Submitted by guest blogger Eileen Mowrey
Hiking challenges have become very popular in the Adirondacks. There is the famous 46 High Peaks challenge, the recently created Saranac Lake 6er and Lake Placid 9er challenges. Tupper Lake is home to the Triad – Coney, Goodman, and Mt. Arab. But what about the other peaks in the region? Tupper Lake is home to many spectacular climbs that haven’t made any official list, and all of them are worth exploring! Whether you’re looking for a full day adventure or a short hike you can squeeze in alongside other fun activities, check out these five family-friendly hikes near Tupper Lake.
1. Panther Mountain
1.2 Miles RT – 780 ft. Elevation Gain
Panther Mountain is the perfect addition to a multi-adventure day in the Tupper Lake region. A short, 1.2-mile round-trip hike, the trail is well traveled and easy to follow. It begins with a switchback trail through tall pines and soft soil, then gradually steepens as you near the top. Giant boulders along the trail offer interesting stopping points for water breaks and to catch your breath. From the summit, enjoy views of Tupper Lake and the Seward Range, which includes several of the 46 High Peaks. Directly across Route 3 from the Panther Mountain trailhead, easily accessible from the parking lot, is Panther Pond. After enjoying the view from above, meander down to the water for a quick up-close glimpse before you head off to your next adventure.
2. Floodwood Mountain
4.2 Miles RT – 675 ft. Elevation Gain
Floodwood Mountain is located just over six miles down Floodwood Road, accessible via Route 30 near Lake Clear. Home to the original St. Regis Outfitters, a Boy Scout camp, and several popular camping sites, Floodwood Road takes you deep into the heart of the St. Regis Canoe Wilderness. Floodwood Mountain is one of few hiking destinations in this pristine corner of wilderness, and though the trail is well-marked and family-friendly, it sees much less traffic than other regional hikes. Enjoy privacy and serenity as you hike down the access road with sunlight dappling the path through the trees above. Make your way through a section of dense forest before turning upward and completing the moderately steep ascent to the highest viewing point. This small overlook gives you a bird's eye view of the lakes, ponds, and wetlands below. Continue another .25 miles to the South Summit for a more expansive view from a grassy summit, a feature rarely seen in the Adirondacks!
3. Low’s Ridge – Upper Dam Trail
5 Miles RT – Minimal Elevation Gain
Explore the Low’s Ridge Upper Dam Trail on foot or on a bike! The trail is a mostly level dirt road that passes through a diverse landscape of wetlands, waterbodies, and various forest types. A popular destination for birders, this is an excellent place for families to learn more about the many ecosystems of the Adirondacks. The road concludes at a “y” intersection at the Upper Dam on the Bog River. From there, you can either turn back or extend your trip. Take the left fork a short ways to Hitchins Pond, or veer right to climb to the top of Low’s Ridge. Only a mile long, the trail leads to stunning views of the High Peaks. To reach Low’s Ridge, take Route 30 south out of Tupper Lake and turn onto County Route 421 after 8.7 miles. Another 7.5 miles down that road, you will reach an intersection with a gated road to the left. Park out of the way of the gate and start hiking!
4. St. Regis Mountain
6.6 Miles RT – 1,250 ft. Elevation Gain
While this hike is more commonly known as part of the Saranac 6ers, St. Regis is just as close to Tupper Lake and it offers exquisite views, especially at sunset! Following a gradual up and down hike through varying forest types, it is only toward the end of this trail that things get at all challenging. Stick with it through a brief section of slightly rocky terrain and you will be rewarded with a newly refurbished fire tower and 360 degree views of Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, and the regions beyond. St. Regis is also a favorite among canine family members! To get there from Tupper Lake, take Route 3/30 toward Saranac Lake until the two roads split. Turn left to stay on Route 30 and follow it through Lake Clear into Paul Smiths. The first left after Paul Smiths College will put you on Keese Mill Road. Just shy of three miles down that road you will find the St. Regis parking lot on the left.
5. Blueberry Trail
9.2 Miles RT – 705 ft. Elevation Gain
An out and back trail located near Tupper Lake, Blueberry Trail offers a diverse nature experience. While the distance might deter less experienced hikers at first, the trail is actually family-friendly. With just over 700 feet of elevation broken up over 9.2 miles, take time to explore the plants, trees, and animals you find along the way. A great opportunity for teaching kids about the natural world around them, clear a full day for this remote experience. Enjoy views of Blueberry Lake from the trail, and be sure to look out for actual blueberry bushes along the way! Accessible via Corey’s Road and Axton Landing, summer and fall are best for hiking this trail. In winter months, a seasonal road adds an additional three miles each way.
While you won’t earn a patch for any of these trails, the views and the experience are reward enough. Before or after your hike, be sure to stop into Tupper Lake to fuel up and explore what else the region has to enjoy!