Coon Mountain is a short and easy hike through a complex and unique forest and up a small mountain with great views of the Champlain Valley and northern Adirondacks.
0.7 miles (1.4 miles round-trip)
Westport, Essex County
Coon Mountain Preserve
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Hike Up Coon Mountain
Coon Mountain is a moderate 0.7-mile hike in Champlain Valley, just outside of Westport. The trail is on the Coon Mountain Preserve, which is open to the public free of charge. The Coon Mountain Preserve is owned and managed by the Adirondack Land Trust. On the preserve, there is a 0.7-mile hike to the Coon Mountain summit or a slightly longer trail through Hidden Valley. The summit of Coon Mountain provides a grand view of mountains and ponds, fields and farms, of the pastoral Champlain Valley landscape and Lake Champlain.
The trailhead and parking area are on Halds Road, off Route 22, via Lakeshore Road, north of Westport. The trailhead kiosks provide information about the natural history of the area and the Adirondack Land Trust. Make sure to sign the trail register.
The hike up Coon Mountain begins with a choice. The trail splits just after the trailhead register. The trail to the right is the 0.7 mile hike that leads to the Coon Mountain summit. The second option is the 1-mile Hidden Valley trail, which loops around to the main trail. For those looking to ascend the mountain quickly, going right is recommended. The Hidden Valley trail can be picked up on the way down.
The trail to the summit ascends slowly amidst a mixed forest. Keep an eye out for dogwood hickory trees with shaggy bark, rare in the Adirondacks. A number of glacial erratics mark the trail, which is carpeted with pine needles. At about the 0.25-mile mark, the trail intersects with the north end of the Hidden Valley Trail.
The trail is relatively flat in this section but soon climbs through a section with stone staircases to wind through an opening in the cliffs on the south side of the mountain. The trail is narrow and easy to negotiate eve as it gains elevation rapidly.
Soon the towering exposed cliffs of the mountain fully appear. The trails climb through rocks and boulders before running narrowly alongside a rock wall as it wraps around to the north side of the mountain. The trail reaches the mountaintop on the north side.
The Coon Mountain Summit
The summit is open and rocky, with great views from the cliffs. Lake Champlain spreads to the east. The fields and buildings of small farms to both the west and south. The peaks of the Jay Range stand to the west. The summit has plenty of space to sit and enjoy the views on many different levels.
The descent follows the same path used to reach the summit, but hikers seeking a deeper forest experience can take the Hidden Valley loop on the way back. This adds a quarter mile or so to the trail, but is a gentle path through a mid-succession beech and maple forest, with a number of hickory trees too, and passes over boardwalks and streams.
Click here to download a map and trail directions for Coon 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: Coon Mountain is a popular mountain for snowshoeing in the winter.
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