Lake George

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tongue Mountain Range - Lake George, NY - 11/22/12

Last year on Veteran's Day, I hiked the lower portion of the Tongue Mountain Range in Lake George, NY for the first time.  It was a strange weather day with hale and snow squalls followed by sun and then more snow squalls.  

Today I did the same loop with Leesa, only we went clockwise this time instead of counter-clockwise as I did last year.  Three reasons for this:  1)  We'd catch more sun that way; 2) We would do the most rugged piece first, and 3) We'd be looking towards the view coming down the ridge. 

The map below shows our route.  We started at the Clay Meadows parking lot on Route 9N, north of Bolton Landing.  The trail crosses the Northwest Bay inlet creek almost immediately before beginning the climb to the Tongue Range trail.  We hiked quickly, and reached the intersection with the ridge trail in 55 minutes.  I noticed that there are new signs and trail marker discs on the trail.  Last year, I remember there were long stretches with no markers.  Good to see the new ones.

 Our approximate route for the day
A new sign at the intersection with the ridge trail

At an hour and 15 minutes we were at the leanto on Fifth Peak.  As far as I can recall, no leanto in the Adirondacks offers a better view than this one.  If someone else can think of one, let me know! 

The view from the Fifth Peak leanto!

From the leanto, it is a downhill roller coaster hike to Montcalm Point at the tip of tongue.  We followed the trail south to French Point Mountain (FPM), which offers an even better view than Fifth Peak.  From FRM, you can see the Mother Bunch Islands to the North, and the Narrows Islands to the south.  Black Mountain is across the lake on the east side.  Leesa was thoroughly impressed with the view.

The view from French Point Mountain

We paused for a while on FPM.  It was warming up quickly from our 27 degree start.  It must have been at least 40 degrees already by 10 AM.  

Looking north to Fifth Peak from FPM.  The Mother Bunch Islands down below

As we made our way further down towards First Peak, we had views most of the time since the leaves are off the trees.  At First Peak, we enjoyed another fantastic spot.  It is hard to pick a favorite between FPM and First Peak; both are awesome.

We ate our lunch at First Peak.  We only saw one boat out on the lake.  All was quiet, except Rev whining for more food.

View south from First Peak

More food please!
Some of the Narrows Islands

Time to take Rev's coat off.  It was getting warm
Surprisingly, the steepest part of the ridge is probably the last rock outcrop heading south before you get to the point of tongue.

Leesa making her way down the last rock before Montcalm Point

At Montcalm Point, the sun was strong and the waves were lapping the shore.  It was almost like summer.

Looking south from Montcalm Point



From Montcalm Point, we followed the shoreline route back to the car.  Don't be fooled that the shoreline route is an easy walk along the water's edge.  There are quite a few ups and downs and some parts have a lot of rock in the trail.  Not difficult, but not a stroll either.

Allow a full day for this hike and enjoy all the ridgeline views.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  12.9 miles
Hike Time:  7.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  3600'

Our route as shown on National Geographic Topo

See more pics on the Picasa Web Album


  1. Wow! That is such an awesome hike! Your pics are beautiful. And it's a big hike too. I trust you are the expert on where to find the best views in the Adirondacks. It hurts to miss a hike with views like that.

    Thanks for letting us come along and see it from home!

    1. It is a beautiful hike. Great views of the lake and the islands and yes the lake is great for paddling. I'm fortunate to have it nearby. Thanks for reading!

  2. P.S. Lake George looks like a beautiful place to paddle too.

  3. It's not quite 13 miles, and definitely not 3600 feet. If you're using a GPS there's a lot of fault in using that data without combing through for incorrect entries. I know this may not help one feel better about their hike, but facts are facts. You will find numbers greater than even yours online, but again those are all inaccurate as well. 11.8 miles and roughly 2800 feet Knowing is half the battle.

    1. Mileage depends on where you go. I did the route described in this post plus any other little wandering recorded by my 2 GPS units. I compared my data to NYSDEC who marks the trails and maintains data on their website. See their hiking trails data at:

      If you add up the data they provide, the hike is 13 miles and 3970 vertical feet for the route that I took. I did the spur to Fifth Mountain and the spur to Montcalm Point in addition to the loop.

      Sure you can find dis-similiar data. I'm just reporting what I found and I'm comforable with it since it is close to what NYSDEC reports.