The Old Forge region’s lakes, ponds, rivers, and peaks have beckoned hikers for generations. Indeed, there are so many places to go that it’s hard to know where to start.
To make that decision easier, the Adirondack Explorer has just published 12 Short Hikes Near Old Forge, a pocket-size guidebook to some of the area’s best hikes.
The book is aimed at casual hikers, families, or anyone who wants a quick dose of wilderness.
The hikes range from one mile to 6.4 miles in length, round trip. Half of the hikes have an elevation gain of under 300 feet.
The destinations are Bear Lake, Remsen Falls, Middle Settlement Lake, Moose River Mountain, Moose River Lock & Dam, Bald Mountain, Cork Mountain and Mountain Pond, Becker’s Ledge and Bubb Lake, Moss Lake, Cascade Lake, Rocky Mountain, and Black Bear Mountain.
In addition, it includes Cathedral Pines north of Inlet as a bonus hike. This is a tenth-of-a-mile loop through a stand of giant pines, with a memorial to an airman killed in World War II.
Each chapter includes detailed trail descriptions, GPS coordinates and driving directions for the trailhead, hand-drawn maps by local artist Nancy Bernstein, and photos by a variety of veteran photographers. The difficulty and scenic beauty of the hikes is also ranked.
The cover photos were taken by Carl Heilman II, one of the Adirondack Park’s most celebrated photographers.
Other photographers who contributed inside photos include Nancie Battaglia, Nancy Ford, Clark Lubbs, and Bill Ingersoll.
Most of the hikes can be done in a few hours or less.
Excluding Cathedral Pines, the easiest is the mile-long and largely flat walk through the woods to Lock & Dam on the Middle Branch of the Moose.
The hardest is the four-mile round trip up Black Bear Mountain, with an elevation gain of 660 feet.
The guidebook can be purchased locally at the Old Forge Hardware, the Adirondack Reader of Inlet, and Mountain-man Outdoor Supply Co.
It can also be found at the Adirondack Explorer website: adirondackexplorer.org as well as stores around the Adirondack Park.