The three trails of Cook Mountain Preserve offer a variety of experiences for hikers of all ages and abilities.
Starting from the parking area and kiosk the yellow trail follows a wide flat path into the preserve. After about 0.12 miles the trail’s loop begins. Stay straight to follow the trail another 0.4 miles along a gently climbing path (which turns into a dirt road) to its junction with the Ridges Trail, or turn right to wind along the shore of what was once an active beaver pond. The absence of beavers resulted in a breached dam and loss of water; grasses and shrubs recolonized the pondflat, and it is slowly returning to woodland. After about 0.2 miles, the trail joins the Ridges Trail, marked with red round disks.
The Ridges Trail ascends steeply – 680′ over 0.5-mile – then climbs more gradually for the remaining 0.6 miles to an elevation of 1,213′. A short loop to an eastern view into Vermont is reached after 0.75 miles from its base. Continue following The Ridges Trail to its end for a fantastic, clear view down Lake George. Flat Rock and Anthony’s Nose can be seen on the left, and Roger’s Rock on the right.
And it your timing is right – look for wild blueberries at the summit!
For history buffs, there is a new blue trail that takes you to a cemetery that dates to the Civil War. It is reached from the yellow trail about 0.15 miles past the beginning of the loop.
The Cook Mountain Preserve is part of the Lake George Land Conservancy Preserves. Check out other Land Conservancy hikes and complete the “Round the Lake Challenge.”