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10 Gorgeous Hiking Trails in Lake George (2022)

lake george hiking trails

As a native New Yorker, making the trip to Lake George every summer was always a highlight of my childhood.

Lake George is most well-known for, well, its lake! The water is clean and clear and perfect for swimming, boating, or just relaxing near the shore.

But Lake George has so much more to offer than just its namesake lake. As a matter of fact, hiking around Lake George was one of my first introductions to the great outdoors as a child.

Since my early visits to Lake George, I’ve gone on to explore some of the most beautiful hiking trails all over the United States. But no matter how far I travel, I always find myself drawn back to Lake George and still take yearly trips back up north.

There’s something about the Adirondack Mountains that just feels like home. Call it nostalgia, but there’s nothing quite like hiking around Lake George.

If you’re planning a trip to Lake George, NY, or just looking for a beautiful place to hike, here are 10 of the best hiking trails in the area:

The Best Hiking Trails In Lake George

1. Tongue Mountain Range Trails

The Tongue Mountain Range Trails are a series of hiking trails that run along the ridge of the Tongue Mountains that surround the lake.

There are multiple trailheads and loops that you can take, so you can make your hike as long or as short as you’d like.

If you complete the entire loop, you’re looking at 15 grueling miles of hiking that takes you up more than 3,500 feet. But the views from the top of the Tongue Mountains are more than worth it.

There have been recent reports of blowdown, which is essentially storm damage causing trees to fall across the trail. So, be sure to check the conditions of the trail before you head out.

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 14.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,149 feet

2. Shelving Rock Mountain Trail

best hiking trails in lake george - shelving rock mountain trail
Image Credit: Alltrails

Right across the lake, literally a few hundred feet away from Tongue Mountain is Shelving Rock Mountain.

Shelving Rock Mountain has a few different trails that you can take to the summit, all of which offer stunning views of Lake George – from a different perspective.

The most popular trail is the Shelving Rock Mountain Trail. It’s a 3-mile out-and-back hike that takes you up 1,100 feet to the top of the mountain.

Once you reach the summit, you’ll be greeted with 360-degree views of Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 718 feet

3. Sleeping Beauty Mountain and Lake George Trail

best hiking trails in lake george - sleeping beauty trail
Image Credit: Alltrails

Sleeping Beauty Mountain is another one of those classic Adirondack hikes that everyone should do at least once.

The trailhead starts at the Hog Town trailhead. From there, it’s about a 3-mile hike to the summit of Sleeping Beauty Mountain, right before the loop actually begins.

Once you hit the peak, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views that will make all of your hard work worth it. You’ll be treated to stunning views of Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains. And at an elevation of 2,500 feet, you’ll be able to glance over into the surrounding mountains in Vermont.

One thing to be aware of – these trails can get a bit muddy, so make sure to wear appropriate footwear.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,341 feet

4. Buck Mountain Trail

Buck Mountain is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Lake George. The trailhead starts at the campground on the east side of the lake, making it easily accessible for most people.

The hike to the summit is about 7 miles, and while it is a bit of a climb, it is definitely doable for most people.

Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains. In total, you’re looking at nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain throughout the duration of the hike.

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,988 feet

4. Stewart’s Ledge Trail

If you’re feeling less adventurous but still want to enjoy some of the best views that Lake George has to offer, Stewart’s Ledge Trail is the hike for you.

The trailhead starts at the same area as Buck Mountain, except you’ll veer off to the path on the right at the first fork in the road.

The hike is only 1.4 miles long and has a modest elevation gain of about 270 feet. So while you won’t get the most picturesque view compared to something like the Buck Mountain Trail, it’s still a great & easy option.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 272 feet

5. Prospect Mountain Trail

Although relatively short at only 2.8 miles, the Prospect Mountain Trail is one of the more challenging hikes in the area.

This trail begins at the lower-west section of Lake George at the Prospect Mountain trailhead.

In just under 3 miles, you’ll be ascending over 1500 feet to the top of Prospect Mountain. Speak about steep! It’s pretty much a consistent and steady incline the entire way up.

But once you make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with views of the entire Lake, up ahead.

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,535 feet

6. Black Mountain from Lake George

best hiking trails in lake george - black mountains
Image Credit: Alltrails

Considered the highest point in the Lake George region, Black Mountain is a popular destination for those looking for a challenge.

The trailhead begins on the east side of the lake at the Black Mountain trailhead. From there, it’s a 5-mile out-and-back to the summit.

In order to get to the trailhead, you’ll need a boat. So if you don’t have your own, you can always rent one from the nearby marina.

Once you reach the top of Black Mountain, you’ll be greeted with 360-degree views of Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,280

7. Elephant Loop

best hiking trails in lake george - elephant loop
Image Credit: Alltrails

Although not as popular as some of the others on this list, Elephant Loop is a great option for those looking for a more low-key hike.

The trailhead begins in the Northeast part of the lake, right near Huletts Landing. There isn’t much of a trailhead either, so keep your eyes peeled for the small parking lot on the side of the road.

The hike itself is only 3 miles, however, you’ll be climbing nearly 1500 feet throughout the duration of the hike.

But once you make it to the top, you’ll get a great view of the southern part of Lake George.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,496 feet

8. Deer Leap Trail

Directly across the lake from Huletts Landing is the Deer Leap trail. If you’re on a boat you can easily access it by driving across to Sabbath Day Point – if not, you’ll need to do a full circle around either the north or southern parts of the lake. At this part of Lake George, you’re pretty much dead center in the middle of it.

Deer Leap trail is a nice, moderate hike that is also short at only 3.5 miles. There are only 760 feet of elevation gain on this trail, so it’s a nice change of pace if you’re coming from some of the harder, steeper hikes on this list.

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Length: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 767 feet

9. Cat And Thomas Mountain Trail

best hiking trails in lake george - cat and thomas
Image Credit: Alltrails

One of the most popular trails around Lake George is the Cat And Thomas Mountain trail. The entrance of this trail off to the west of Bolton Landing.

It’s a 7.3-mile loop, that goes up 1,600 feet in elevation. The views from the top of the two mountains are fantastic, but just keep in mind that you won’t be as close to the lake as some of the others on this list. Either way, at nearly 2,000 feet in elevation, it’s one of the higher summits in the area – so you’ll still get a great view.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 7.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,624 feet

10. The Pinnacle

best hiking trails in lake george - pinnacle trail
Image Credit: Alltrails

With a name like “The Pinnacle,” you better believe I saved it for last!

Despite the name, The Pinnacle trail is actually one of the shorter trails on this list. It’s a mere 2 miles, and in that short distance, you’ll be climbing about 500 feet.

However, the trail is very popular with beginners, as it’s a great introduction to some of the steeper, more difficult trails in the area. The trail is also well maintained, and well-marked.

For the effort required to reach the summit, or should I say the “pinnacle,” you are sure to be rewarded well.

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Length: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 495 feet

Conclusion

The next time you’re looking for a great hike near Lake George, make sure to check out one of these 10 trails. I know most of these trails may seem a bit challenging – but the views are 100% worth it. Plus, after a challenging hike, you get to cool off in the lake. What’s better than that?

Did I miss any of your favorite trails around Lake George? Let me know in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions About Hiking In Lake George

What Is the Best Time of Year to Go Hiking in Lake George?

The best time of year to hike in Lake George is from late spring to early fall. The temperatures during these months are usually mild, and there is less chance of rain or snow. Plus the changing color of the leaves will make your hike that much more beautiful!

Is There a Fee to Hike in Lake George?

Generally not. However, some of the trails may require a small parking fee.

What Should I Bring with Me on A Hike?

Make sure to bring plenty of water, and use enough bug spray. I wouldn’t say that Lake George is riddled with bugs, but there are certainly enough to make your hike a bit uncomfortable if you’re not prepared.

Can I Bring My Dog on The Hike with Me?

Most of these trails are dog-friendly, as long as you have them leashed. And please don’t forget to pick up after them!

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