The Adirondack Park boasts an abundance of amazing hiking excursions from overnight to day trips. Orenda is located in an amazing section of the park where you will find both difficult mountain terrain to rolling, lush valleys with lakes and ponds.
Crane Mt. pond is a great hike for all levels. This short 4-mile hike is a great way to break into Adirondack hiking. Crane Mt. has a one of the best views in the lower Adirondack Park looking towards the High Peak Region. A short ride from Orenda, we will enjoy a drive down a seasonal use road through a lush river valley. At arriving at the trail head, you will be able see a turn of the century barn that has been rehabbed through the Crane Mt. Co-Op. The Hike begins with a .3-mile walk on an old logging road to where we encounter a junction in the trail. There is a choice between a 1.4 mi. hike to the Pond, around the base of the Mt and a ascent on a seasonal creek bed, littered with Glacial Boulders, commonly referred to as an Erratic Rock. There a two ladder sections that quickly and safely ascend you up a rock face. The other route is a .5-mile, aggressive ascent up the side of the Mt. face. Your rapid ascent quickly gets you above the surrounding mountains to vistas that provide amazing views. Once at the first section of the Hike, you will be rewarded with a postcard view of an amazing mountain pond being shadowed by the mountain peak. And on to the summit.
Peaked is a modest sized mountain perfect for the beginner. A 30 min drive from Orenda, along the Hudson River, to Thirteenth Lake where we will begin our hike walking along the beautiful shoreline. Just before the creek, the trail turns away from the lake and follows up the stream valley though lush forests, along a string of beautiful beaver meadows. In about 1.5 miles the trail reaches the shore of Peaked Mountain Pond. Here you will be able to see Peaked Mountain in all its glory. With a short walk around the pond we will begin a steep final ascent. Once on the summit the views are sensational.
Snowy Mountain is recommended for the person who is looking for a challenge and wants to get deep in the mountains. Snowy mountain is the highest peak in the lower region and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the park. At the Summit, there is now the newly repaired fire tower, thanks to the hard labor of many. A 50 min drive from Orenda, we begin our ascent walking through a rolling forest valley for 2 miles. We will reach an old riverbed and begin out final ascent to the summit. Here you will be challenged with loose rocks and steep flat rock slabs. After scrambling up the rocks for about a 1.2 miles we will reach the summit. By climbing the fire tower, for an additional 50 ft, it will make sense why you chose this hike. Today there remain but five fire towers in Hamilton County, on Blue, Owls Head, Pillsbury, Snowy and Wakely mountains.
OK Slip Falls is one of the highest, 250-foot tall and one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Adirondack Park. This excursion is ideal for those looking for a moderate day of hiking and exploring an amazing natural feature of this area. The falls are located in the newly created Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area and has been available to explore as of April 2013. The six mile round trip begins near the top of Casey Mountain, where the trail meanders gradually through thick forested areas and old logging roads, on to the bottom of the valley, where OK Slip Brook flows toward the Hudson River. From the two outlook points, you be awarded with this stunning waterfall. Only a short distance form the falls you can reach the Hudson River, where during the warmer months makes for great swimming. Keep your eyes open in this region, as it is rich in garnet and other minerals that were a major part of this area’s mining industry in the early 1900s.
Lizard Pond via Garnet Lake. Lizard Pond is one of our more popular excursions only a five minute drive from Orenda. Combining paddling and hiking, Lizard Pond is a good trip for the beginner or perfect for the avid outdoors person looking for a fun outing. The trip begins with a 20-45 min. paddle (depending on experience) across Garnet Lake, revealing to you several unique and inspiring Adirondack features. The region is surrounded by rolling mountains, creating a remote feeling, providing you with an amazing panoramic during the paddle across Garnet Lake to the Lizard Pond trail head. At the trail head, you begin a 1.5 mi. hike that follows between two ridge lines meandering along through beautiful hardwood forests, eventually leading into wetlands that have become an incredible beaver habitat remote Lizard Pond. A picnic table and lean-to awaits you to have an enjoyable lunch/snack and provides a relaxing setting. On warmer days, both the lake and pond, are enjoyable areas for swimming. Fishing in both bodies of water are popular, with our guests, as they get little use and the fish populations are healthy.
Dunkley Falls is the main feature within the Mill Creek Recreation Area. The waterfall is located on Mill Creek which eventually flows into the Hudson River a short distance downstream. Dunkley is approximately 15 feet high with several boulders above, on, and at the base of the falls which adds to the beauty. The trail is an easy walk on an old, well-worn road that leads downhill to the creek where you will hear the falls before seeing it. The vicinity also has campsites that make great picnic locations and places for kids to play. A short ways downstream, the adventurous can find great swimming and cliff jumping at “The Black Hole”, a famous local hang out perfect for hot days.
The boom of Auger Falls on the Sacandaga River is an experience not to be missed. Auger is created by the channeling the river into a flume as it drops into an incredible gorge. This impressive waterfalls is powerful and scenic and is a perfect hike for all. Varying terrain through pine forest is well marked, easily navigable, and very beautiful. Smell the scented woods on this short, flat walk towards the falls. The area is a great place for a short stop to take in this natural wonder, or for a picnic lunch.
The 6.7-mile trek up Pharaoh Mountain starts at a flooded beaver pond on Crane Pond Road. Follow a detour trail around the flood area and then continue along the road (past the Blue Hill Trail head) to the trail head for Pharaoh Mountain at Crane Pond. About 1.2 miles in stay right on the Pharaoh Mountain Trail as a route to Gidden Marsh shoots off to the left. Here, the route traces the north end of the marsh, then continues deeper into a mixed forest of hemlock and conifers. Around mile 2, the trail begins to get rockier as the grade steepens. The trail gains over 1,000 feet in the next 1.5 miles, challenging with rock slabs and exposed roots, Continuing on, gaps in the trees offer views of Schroon Lake and the Dix Range to the west. At mile 3.4, the trail reaches the grassy plateau summit of Pharaoh Mountain. Herd paths wander out to several rock outcropping overlooks. Head to the south summit, the most sheltered summit and the best bet for lunch on a windy day. From here, look south to Pharaoh Lake and east to Vermont’s Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. Not far off, the west summit offers outstanding views of Adirondack peaks beyond Schroon Lake.