Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dippikill Mountain and Pond: 10/01/2017

Dippikill Mountain, Sunday 10/01/2017.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

We were looking for an easy, close-to-home hike on Sunday when I remembered Dippikill, the 850 acre camp just outside Warrensburg owned by the SUNY Albany Student Association. Dippikill's trail network is open to the general public, including a nice 4-mile loop that climbs 1600' Dippikill Mountain and circles Dippikill Pond.

Despite being close to Glens Falls and Saratoga, Dippikill seems to be off the radar of local hikers. The trails were in beautiful shape and we saw no one during our hike. In fact the only people we saw all day were the camp's caretakers at the office where the public is asked to sign in. They greeted us enthusiastically, invited us to use the canoes at the pond, and practically begged us to take some tomatoes from their garden. We left with a half dozen tomatoes and a trail map.

The main trailhead

Sidewalk-like hiking across bedrock

Smooth trail through open woods

Climbing towards the high point of Dippikill Mountian

We followed the Ridge and Valley trails in a clockwise loop, first climbing the mountain and then passing the pond. The climb to the mountain's high point (I hesitate to even call it a "summit") was barely noticeable, mostly just a series of rolling ups-and-downs. There's a tantalizing glimpse of the High Peaks through the trees from the highest point, but the main views are from a broad ledge a few minutes' hike further. The ledge looks out over the Hudson River and to the peaks around Lake George beyond. Buck Mountain, Pilot Knob, Cat and Thomas, and the Tongue Mountain range are all visible.

Buck Mountain on the left, Hudson River below

A bit of autumn color

We had been hoping the fall foliage would be near peak, but the autumn colors were lackluster at best. I don't know if the warm and dry September delayed or completely derailed things, but the little color we saw was mostly muted.

Below the viewpoints the trail quickly drops, first passing a scenic beaver pond where a few of trees had turned yellow and red and then reaching Dippikill Pond. There are several beautiful campsites along the east shore of the pond, reservable only if you are a SUNY Albany student or alumnus.

Beaver pond

I want to camp here

Dippikill Pond

Rare moment of harmonious sibling compatability

Another half mile or so of hiking beyond the pond brings you back to the trailhead. For an easy Sunday afternoon of enjoying the outdoors, Dippikill was just about perfect. These trails would also be good for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in winter.

If you go: Take Route 28 north from Warrensburg approximately 5 miles to The Glen. Turn left onto Glen Creek Road for approximately 3 miles, then turn left onto Dippikill Road. Make sure to sign in at the camp office. The main trailhead is located just up the road from the office.

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