Hiking at Green Lakes State Park

Due to 85-degree temps and sunshine, hiking totally exposed in the High Peaks region with our dog didn’t seem like a good idea for National Trails Day.  We instead opted for a closer option, Green Lakes State Park. This park isn’t huge, but it has 20 miles of well-marked trails for hiking and mountain biking varying from meadows to 300-year-old growth forest to lakeside walking.  All the trails are very easy and mostly not heavily traveled.  

We started our day walking through meadows and man was it hot! The morning sun beat down on us for the first 2.5 miles or so, prompting us to take a few water breaks for the dog.  When we finally got into the woods, we saw a large doe standing and watching us.  There were a few dog walkers out this morning and it’s easy to see why with shaded trails in beautiful old growth forest.  After passing near the campgrounds and wandering through the trees a little more, we decided to head down to Round Lake and Green Lake.  These lakes are glacial lakes and were formed more than 15,000 years ago.  Round Lake is perfectly round and incredibly deep.  Green Lake is so deep that the bottom of the lake hasn’t been found yet.  There was a little more foot traffic around the lakes and the trails were groomed very nicely.  We took a little lunch break at Dead Man’s Point before heading back to our car.  

We did between 12-15 miles today and it was definitely easy walking.  I’d recommend Green Lakes to anyone looking for some easy mileage and doesn’t want to drive all the way to the Adirondacks.  The only thing we had issues with on this day was the heat and exposure of the meadow walking at the beginning and end of our hike.  We were very lucky a 5K had been held there that morning and the water stations were still set up so our dog could have some ice water in her bowl and a little bit on her to cool her down.  

The photos are: 1) The trail marker in the meadows; 2) The beautiful blue sky morning before the heat got to us; 3) NoKey and Gracie resting at Dead Man’s Point (notice the beautiful bright water behind them!); 4) Dead Man’s Point; 5) Looking across Green Lake; 6) Round Lake

Hiking on the North Country Trail/Finger Lakes Trail in Highland Forest

Last Sunday, we went to Highland Forest with a beautiful 70-degree, blue-sky day!  Since it is only just now showing signs of spring here in Central New York, we knew not to expect dry trails and the North Country Trail showed us that mud is definitely deep enough to swallow up a 70-pound dog!  We hiked a 9-mile loop trail, known as the Main Trail or the Phil Sutters Memorial Trail and it definitely had more undulation than I had expected.  This park is known as “The Adirondacks of Central New York” and gave me a great workout.  While the hills weren’t huge by any means, the trail was diverse and varied from old road bed to bog bridges to straight-up mud climbs!  At some low points in the trail the mud was up to my calves and, like I mentioned earlier, about 5.5 miles in my dog took a wrong step and was up to head in mud.  

It was nice to get out and stretch our legs on this trail and I can’t wait for my next visit to Highland Forest, maybe even to try my hand at mountain biking on their mountain bike trails!

The photos above: 1) NoKey at the conclusion of our hike with the NCT and FLT signs; 2) The view of Limestone Valley below the forest; 3) Muddy trail feet!; 4) Gracie actually taking a break in the woods, which if you know my dog you know is rare!; 5) A blaze on the main portion of the trail, not NCT/FLT. I love the tree shape on the tree :)