At 1420 feet, Gilligan Mountain's summit elevation is lower than most High Peaks parking areas and trailheads. But if you're looking for an easy, rewarding family hike or just a quick fix of beautiful High Peaks views, this off-the-beaten-path mountain fits the bill.
Between school activities, karate, lacrosse, and who knows what else, it's been difficult fitting in any family hiking so far this summer. On Saturday, we had just a half day available and decided it was too nice a day not to hike.
I try to keep a mental list of suitable family hikes. The Adirondack Mountain Club's Kids on the Trail! Hiking with Children in the Adirondacks guidebook is an excellent resource, and is where I first read about Gilligan Mountain.
The Gilligan Mountain trailhead is located on Route 9, 3.6 miles north of the "malfunction junction" with Route 73. Although it's only 10 minutes from Exit 30 of the Northway, this is a beautiful area that most High Peaks hikers bypass, heading instead to trailheads in Keene Valley and Lake Placid via Route 73. We saw no one else on the trail during our hike.
As any parent knows, each year brings new challenges. With family hiking, one of those challenges is transitioning young children from being carried in a backpack to hiking on their own. We began that transition with Sylvie last summer, when she was 3. Now that she's 4, she's too big to ride in the backpack and wants to do her own hiking anyway (anybody interested in a nice Kelty kid backpack?). With this successful outing under our belts, we'll look to do at least a few more similar hikes this summer.