Monday, August 27, 2012
Blue Ledges: 08/26/2012
I've done the hike to Blue Ledges many times over the years, but today was the first time as a family hike. You could make the case that autumn is the best season to visit, but I wanted to bring our kids here on a warm summer day like today, when they could splash in the Hudson when we reached our destination.
Don’t be discouraged by abundant mud and tree roots in the first few tenths of a mile as the trail skirts Huntley Pond, hiking conditions quickly improve when the trail veers away from the pond. The trail continues on mostly level terrain with a few gentle ups and downs before gradually dropping roughly 300 vertical feet down to the river. At the river, a campsite and natural sand beach lie just downstream. Since it’s inevitable that kids will want to get wet, bring along flip-flops and bathing suits and let them get knee-deep. Obviously caution is in order when the river is running high. When it’s time to hike out, 15 minuts of steady – but never steep – climbing is followed by easy cruising all the way back to the trail head.
If you try this hike and are captivated by the wildness of the Hudson Gorge, you’ll want to keep an eye out for announcements regarding New York State’s recent purchase of 69,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn forestland. Included in the acquisition are significant stretches of the upper Hudson River, the Essex Chain of Lakes and OK Slip Falls. Located within the Hudson Gorge area not far from Blue Ledges, OK Slip Falls has a drop of 250’ and is considered to be one of the Adirondacks’ most spectacular waterfalls. These lands are not yet open to the public, but plans for hiking access and other recreational opportunities are expected to be announced over the coming months.