Sleeping Beauty Mountain is well known to locals in the Lake George area and to hikers. The ledge near the summit provides a sweeping view of the lower half of the lake and probably a 270 degree view overall. On May 3rd, while Leesa and I were hiking on nearby Shelving Rock Mountain at sunset and we could see that a fire had started near the summit of Sleeping Beauty. As we got back to our car and drove out, we saw lots of fire trucks. We later read that an accidental fire had damaged about six acres near the summit. I wanted to return to Sleeping Beauty to see how the burn area looked.
The trailhead is accessed via Buttermilk Falls Road, off of Route 149 in the Town of Fort Ann. After 7 miles or so, the road turns to gravel for another 5 miles before reaching “Hogtown” where you’ll see signage and a large parking lot.
If your vehicle has a little clearance, you can drive an additional 1.5 miles to Dacy Clearing (if the gate is open). It is usually closed in the winter and reopens in early May. I was able to make it just fine in my Volkswagen Jetta by using a little care. At Dacy Clearing there is another parking lot and 3 designated campsites. This is the location of the trailhead and trail register.
It is 1.8 miles up to the Sleeping Beauty viewpoint. The trail begins at an elevation of approximately 1340’ and follows an old carriage road and climbs 300’ in .6 miles before taking a hard right (the carriage road continues towards Bumps Pond). From the split, it is another 1.2 miles with an additional 500’ of vertical.
This trip was just a quick up and back for me after work so I was moving fast. I reached the ledge in about 30 minutes. I discovered that the viewpoint area of the ledge had not caught fire. It was rock outcrop just to the north (that had previously been covered with slash) that had burned. It was perhaps a hundred yards from the viewpoint.
|Still looking good at the ledge|
|Here's looking at the beginning of the burn area from the scenic ledge|
Various pictures of the burn area below.
I scouted around and thought that the area didn’t look too bad and should make a pretty quick recovery. Good news.
On my way down, I came across a luna moth sitting peacefully on a tree alongside the trail. I haven’t seen too many of those. After that is was back to the car and home for dinner.
Hike Distance: 3.6 miles
Hike Time: 1.25 hrs
Total Vertical Gain: ~800’