Prospect Mountain is a popular tourist attraction in the summertime. The Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway provides tourists with a 5.9 mile automobile road to the summit (elevation 2030'). There is a fee to drive the auto road.
For hikers, there is the Prospect Mountain Trail, which starts in the Village of Lake George and crosses I-87 on a pedestrian bridge. Once across the bridge, the trail heads directly towards the summit, climbing steeply most of the way. The trail is quite rocky in the summer. Lots of small, round "roller" rocks make for tricky footing. In the winter, travel is much easier if these rocks are covered by a blanket of snow.
|Stairs leading to the I-87 Pedestrian Bridge|
I don't think I've climbed Prospect before in the winter, but I did so today. I had expected rain today, but it was quite sunny. I changed my plans from doing some projects around the house to getting out for a few hours with my dog Rev.
It was 40 degrees, warming to 45, but there was still a lot of snow on the ground. I brought my snowshoes, knowing that the snow would be soft and "rotten". During the day, I saw 3 couples all "bare booting" the hike. They were all post-holing, slipping and sliding. I easily passed all of them and they all probably wished they had snowshoes.
|One of the few bends in the trail|
It took me an hour to climb the 1.6 miles to the top. I didn't climb too fast since I wasn't used to the warm weather and I didn't want to get all hot and sweaty, besides, I wasn't in any hurry. The trail climbs 1500' in that 1.6 miles.
|The upper parking lot|
The trail crosses the Prospect Highway twice. Once down low by Rattlesnake Cobble, and then again just before the summit. Near the summit were lots of snowmobiles using the unplowed auto road to get in some late season snowmobiling.
|Remains of the old incline railway|
The view from the summit is spectacular. Lake George is easily seen. The Green Mountains of Vermont can be seen in the distance.
|Lake George from the summit of Prospect Mountain|
At the top are also some remains of the old incline railway that operated on the mountain in the late 1800's and early 1900's. It's nice to visit the summit in winter. It gets very crowded here in the summer. Much quieter today, even with the snowmobilers and the 3 couples I saw.
|This is one big gear!|
|A zoom view of Lake George|
|Lake George Village|
I circled the summit once I got to the top. Looking to the west, I could see Black Spruce Mountain, which was recently acquired by the State. I'll be checking that out soon, but not yet. It's tough bushwhacking right now in 2 feet of rotten snow.
|Black Spruce Mtn in the distance. This mountain was recently acquired by the State.|
|A pavilion on the summit|
The trip down was an easy 30 minutes in snowshoes on the soft snow. It definitely would have been tough going down without them.
|Rev out on the highway...|
It was great to get in a short hike on the day when I had expected to watching the rain from indoors.
Hike Distance: 3.3 miles
Hike Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 1500'
|The Prospect Mountain Trail (click image to enlarge)|