Looking for a great day hike around Lake George? Check out Buck Mountain! With two different approaches – this hike is great for all skill level hikers and offers spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Let's start with the more popular route that starts from Pilots Knob Road, the south ascent! From the trailhead, you will follow the yellow trail markers to the summit for an out and back hike that adds up to 6.6 miles round-trip and about 2k feet of gain. The trail starts as a flat wide hike through the forest and veers left to a stream crossing at about .5 miles. There are plenty of rocks here to hop across to get you to the other side! After you cross the stream you get ready to start your elevation gain. The trail from here maintains a moderate grade to the summit with a few spots of forgiveness along the way for you to catch your breath.
The trail follows the stream for a while and then cuts toward the summit with some steep pitches that climb up roots and rocks. After about 3 miles you will be rewarded with your first views of the lake as you scramble of open rock to the top of the ledge. From here you have a wonderful open view of the south end of the lake. If you are lucky enough to be at this spot alone, or with just a few other people, this is a great place to stop for a break and enjoy the views! After you have taken it all in continue into the woods just beyond the rock to head toward the actual summit. The views are widespread as you make your way across this ridge and you will see several cairns leading the way. After crossing the ridge you will arrive at the actual summit where you can drop your pack, pick a spot on the open rock and take in the lake views.
South Ascent Total Distance: 6.6 miles (round-trip)
Total Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
Now let's move on to the north ascent. This trail starts from Shelving Rock Road near the Dacy Clearing. There are designated parking spots for the trail on each side of the road as well as a dispersed camping spot near the trailhead. This trail winds its way through the forest with a few ups and downs for the first mile. The trail then climbs more steadily with a few flat sections to catch your breath before making your way to the top. While this trail does not award you with any views until you reach the summit, it is an enjoyable hike and a shorter approach to the summit.
North Ascent Total Distance: 5 miles (round-trip)
Total Elevation Gain: 1,130 feet
Both trails are perfect for an enjoyable day hike and the views of the lake are unsurpassed. Once you are on the summit you will see why this is one of the more popular hikes in the area during any season.
Thanks to our PureADK Pioneer, Bryce LaDuc, for sharing info on this hike. Now living it up in Portland, Oregon, Bryce discovered her love for the mountains in the Adirondack Park, where she spent several years exploring the region. You can follow Bryce and more of her outdoor adventures via her Instagram profile.