Family-Friendly Climbs

Want to hike the Adirondacks with your family but don't know what mountains might be kid-friendly? Bob does, and here are his top three! Great for family picnics, scenic views, or a fun day in nature.

View of Downtown Saranac Lake from the summit of Baker Mountain.

Editor's note

Bob Brand is a neighbor of the Lake Clear Lodge. He's enthusiastic about the multitude of outdoor opportunities available in the Lake Clear area. Bob wants to enlighten potential visitors to the hiking, paddling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing day trips that are easily accessed from here.

OK, I did mention grand kid-friendly places in a previous post so here are a few easy mountain climbs for the young ones.  I think you'll enjoy them too and it's certainly better than trying to cajole a reluctant budding hiker up too challenging a peak. It is so much fun to be part of a child's first climbing experiences, even if he or she needs a little help from a grown up.

Baker Mountain

Right in the village of Saranac Lake is Baker Mountain.  It's a short (0.9 mile), in places a bit steep, climb to the summit where there are good views of McKenzie Pond and McKenzie, Haystack and Moose Mountains one way and, if you stop on one of the several rocky ledges off to the right before the actual summit, views of the village and lakes.

Getting to the Trailhead

To get to the trailhead turn left at the second traffic light coming into town from Lake Clear onto route 3, then right onto Pine Street just past the Belvedere Restaurant, then left onto East Pine St (the 2nd left).  Follow the road around to the far end of Moody Pond. Park on the right next to the pond. The trail starts on the left side of the road.

Coney Mountain

A longer drive (about 40 minutes) brings you to Coney Mountain south of Tupper Lake.  It has a somewhat better 360-degree view from the treeless summit compared to Baker with Tupper Lake prominently featured.  The kids will enjoy picking blueberries at the top. (OK,  admittedly I do too.) It's about 1 mile up an easy trail.  Bring lunch and enjoy a picnic with a view.

Getting to the Trailhead

Get there by following route 30 south through the village of Tupper Lake – 30 makes a left turn in the heart of downtown TL.  About 5 miles south of town there is a parking area off the road on the left which is only big enough for a few cars so you’re likely to see cars parked along the road.   There is a Department of Environmental Conservation trail sign in the grass back from the road marking the trailhead.

Panther Mountain

Panther Mountain rounds out this trio of family climbs. It offers a 0.7-mile climb to a partially bare summit with views of far off Tupper Lake and some closer high peaks. The views from Baker and Coney are better in my opinion.

Getting to the Trailhead

To get there drive south on route 30 to the “T” intersection with route 3.  Turn left on 3 heading toward Saranac Lake, go 1.6 miles and look for the parking lot on the right.  The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road.

These three are the easiest mountains in the area. We've climbed them all numerous times with grandchildren of all ages admittedly including some carrying of the youngest ones at times.  Eventually, I suppose the appeal will be they are easy enough for my old, aching body to summit!  But not too soon I hope.

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