Buck Mountain is located on the eastern side of Lake George, New York. It has two trailheads. The following describes the hike from the trailhead closest to the lake. Take Ridge Road (9L) to Pilot Knob Road (County Road 38). Drive on Pilot Knob Road for 3.4 miles and look for the trailhead on your right. Primary activities on the trail include hiking, dog walking, and trail running. Parking is free and abundant but water and restrooms are not provided. Cell phone service is intermittent while on the trail. The trailhead includes a register which is important to sign because there are several trails that start from this trailhead.
The hike to the summit of Buck Mountain from the lake side trailhead is 3.3 miles with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet; from 300 feet to 2,300 feet. Once, I tried to mountain bike to Inman Pond from this trailhead but that was a really bad idea because the trail becomes very rugged. Do you have any recommendations for mountain bike trails near the lake?
The first mile of trail is wide, a little rocky, primarily flat, and includes a couple of stream crossings.
The final mile of trail narrows to a single track and is significantly steeper than the first two miles. In addition, the final stretch may require the use of your hands to maintain balance on some of the rocks. This part of the hike is especially challenging if you are carrying a child in a carrier backpack because there are some steep step-ups that can put a lot of pressure on your knees. I think I started hiking Buck Mountain around the age of 12 and it can be too long of a hike for a child younger than that. The hike up Pilot Knob Mountain starts from the same trailhead, offers similar views, and is shorter but it can be confusing to find the trail.
After 2.5 miles of no view, the forest canopy subsides and, on a sunny day, views to the south and east can include areas as far as Vermont.
The summit area is large and an ideal spot for a picnic. It includes a panoramic view of the central part of the lake. I have been hiking Buck Mountain every couple of years since I was a kid and the combination of its challenge and reward never get old.
A few steps to the north is a clearing that provides a view that consists of the narrows and Northwest Bay.
The following video captures the awesome panoramic view from the summit.
Finally, can you see the toad hiding in the leaves?
In sum, Buck Mountain trail is a long, challenging, and rewarding hike that can be fun for hikers, leashed dogs, and trail runners. The following are some of the other fun hikes on Lake George: