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Champlain Area Trails (CATS)

Champlain Area Trails (CATS)

Much of the literature and attention on hiking in the Adirondacks focuses on the 46 High Peaks and surrounding day hikes near Lake Placid and Keene Valley, but there are many trails in the farther reaches of the Adirondacks that are well worth the visit and which provide an escape from the crowds and a venture into something new. As a business and local resource that cares deeply about supporting the integrity and longevity of the Adirondacks, we believe it is important to highlight many of the Park’s gems in addition to the trails that receive heavier traffic. CATS is a great network of underutilized trails that holds much magic of its own – rolling, accessible, and generally quiet trails. If you’re not dead-set on peak bagging, or need a little break from it, these trails provide a wonderful alternative to the quintessential High Peaks.

The trails that make up CATS provide different vistas than other areas of the Adirondacks, namely in that many of the trails look out over and meander alongside the shores of Lake Champlain, something uncommon in the rest of the Adirondacks. As is shared on their website, one long-term goal of CATS is for the trails to one day connect with trails in Quebec and Vermont, creating a network of trails that trace Lake Champlain and branch outward from the lake. Another unique aspect of the CATS trails is their emphasis on community – the trails are seen as one way to connect neighboring communities and bring people together both through recreating on the trails and through volunteering doing trailwork and supporting CATS’ mission as well.

There are many trails in the CATS network, and they exist across a sweeping section of the Easternmost Adirondacks. It might be helpful to think of the trails as separate trail systems that are a subset of a larger trail system, since they are not localized and there is no central trailhead. It can be over an hour drive from one cluster of trails to another and for that reason, as well as for more detailed descriptions of the individual trails, we recommend checking out CATS’ website for the most comprehensive information (and maps!) of the trail system. CATS consists of 57 different trails (including short connector trails) that traverse over 40 miles total. The trails are great for hiking much of the year, and can see a fair bit of traffic from cross-country skiers in the winter as well.



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