see the sky. The trail also traverses a series of rocky outcrops that provide open areas. A large open rock face a short distance before the true summit provides a beautiful view of Lake George to the southwest. Continuing past this viewing point, the trail leads over a short, mostly flat bedrock section and another line of trees before reaching the summit, which provides views towards the north basin of Lake George.
The return hike is downhill and follows the same route as the hike to the summit.
The hike as a whole is difficult but appropriate for moderately skilled hikers and older children. The view at the top of this mountain is well worth the effort of the 3.3-mile hike with significant elevation gain.
Click here for a map and directions for Buck Mountain.
When You Hike Make Sure to Practice “Leave No Trace” to be Prepared and to Protect the Forest Preserve
Please follow “carry in, carry out” rules for all trash and follow other Leave No Trace principles when hiking in the public Forest Preserve and other wild areas. The seven Leave No Trace principles are: 1) Plan ahead and prepare; 2) Stay on hiking trails and camp at designated areas; 3) Dispose of human waste and trash properly; 4) Leave what you find; 5) Minimize campfires; 6) Respect wildlife; 7) Respect other hikers.
Educated hikers do not damage the environment. Prepared hikers do not need search and rescue unless injured.
Winter Use: Buck Mountain is popular for snowshoeing in the winter.
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