Black Mountain is a challenging hike on the east side of Lake George with sweeping views of the southern Adirondacks
2.5 miles (5 miles round trip)
Lake George Wild Forest
Dresden, Washington County
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Hike Black Mountain
Black Mountain is outside of the hamlets of Clemons and Hulett’s Landing on the east side of Lake George in the Town of Dresden in Washington County. The Black Mountain trail is part of the Lake George Wild Forest area in the public Forest Preserve.
The trailhead is accessed from Pike Brook Road, either from Route 7 from the south or from Route 6 from the north. The trail up Black Mountain is 2.5 miles in each direction and leads up a road and then towards the summit itself. The view at the summit looks out over Lake George and the Tongue Mountain Range, though the firetower and other communications structures at the summit are blocked off from public access. Much of the trail travels up a stream that flows down the mountain, and the water does create some slippery, muddy sections that might create difficulties for some hikers.
The trail begins from the back of the parking area, leading up a steep hill, before flattening out and traversing an old road for about three-quarters of a mile. At this point, the trail continues to the right at a junction and narrows to a normal foot trail instead of a wide dirt road. Soon afterward, the trail reaches another junction, where hikers should continue straight to reach Black Mountain’s summit.
One mile past the end of the road, and the start of the second section of the trail, the trail grows steep to the summit of Black Mountain itself. After crossing a stream, the trail leads up what seems to be a stream bed, with water running down a rocky trail. The trail winds back and forth, sometimes following along the side of the stream and sometimes through the water, for some distance, before reaching a drier route close to the summit. Soon hikers will reach the summit.
The Summit of Black Mountain
There is one major viewpoint at the summit of Black Mountain. The trail branches to the right past a memorial seating area and out to an overlook, with views over Lake George and the Tongue Mountain Range. The trail continues ahead to the true summit, which has an old firetower, emergency radio facility inaccessible to the public, and a number of solar panels and a small wind turbine to power the complex. The trail also continues to the other side of the summit, towards a lean-to and a pond, before eventually looping back to the same trail that hikers came up.
The return trip to the parking area is relatively easy, although the wet rocks on the steeper sections can be hazardous especially going downhill. Overall, this trail is appropriate for all ability levels and ages, although hikers should be aware of slippery sections and bring good gear to deal with water and mud.
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: Black Mountain is a popular trail for snowshoeing in the winter.
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