Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

French Mountain - 9/5/11

Labor Day 2011 in the Lake George, NY area was a cloudy rainy day.  It had been raining for days, and I was anxious to get outdoors.  Rather than go for a hike, I decided to go for a trail run.  French Mountain was nearby and I had run around it many times, but never over it.  The Topo map showed an interesting pond near the top named Bear Pond.  I wanted to look at the pond and catch the view to the west from the French Mountain cliffs (even though it was foggy and rainy).  I had gotten permission from the land owner (American Tree Company) to access the property.

French Mountain was so named after being used as an encampment by the French during the French & Indian war.  From the cliffs of French Mountain you can see the southern end of Lake George to the North, and Glen Lake to the South.  The famous Battle of Lake George (acually 3 seperate skirmishes), was fought in the area on September 8th, 1755.

I parked on Glen Lake Road in Queensbury at a pulloff adjacent to the Warren County Bikeway.  My route took me north on the Bikeway .5 miles to a pedestrian bridge over Route 149.  From there, I continued North another .4 or .5 miles to a blue diamond blaze trail on the right (just past a rock outcrop that has a french flag painted on it). 
The blue diamond trail heads east, just north of this rock

For those of you who haven't been on the Warren County Bikeway, it is great.  The section between Glen Lake and Lake George is especially beautiful and runs approximately 4.5 miles, mostly through woods.  The pavement is in excellent condition and the woods are beautiful.  On this day though, I veered right at the blue blaze markers, leaving the bikeway behind.

...some logistics of the route (click to enlarge)

Elevation at Intersection of Bikeway with Blue Blaze Trail :  540'
Elevation at French Mountain Cliff:   1240'
Distance (Bikeway to Bay Road via French Mountain Path... red line on map):  4 miles

The blue blaze trail rises gently at first, then continues at a steeper grade as it turns northward towards the cliff.  Just before the cliffs, posted signs appear beside the trail.  Hikers may want to seek permission in advance with American Tree Company on Bay Road, Queensbury before hiking this route.

another map of the route

a poor view on this day
I reached the cliffs approximately 30 minutes from the time I left the car.  Visibility was poor and it was raining, but it felt good to be outdoors, and it felt like I was in a remote location due to the rain and poor visibility.

looking NW

Approaching Bear Pond

After an hour, I reached Bear Pond.  I stopped under a tall spruce tree to try and get a few pictures.  Within minutes the rain stopped briefly as if the weather gods knew what I was trying to do.  After 5 minutes, the rain started again, but I was back on the trail.

Bear Pond during a short break in the rain

Gravel path east of Bear Pond

path as it nears Bay Road
After an hour and a half, I reached Bay Road.  I continued on the road and looped back to pick up the car.  Trail running in the woods in the rain isn't for everybody, but I find it to be more relaxing than running on a sunny day.  Go figure!  Anyway since this is convenient to home, I'll try it again during the leaf season when I have a few hours to spare. 
If you are in the area, be sure to do the Bikeway between Glen Lake and Lake George.  History markers along the way describe the battles fought in the area during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.  The northern terminus of the bikeway is the Lake George million dollar beach !

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