Contrary to what your super-fit friends tell you, one doesn’t have to hike all day long in order to attain spectacular Adirondack scenic vista photo opportunities!
The Adirondack Coast of Lake Champlain is home to the Champlain Area Trails (CATS) network of family-friendly trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and nordic skiing. And there are literally hundreds of miles of trails, some with great views of Lake Champlain, Vermont, the Adirondack High Peaks, or all three!
"Hundreds of miles," you gasp? No worries — I've got an ace up my sleeve: my handy list of super short hikes with a great view. It’s a trio of go-to jaunts that are short, spectacular, sure to please, and I’m happy to share.
Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Wildway Overlook
This is truly a gem of an easy walk in the woods on an almost-manicured trail, complete with interpretive signs along the way, and just one short, steep section. The wide view of the Champlain Valley and of Lake Champlain at the end is worthy of a much more difficult ascent, though the trail is only 1.5 miles round-trip.
The trailhead is located in the hamlet of Whallonsburgh in the town of Essex. Check out this blog about the hike for more information!
2. Blueberry Lean-to at the Blueberry Hill Trails
You’ll have to take the trail map with you to make sure you take the correct turns, but this is a short hike to a lean-to with a terrific view of some of the town of Elizabethtown and the Giant Mountain Wilderness Area.
Park at the second parking spot on Bronson Way and head out on the Dick Olcott Trail. You’ll need to keep an eye out for a steep trail to the left called Dick Olcott Upper Fork, or if you miss it, take a left onto Blueberry Hill Trail. You’ll see signs for the Blueberry Lean-to.
The Blueberry Hill trail system is a series of fairly short, multi-use sections for biking, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and on some, horseback riding. The whole out-and-back to the lean-to is about 2 miles, unless you’re tempted to check out some of the other trails in the network, for which I wouldn’t blame you at all.
3. Belfry Mountain
All you need to know about this hike is that Belfry Mountain has a fire tower at the summit. And that the summit is a mere 0.3 mile from where your car is parked. This hike, located in the town of Moriah, is short, short, short. The views from the top of the fire tower are 360 degrees of awesome, and include Lake Champlain and some of the remains of the mining village in Witherbee.
There you have it. Not the only three short, spectacular hikes in the region, but my personal picks for guaranteed positive results and the adoration of those to whom you introduce them. I'll look for your pics on Instagram!
Head to the Coast
Stay for a while and try more than just three trails!
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