Living in the Lake Champlain Region sure has its benefits
Because of its topography, linking the peaks of the Adirondack mountains to the fields of the Champlain valley and eventually to the big lake itself, the region offers some of the very best terrain for two of my favorite outdoor recreational activities; road biking and cross country skiing.
The varied and meandering country roads that I cycle on in warmer months aren't necessarily appropriate for skiing, but the region outside my door offers quite a treat once the snow falls, as it is home to the vast network of Champlain Area Trails (CATS).
Depending on the skill level of the skier, the options for winter exploration on the Adirondack Coast are many. The CATS trail system does include some more challenging, steeper terrain, but there are a number of family-friendly jaunts with little elevation gain that are IDEAL for cross country skiing!
And so, based on my experience as an enthusiastic mediocre-level skier, I’ve compiled a list of my...
Top 5-and-a-half cross country ski trails on the Adirondack Coast
1 Crowfoot Pond Trail - Moriah Easy; 5 mi. round trip
This trail is an all-around winner. Its wide, gradual incline along an old logging road along Crowfoot Brook makes for a nice downhill glide home!
2 Crown Point State Historic Site - Crown Point - Easy
A short, family-friendly trail - combine history with absolutely stunning views of Lake Champlain! Read a BLOG about it!
3 Blueberry Hill Trails - Elizabethtown - Easy
An interconnected system of short loops on multi-use trails. I don't have kids, but this would be a great place to take them if I did!
4 Split Rock Wild Forest Trails - Westport - Moderate
This is a series of trails through New York’s largest protected forest on Lake Champlain. Trails go up, over, and along this mountain overlooking Lake Champlain with wetlands, little waterfalls, an old quarry, hidden bays, and stunning views. My two favorites: trail to Barn Rock and the North Rim trail. PDF MAP
5 BOBCAT TRAIL - Wadhams - Easy - 2 miles round trip
An easy jaunt through meadows and forests. Read a BLOG about skiing this great trail!
...and a HALF:
HIDDEN QUARRY TRAIL - Westport
This short, flat loop trail goes through a wooded area and beautiful open areas; the latter is best for skiing! (I count it as half because I like to do several loops here on any outing!)
I do fully appreciate the fact that I’m surrounded by such stunning landscapes, and that the trails that connect the communities along the Adirondack Coast begin just outside my door. The good news for those who don’t get to live here? These trails are highly accessible, and there are plenty of lodges and B&B’s awaiting the opportunity to make their guests feel right at home, too.
Kim Rielly is the director of communications for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.