Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Cat Mountain: 05/23/2015
The Lake George Land Conservancy's Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve has long been one of my favorite hiking destinations for its convenience (5 minutes from Bolton Landing) as well as the excellent views of Lake George and the southern Adirondacks from its summits. Over the years it seemed I was neglecting Cat - the shorter distance up Thomas (a 4 mile round-trip versus 7 up Cat) more often than not trumped Cat's superior views. But a new route, recently marked by the LGLC, now offers a direct approach to Cat's summit.
I hiked the new Cat Mountain trail late Saturday afternoon with my brother Dave. The new route climbs about a thousand vertical feet in two miles from Edgecomb Pond to the summit. We had a limited time window (2 hours), so we ran the flats and hiked the steep sections.
The route starts at Edgecomb Pond, Bolton Landing's water supply, and follows a jeep trail part way around the pond. There are no trail markers on this section. As the jeep trail veers away from the pond, look for a foot trail with red markers on the left . It's very easy to miss the start of the foot trail, so turn around if you've followed the jeep trail away from the shoreline of the pond.
The new route wastes little time in its ascent. The first half mile climbs gently, but once you hit the flanks of the mountain proper, it's pretty much straight up. Because the route was only recently marked, some sections of the trail can be harder to follow - just keep an eye out for the next red disk or blaze. I don't think I'd recommend the new route to novice hikers or families, but it enabled us to do the round trip in under two hours, including a decent amount of summit time.
The final several hundred yards of trail climb steeply up open rock ledges, revealing sweeping views of Lake George 1,600 vertical feet below, and its surrounding mountains. The panorama extends from Tongue Mountain and Lake George’s Narrows to Crane and Gore Mountains. Since we were hiking late in the day, we had the summit (and the whole hike, in fact) to ourselves.
If you're interested in checking out the new trail up Cat, the LGLC will be leading a hike on Saturday, June 6, National Trails Day (check event details here). Also, a preserve brochure with an updated map showing the new trail can be downloaded here.