Friday, July 17, 2015
Hiking at Moreau Lake State Park: 07/11/2015
Family plans kept us close to home last weekend, but we managed to squeeze in a quick half-day hike at Moreau Lake State Park. Visitors come in throngs for the park's beach and campground, but many are unaware of the park’s wild side – nearly 5000 acres of rugged forest on both sides of a scenic stretch of the Hudson River.
We chose to hike the Western Ridge trail (trail map here) for its views of the Hudson. We’ve hiked this trail from its northern end before but not the southern end. It turns out the southern approach is a bit less steep and rugged, though it climbs roughly the same total vertical to the ridge top.
I’ve said before that MLSP is like a southern extension of the Adirondacks, but some of the terrain also reminds me of the Shawangunks, more than 100 miles to the south, with open pine and oak woods and rocky ledges.
The kids stumbled upon a cool geocache located just off the trail. Apparently there’s a geocache challenge involving nearly twenty state park sites in the Saratoga – Capital District. You can read more about it here.
The highlights of the Western Ridge trail are its numerous lookouts over the Hudson River. We hit the first lookout about a mile into our hike. From there it’s another mile or so to the next series of lookouts. The trail continues for about 6 miles total along the ridge to the northern trailhead, but we turned around at the two mile mark and retraced our steps back to our parked car.
It’s understandable that hikers from the Saratoga, Albany and Glens Falls region are drawn to the vast hiking opportunities in the Adirondacks, but don’t overlook nearby MLSP for a quick hiking fix or even a full day outing.