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5 Shoulder Season Hikes – Southern Adirondacks

5 Shoulder Season Hikes – Southern Adirondacks

By Samara Landau

Running from mid-October through December and late March through May, shoulder season is a great time of year to explore low elevation hikes in the Adirondack Park. As the seasons shift, snow and ice packs are often unstable at higher elevations—especially in the High Peaks Wilderness—making for unsafe and unpleasant hiking conditions. Here are five great, low elevation trails in the Southern Adirondacks to enjoy during shoulder season.

Potash Mountain, Lake George Wild Forest

2.7 miles round trip (1,062 elevation gain)

This trail gives you a little taste of many things; there’s a stream, some satisfying elevation gain, and rock scrambles before you reach the summit. Another perk of Potash Mountain is that the trail is really well maintained and well-marked, and of course, there’s beautiful views at the summit.

Crane Mountain, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest 

3.3 miles roundtrip (1,440 feet elevation)

Crane Mountain is only a few miles, but is jam-packed with exciting features. The climb is challenging and consists of some classic Adirondack terrain with some twists. There’s a lake featured on your way back and even an underground secret cave, if you can find it. There’s so much to discover on this trail.

Hadley Mountain, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest

3.5 miles roundtrip (1,500 feet elevation gain)

Hadley Mountain is a great hike when you’re looking for a short hike with a bit of a challenge to it. Hadley’s steep incline leads you to an overlook that spans east, south, and west and a fire tower that has 360 degree views. During this time of the year, you’ll cross back and forth over a small creek. This is a great beginner winter hike for those looking for one (especially good for those looking to see some phenomenal icicles!) 

Moxham Mountain, Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

5 miles round trip (1,900 feet elevation gain)

A less populated choice, located along 14th road off of NY 28N in Minerva, NY, Moxham consists of many scenic views and some ridge walking. This hike offers the challenges and satisfactory views that can be hard to find during shoulder season. You can also see Gore mountain from the summit!

Cat and Thomas Mountains, Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve

7.3 miles round trip with 1900 feet elevation gain, 3 miles for Thomas out and back with 700 feet elevation gain, 6 miles for Cat out and back with 700 feet elevation gain)

Choose your own adventure! You can hike the entire loop or choose to hike either only Thomas or only Cat. An additional perk of this hike is the pond. The views on both mountains are spectacular and each offers a different perspective. If you’re looking for a longer hike, this combo one is a great choice.

Our High Peaks Information Center staff have up-to-date trail conditions and can help you determine the safest and most enjoyable options for hiking in the area. They can be reached at 518-523-3441 or at hpic@adk.org.


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