Berry Pond Preserve is only three miles from Lake George Village. Directions: from I-87, take exit 21 for State Route 9N toward Lake Luzerne, turn onto NY-9N, turn right onto Transfer Road, and continue for 0.5 miles until you reach a large parking lot across from a football field. The parking lot is free but did not include any signs for Berry Pond when we last visited in May 2011. Instead, the trailhead sign includes a map for the Lake George Village Rec Center Trails. Hiking, mountain biking, dog walking, and crosscountry skiing are allowed on the trails but motorized vehicles are not. Restrooms and water are not provided. Cell phone service was intermittent.
I visited in May 2011 on a very hot day and only made it partially up the blue trail. The following elevation chart is from my mom’s winter visit because she completed the blue trail and used a segment of the orange trail to form a loop. The blue trail is 1.7 miles long with an elevation gain of a 1,000 feet, from 700 to 1,700 feet.
From the trailhead, start on the “Guard Help Way” trail and follow the blue circle trail markers. The first stretch of trail is wide, smooth, and gently sloping.
Follow the blue trail around the left side of a lean-to, which is available for backcountry campers.
After the lean-to, the slope gradually intensifies and the trail becomes more rugged. Also noteworthy, the trail can be tough to follow so it is recommended to keep a keen eye out for the blue trail markers. In addition, we experienced are moderate amount of bugs. On our May trip, we had a six month old (in a BabyBjorn) and a four year old with us. We turned around at the intersection of the blue and orange trails because it was really hot and too steep for our four year old.
We witnessed, what I believe to be, a red-spotted newt crossing the trail.
I recommend Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve for an easy hike with views of Lake George. On Berry Pond’s blue trail, Lake George becomes viewable only after a steep hike of two miles. The following picture was taken by mom from the blue trail on her winter hike through snow. We have yet to hike to Berry Pond, which is on the orange trail.
In sum, the Berry Pond trails offer challenging hiking that may be too steep for toddlers but that should be fun for dogs. Other trails near Lake George that I recommend checking out include Inman Pond (good for kids) and Buck Mountain (good for dogs).