More southernly than the better-known peaks of the Adirondacks, Crane Mountain is a great family hike with a steep trail up to the summit, but one that is short enough to be enjoyed by the whole family. The mountain can be hiked as an out-and-back or as a loop that takes you on a more gradual trail by Crane Mountain Pond.
Distance: 2.8 round-trip out and back on the shorter trail, or just over 3 miles for the loop
Elevation: 3,254 ft
Ascent: 1,300 ft
We will describe the Crane Mountain loop here, beginning with the shorter and steeper trail going up the peak and taking the long, more gradual trail coming down. Beginning from the trailhead, the hike up Crane Mountain is almost immediately steep and continues at a sharp grade to the summit. Don’t be dissuaded by the steepness though, there are many places to stop and enjoy the view and the steep hike is well worth the view to the top. Keep in mind, however, that there are a couple of ladders bolted to the rock face to help with climbing the steeper sections, but these ladders can make it difficult for some dogs to make it to the top. In this case, the longer trail may be a better option for most dogs to do "out & back" vs. the loop.
After enjoying the view from the top, you can come down the longer trail, which also includes some steep sections during the initial descent from the summit. From there, you will follow the trail as it begins to descend more gradually to Crane Mountain Pond, where you will often see people fishing (there are also some primitive campsites located on the pond). After enjoying the pond, you can continue along the loop as it takes you around and back to the trailhead via gradual, rolling trails. The trail through the lowlands is beautiful, and shortly after leaving the pond you will come to an old stone bridge that takes you over Putnam Brook. This trail will continue for another half mile after the bridge, at which point you will reach the gate to Putnam Farm. Continue onto Putnam Farm Road Trail, which you will follow for just under a mile back to the trailhead.
From Johnsburg, take S Johnsburg Rd south of town for 6.8 miles until you reach Garnet Lake Road on your right. Follow this road for 1.3 miles until you reach Ski Hi Road. Take a right on Ski Hi Road and follow it for 1.9 miles until you reach the Crane Mountain trailhead on your right.