Friday, June 7, 2013

Hiking at Moreau Lake State Park, 05/18/2013

Hudson River overlook on the Western Ridge trail at Moreal Lake State Park.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.I was so impressed with Moreau Lake State Park on my first mountain bike ride there a few weeks ago that I brought my family back to hike the very next weekend. Overshadowed by the limitless hiking opportunities in the nearby Adirondacks, Moreau Lake State Park would certainly be more widely regarded as a hiking destination if it was located elsewhere in the state. I'm almost embarassed to admit that despite living in Saratoga County for more than 20 years, I never bothered to explore Moreau Lake State Park's 4,000 + acres beyond the heavily used beach and campground area.

Checking out a huge woodpecker cavity along the Western Ridge trail.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
MLSP's hiking trails are quite rugged, similar to trails in the Lake George region and southern Adirondacks. It's easy to forget that Broadway in Saratoga Springs is just 20 minutes away. We chose to hike an out-and-back route along the yellow-marked Western Ridge trail from the Spier Falls Road trailhead to the first major Hudson River overlook. That's a roughly 4 mile hike with 800 feet of elevation gain, perfect for our first family hike of the season. With a little more time, it would have been nice to make a loop using the red-marked Ridge Run trail.

Our kids found plenty of rocks, wild flowers, water and amphibians to hold their interest on the way to the overlook. It seemed as if there wasn't more than a few seconds at a stretch where we didn't hear woodpeckers and songbirds.


Star flower

Fringed polygala (I think)


Red eft

The Hudson River lookout is spectacular. The river twists through a constriction in the mountains, hawks soar and kayakers paddle. Spier Falls dam can be seen a mile or so upstream, but other than that there is little sign of development. It's remarkable that such a landscape lies between Saratoga and Glens Falls, just 10 minutes off the Northway and 40 minutes north of Albany.

Hudson River overlook on the Western Ridge trail

Heading back down

A quick look at the map below shows there's lots more than what we covered on our hike. I'd like to do an end-to-end hike or run on the Western Ridge trail, with its numerous overlooks. There's a 15K trail race coming up in early September that looks pretty interesting too. And in the not-too-distant future, a planned Palmertown Range Trail will connect MLSP's trail network all the way to Saratoga Springs, providing even more opportunities for hiking, running and mountain biking.

Trail map can also be viewed here.

1 comment:

  1. You're right on the fringed polygala - it's one of my favorites!