Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hiking Lake George: Pilot Knob

Last Saturday Fred and I joined our daughter Becky her husband Dennis and their 3 boys Freddy Liam and Rory for a hike.
Pilot Knob is not far from their home in Glens Falls and Becky had read favorable reviews that described it as a hike for all ages with a beginner to intermediate designation. The elevations in the review were described as gentle inclines and promised expansive views of the lake as well as a waterfall.

 Pilot Knob is part of the Lynn LaMontagne Shumann Preserve and is stewarded by the Lake George Land Conservancy. The land contains 2 designated trails. The orange trail has 2 marked routes to a Gazebo and scenic overlook with views of Lake George. The round trip to the gazebo is a little over 2 miles. The blue trail starts at the gazebo and leads to the base of a seasonal waterfall (about a mile) and then to the top of the mountain.

The day was sunny and bright with a projected high temperature in the mid 80's, perfect hiking weather.

We started up the mountain in good spirits after picking up walking sticks at the sign in kiosk. The trail is shady with a lot of ferns and patches of wild flowers. Freddy spotted a toad on the trail. We saw a number of woodland birds and heard some woodpeckers in the trees.

Parts of the trail were very muddy. It looked like the "Thank you Mom's" had recently been dug out to improve drainage. As the incline increased there were many rocks and roots in the trail that acted as stairs and helped to keep us from slipping.

By the time we got to the gazebo the twins were whining about Jello legs, Dennis was cursing the reviewer who promised gentle inclines, Becky was planning the rebuttal she intended to write and Fred and I were accusing them both of elder abuse. Freddy was climbing over the rocks like a deer, singing the whole way. Ii think he doubled our distance with all of the circling back to check on us.

The reviewer was right about one thing. The views of the lake and surrounding mountains were spectacular. We rested for a while and then decided that we had enough energy left to reach the waterfall. The blue trail is a gentler climb because of all the switchbacks, and the trail is drier.

The waterfall is a hidden gem. It is made up of several drops with pools that the little boys enjoyed playing in while Freddy led Mom Dad and Pip to the top. The rocks were moss covered, the water was crystal clear and the temperature was noticably cooler than the trail. The waterfall is described as seasonal as it can dry up in the Summer and Fall. We found it to be lovely in mid June.

The walk back down to the parking lot was steep and wet once we got back to the orange trail. It was difficult to find secure footing on the muddy trail. The left fork of the trail is definitely steeper.

This was not an easy hike but I am in terrible shape right now and don't have great endurance.  I would not recommend it for very young children. Our twins are 6. They found it difficult and are active athletic little boys.

That said we will do it again.  I want to go back in the Fall to see the colors

Addendum: Saturday was Fitbit Goal Day.  Fred, Becky and I were all wearing them.  Between the 3 of us we recorded over 40,000 steps and over 400 staircases climbed!


  1. Glad you had walking sticks! Looks like it was all worth it, as that is a great view up there!