Hiking is one of the great physical activities that can be considered exercise for both the mind and body; a hike is a serene exploration of your surroundings and your innermost thoughts. It provides an excellent workout for your major muscle groups with fantastic cardiovascular benefit. Hiking offers many options, whether you are a novice and will be meandering through scenic trails and meadows or you are an avid enthusiast with the goal of becoming a ‘46er’ and taking on the most challenging of peaks. One of the great things about hiking is that you can choose to have as much or as little company as you choose; whether it is a family outing, a group of friends out for a day in the woods, or a quiet trek with your dog, all have their pros and cons.
It was a crisp Fall day when I decided to set out on one of my favorite hikes in the Adirondacks; a moderate day hike up Sleeping Beauty, one of the many mountains that overlook scenic Lake George, New York. This is a great hike for families since there are plenty of gradual slopes and switchbacks mixed in with some flat terrain along the way and is seven miles roundtrip. On this day I decided to take my dog and we found many spots along the way to stop and rest for a drink and milk bone or two. While you can split off the main trailhead and choose to hike to other areas of the mountain offering varying views, we chose to take the straight trail to the top. One of the greatest things about hiking New York in the Fall is not only the brilliant colors of the season but the temperature is ideal for a hiker; no one appreciates a reprieve from oppressive heat more than myself and my Newfoundland.
The great thing about hiking an area like Sleeping Beauty is that no matter how hot or cold you were on the way up, no matter how many times you tripped on a root or may even have twisted an ankle, it is all forgotten when you reach the summit. That moment you get to the peak feels like nothing else; it’s as if the world has opened up and you are seeing it for the first time, no matter how many times you may have hiked this very same mountain. The vista is awe-inspiring; the wind that blows across your face as you sit on a sun-warmed rock is fresher than any you’ve felt before. The strange thing is, your muscles don’t ache anymore like they did an hour ago and now that you’ve reached the top, you can take it all in; this is what you came for.
To enjoy the views and scenery of Sleeping Beauty, along with other trailheads originating from this same parking area:
Trailhead: Take Northway (I-87) to exit 20. Turn left onto NY Rte 9. Turn right onto NY Rte 149 (east). After 6 miles, turn left onto Buttermilk Falls Rd. Becomes Sly Pond Rd. Bear left on Shelving Rock Rd. Park in the main DEC hiker’s lot on the right (9.5 miles from Rte 149).