I wasn't in the mood for driving today so I headed for a superb local peak in Schroon Lake - Ledge Hill (2003'). The hill lies in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest and the summit offers excellent views of Schroon Lake on a clear day. Ledge Hill is on the West side of the lake and is easily seen from I87, the Adirondack Northway.
While the peak is very close to Exit 27 off I87, there is no public access from the East. Access can be had from the NW by parking near Merrills Hill and bushwhacking SE. My map at the end of this post shows the route. The route is mostly a bushwhack and is close to 10 miles round trip, but Ledge Hill is worth the effort. This hills could qualify as someone's secret stash, it is that nice, expecially on a warm sunny day in December that felt like an October day.
I parked at the end of Wamsley Road and started by hiking on the old Charlie Hollow road before turning right into the woods. The first part of the bushwhack is downhill, and you have to find a place to cross Alder Brook. I usually use the same place each time because I know where it is.
Once across, you can head towards Ledge Hill, which I did, or you can climb Pine Hill which is another nice peak. I simply countoured east near the base of Pine Hill and kept going until I got NE of Ledge Hill where the grade was more aggreeable for an ascent.
I climbed a small gully with a small drainage until I was high in the gully and made my way to the ridgeline. This summit ridge is aptly named. There is almost continuous ledge rock for long expanses of the ridge. The southern half of the ridge is privately owned but there are no posted signs. The best part of the ridge is the northern half anyways.
Below is my photo journal which shows that pictures are worth a thousand words. This hill, while small, is worth the trip. Plan an all day hike since it is 10 miles round trip. The woods are open, but bushwhacking is never as fast as trail walking.
|Viola! Schroon Lake.|
|What a nice view from the northern end of Ledge Hill. The high point in the center right is Pharaoh Mountain.|
|Marsh Pond below. Hoffman Mountain in the center right.|
|Ledge Hill is full of ledge rock.|
|Nice undercast to the East.|
|Looking West to Pine Hill.|
Hike Distance: 9.8 miles
Hike Time: 6.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~2400'