Silver Lake Mountain is a short, but steep 1.8 mile (round trip) hike through varied and beautiful forests to a craggy mountaintop with terrific views of the mountains of the northern Adirondacks.
Silver Lake Mountain
0.9 mile (1.8 miles round-trip)
Black Brook, Clinton County
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Hike Up Silver Lake Mountain
Silver Lake Mountain is a short 0.9-mile hike between Black Brook and Union Falls in Clinton County in the northern Adirondack Park. The trail is entirely on public Forest Preserve in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest area. The trail is short, but steep and the ranging Silver Lake Mountain summit offers a splendid view of the many ponds and lakes in the valleys below and of neighboring peaks and cliffs.
The Silver Lake Mountain Hiking Trail
The parking area for this hike is on Silver Lake Road, east Hawkeye at the east end of Silver Lake. While the hike is fairly steep in some sections, the trail is in good condition. It offers plenty of opportunities to rest and appreciate the surrounding forests and hills from several scenic overlooks.
The trail leads out from the parking and immediately begins to climb gradually through an early-succession hardwood forest of ash and sugar maple. There are many water bars that help to prevent erosion on the rocky path. The route is poorly marked, but still easy to follow on the well-worn trail. After about a third of a mile of steady climbing, oak trees begin to dominate as the trail runs onto a long stretch of open bedrock. Grasses and blueberry bushes sprout up from between the gaps of the jagged rock.
Soon the bedrock gives way to a pine forest, and the trail tread is littered with pine needles. The view begins to open up through the red pines and hemlocks north of the trail. There are a number of downed trees around the trail, some of which may be blocking the path. After 0.6 miles, the trail leads onto a rocky outcrop to the left that provides the first big view of the landscape below. From this point, the trail rises to the right, beginning the final ascent.
The Silver Lake Mountain Summit
This last stretch is the steepest and rockiest, but the view opens up steadily behind the trail as it climbs. The trailside scenery is special, with smooth clusters of reindeer moss making their home on the rocky slopes beside small groves of spruce and balsam. After a few hundred yards the path flattens out onto a smooth rock face with a wide view to the south.
A short climb later, the trail leads onto the summit. The mountain’s namesake, Silver Lake, is visible to the southwest. Catamount Mountain towers over the long and narrow Taylor Pond and the smaller Mud Pond wetland to the south. To the east, a row of bare red pines and spruce lines the ridge of Silver Lake Mountain, pointing toward the cliffs of Potter Mountain in the distance. The rocky summit is confined to the very top but provides plenty of space to relax and enjoy the magnificent view before returning down the same route.
Click here to download a map and trail directions for Silver Lake 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: Silver Lake Mountain is a popular mountain for snowshoeing in the winter.
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