Having the pup has opened up a whole new world of hiking to us. Now, instead of seeking out long, strenuous day hikes that cover multiple High Peaks, we’ve found ourselves looking for easy, short hikes that even our four month old dog can handle. These hikes would also be great for families with young children, or for busy days when there’s only an hour or two to spare for some outside time.
Mt. Van Hoevenberg
This is the longest of the quick and easy hikes at 4.4 miles round-trip. But it’s mostly flat with an ascent of only 740′ (the summit is 2,940′). The payoff is great at the end, with views of Mt. Marcy, the surrounding High Peaks, and Lake Placid.
If time or energy is really in short supply, the beaver pond along the way is a destination all on its own.
The Mt. Van Hoevenberg trail leaves from South Meadow Road just off of the Adirondack Loj Road in Lake Placid. It’s about 2-3 hours round-trip, allowing for summit-lingering time. The terrain is easy, so it can be done much faster if necessary. Bonus: there’s no fee to park.
Mt. Jo is another itty-bitty mountain with a big payoff for not a lot of effort. It’s 2.5 miles round-trip with 700′ of vertical ascent, making it shorter, but much steeper than the Mt. Van Hoevenberg trail. Full disclosure: we’ve only done this hike in the winter, pre-puppy. I remember it being pretty steep in parts, which is probably more fun for a young kid than a young dog with really short legs. We’ll likely wait a few more weeks before trying this one with Willa Jean.
From the top you look out on the High Peaks and down on Heart Lake.
And the sight of Whiteface through the trees is really very cool.
The trail up Mt. Jo leaves from the Adirondack Loj. It can be done as a loop hike, or straight up and back. Allow for 1-2 hours round-trip. You can park in the Loj parking area if you don’t mind paying $10 ($5 after 1pm), or by South Meadow Road if you’re cheap like me and don’t mind walking an extra mile to the trailhead.
Owl’s Head is the quickest and easiest of these quick and easy hikes. It’s only 1.2 miles round-trip with a 460′ ascent. It’s a great hike for us when we’re truly short on time and need a quick fix. The pup handled this hike with ease on a pretty steamy afternoon. The summit is pretty open and is a great place for kids and dogs to scramble about. From the top you get views of Porter and Cascade, Pitchoff Mountain, Hurricane Mountain (look for the fire tower), and Giant Mountain. You also get a great view of the valley below.
From the intersection of routes 9 and 73 in Keene, head north on 73 for about 3.5 miles. Take a left onto Owl’s Head Lane and the trailhead is just a short ways up the road.