In under ten minutes from every guest lodging you can be on trails that have all the features of much more remote places.
The Blueberry Hill Trails are a network of fun, short sections, most of which have a gentle grade. The few steep sections raise your heart rate as every community recreation and fitness trail system should but they are short enough not to discourage anyone. There's a and trail guide that is a must for using these trails. Whether you're on horseback or your own two hooves, there are lots of intersections. But the trails are named and numbered and intersections are well-marked.
Starting out on the Colonel Holst Trail, wildlife is evident right away—on Thursday coyote tracks looped into the trail and then away again, a nice, tight series of symmetrical canine tracks. Even at a walk these animals always mean business.
The trail passes a water supply that sits beneath one of the healthiest of the great white pines in our area. It is a monument of a tree with a girth bigger than many hikers will have ever seen. But it hasn't begun the shedding of limbs or undoing by lightening strike that brings these trees down over decades. There is a date of June 1922 painted inside the door of the water building. I imagine the tree was a seedling when that date was painted.
Continuing on the Blueberry Trail I headed up steeply along the brook that gave us fantastic sliding ice last winter. At the next intersection you meet Dutch Kurtenbach's legacy. The trail named for him is a beauty. Flowing around the contour rather than climbing, this trail wraps around the height of land and through hemlock, beech, and maple forest. Apparently Dutch grew up on Long Island, coming to Elizabethtown in 1955 and staying for years. It seems he came here from somewhere else and developed a love strong enough to bind him to the hills forever. No surprise to anyone who knows this forest or the village of Elizabethtown.
At the top of the Hurricane View trail, Hurricane's summit shone like the warning beacons on the mountaintops in The Return of the King. The fire tower, after waiting a half century since last warning of fire, could be lit up to warn of orcs and dark lords should the need arise. We felt hidden in the darkness of the hemlocks. The nearby Adirondack History Center Museum can get you up into a real fire tower if you're curious about the past.
There is a view of Giant on another lookout (Trail #8) complete with a carpet of Reindeer Lichen (Claydina spp.) and an inconspicuous rock chair deemed by my climbing mates as the place where trolls drag their prey and eat them in the sun.
This is a perfect trail system for children. They can imagine wild stories, practice map reading, explore glacial erratics and hear chickadees all around their heads. For any visitors wanting an authentic experience, this is it. Names in the trail register are all local folks. After breakfast at the Arsenal Inn in the morning or before dinner at the Deer's Head and concert at Meadowmount at the end of the day. This is what we do.