The colors are bright and flashy, the breeze is cool and refreshing, and the sunshine still warms the summit rocks to a comforting, cozy temperature. It’s fall in the Lake Champlain Region, and there’s no better time to hit the trail and soak in the endless views of mountains and lakes.The following four hikes are in order from easiest to most difficult. Each offers the kind of outstanding view that only the Adirondack Coast can offer. Hit them all, then check out the Champlain Area Trails for more great hiking options, any time of year!
1. Cheney Mountain
This is a short hike but it's a local favorite. Consider combining Cheney Mountain with some other short hikes in the region, like Coon Mountain and/or Belfry Mountain (more on that one below!).
This hike crosses a field before entering the forest on an old woods road. Follow this road as it moderately but steadily climbs to high ground. If you follow the trail just beyond the summit you have two great views — one of the High Peaks with the tailings piles of the old mine in the foreground, and the other of the Champlain Bridge and Vermont.
From the intersection of Route 22/9N and county Route 54 (Pelfershire Road) just north of Port Henry, follow county Route 54 for just under 2 miles to the trailhead on the left.
2. Belfry Mountain
If you want an easy hike with a superior view, look no further than Belfry Mountain. Reaching the top of this 1,840-foot peak only requires a 0.35 mile hike along a gravel road that gains 137 feet in elevation. Sure, you’ll be going uphill the whole way, but it won’t last long and the outstanding view of the High Peaks and Lake Champlain will make you forget that you broke a sweat. There’s also a fire tower on top, just in case you want to get a little higher.
From Exit 30 off I-87, follow Route 9 south for 0.1 mile and turn left on Tracy Road. Follow Tracy Road to Witherbee and turn left on Dalton Hill Road on the left, follow that for 1.6 miles to the trailhead on the left. Parking is on the right.
3. Coon Mountain
The 1-mile trail up Coon Mountain ascends about 500 feet and only gets steep in one section, and it remains moderate the rest of the way. It begins along an old woods road and quickly leaves it to begin climbing the mountain. There’s a rugged ravine on the way up and even a rock staircase to help with the ascent. The rocky summit offers views of Lake Champlain, farmland, and High Peaks in the distance. The Hidden Valley Trail offers an interesting way to make a loop on the way back down.
From the intersection of Route 9N and Route 22 in Westport, take Route 22 north. Follow this for 0.4 mile and turn right on Lakeshore Road, then continue for 2.5 miles and turn left on Halds Road. The trailhead is on the right in just under a mile.
4. Hurricane Mountain
Hurricane Mountain is the most difficult hike on this list by far, so it isn’t a good choice for first-time hikers, but those who can handle the 2,000-foot ascent will be greeted by a spectacular panorama of mountains and lakes from the 3,694-foot summit. The trail leaves Route 9N and begins climbing right away. It does level out for a bit, but that doesn’t last and the ascent continues, eventually becoming quite steep before the rocky summit is reached in 3.4 miles.
Take Exit 30 off of I-87 and head west on Route 73. After 2 miles, bear left to stay on Route 73. After 11.5 more miles, turn right onto Route 9N. The parking area is 3.5 miles farther on the right, the trailhead is on the left.