Have you wanted to try hiking but are unsure of where to begin? Here are a few tips to get you started! We also welcome your questions—just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 518-644-9673. Our knowledgeable staff can help you choose a trail that is right for you, whether you need something good for kids, with scenic views, short and sweet, or challenging to work up a sweat.
Do your research.
There are lots of resources online, just be sure you’re looking at recent information. If you find someone who, for instance, writes a great review of their family’s hike at Amy’s Park in 2018, their experience may be very different from what you’d find today because the trails and parking lots have changed since then.
It’s also best to get your information straight from the source—get the newest brochures and trail details from lglc.org/hike-lake-george. In addition to trail info, you’ll also learn that our preserves are open year-round, dawn to dusk, and that some preserves are open to hunting and other activities. See the next page for a complete list of LGLC guidelines.
Start easy, build to challenges.
Nothing ruins a hike like taking on something too difficult or too long, especially if you have kids in tow. If you are new to hiking, go easy, even if you’re in good physical shape. Get comfortable with the basics of hiking before you add in the challenges that come with steep climbs and more remote locations.
- Bring a printed map with you, and know how to read it. You may have a map on your phone, but don’t assume that you’ll have cell service.
- Always carry water and high energy snacks, even for a short trek—low blood sugar and dehydration can sneak up on you.
- A general rule of thumb is it takes 30 minutes to hike an easy 1 mile trail. This varies widely depending on the physical fitness of those in your group. Bring enough food and water for the duration, and bring a flashlight just in case it takes longer than expected.
- Protect your feet! For many easy and moderate trails, sturdy sneakers are fine, but avoid sandals or other shoes you wouldn’t wear with socks.
Follow the trail.
This may seem straightforward, but if you’ve never been on a trail before, it may seem daunting to know where to go.
Each LGLC preserve has a kiosk, usually at the main parking area. The kiosks have maps and paper brochures (while we try to keep these stocked, it’s still best to come prepared in case they’re all gone). There is also a register, or log-in book. It’s always a good idea to write your name, date, time, and number of people you’re with, in case of an emergency. It also helps us know how many people use our preserves each year.
From there you should see the first trail marker on a tree (as pictured). These are colorful plastic circles with the LGLC logo; they could be red, yellow, blue or orange. Sometimes we use other markers, such as yellow triangles, or even a swatch of paint on the tree. One marker tells you to continue straight. Two markers indicate a turn, according to the top marker’s position (left or right of the bottom one). There may also be arrows or other directional signs to help you along the way.
Follow these markers like a dot-to-dot, until you reach your destination—a scenic overlook, waterfall, pond, picnic spot, etc. Avoid taking “shortcuts” through the woods; trails are created with intention of reducing impact on the plants and soils. At any point that you need to rest or get a drink, do it! Stop and take a look around while you catch your breath.
Leave no trace.
There are Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, and all aim to minimize human impact on the environment. These include some commonsense guidelines of not leaving trash behind, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of others on the trail. For a full list and more advice on hiking, go to LNT.org.
American Hiking Society: Hiking 101
AHS provides tips in a number of categories, including outdoor skills, gear, safety and first aid, and discussions on issues related to hiking and outdoor recreation.
American Hiking Society: Hiking with Kids
Also brought to you by AHS, these are a few tips on what to bring and how to be prepared to bring your kids on their first hike.
Adirondack Mountain Club
Adirondack-specific information on where to go and what to expect when you get there.
Have suggestions on other useful resources? Let us know! Email Sarah or call 518-644-9673.