One of the best peaks in the ‘dacks for new climbers (young and old alike), Baker is a nice moderate hike with one of the nicest views for such a quick ascent. The trail conveniently starts right in the village of Saranac Lake and itself is quite short-- perfect for a quick solo morning hike or a leisurely lunchtime hike with the whole family.
You will begin hiking the 0.9 miles long trail at the Moody Pond Trailhead and the hike begins climbing almost immediately. With the steepness of the trail come some occasional views as you ascend. At 0.6 miles, the scenery will change as you enter a forest with mostly red pines and you will quickly come to an intersection where the trail splits. The trail to the left takes a more gradual route to the top and the trail to the right is steeper, but provides some nice ledges for scrambling and great viewpoints along the way. Both trails rejoin at 0.8 miles on a ledge just below the summit. When you reach the top, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Lower Saranac Lake, Lake Flower, the town of Saranac Lake, and a portion of the High Peaks to the South/Southeast.
If you are coming from Tupper Lake on route 3, at the light marking the intersection of routes 86 and 3, you will take a left on Main St. Follow Main St to the right past the library and continue on Main St until it comes to a T at Pine St. Take a right on Pine and then your immediate next left on Forest Hill Ave. Stay on Forest Hill Ave/ E Pine St for 0.5 miles and you will come to the trailhead on your right, at the north end of Moody Pond.
If you are coming from Lake Placid, take route 86 to Ray Brook and as you are leaving Ray Brook, take a right on McKenzie Pond Rd. Follow McKenzie Pond Rd until it turns into Pine St and take a right on Forest Hill Ave. Stay on Forest Hill Ave/ E Pine St for 0.5 miles and you will come to the trailhead on your right, at the north end of Moody Pond.
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Alyssa Devlin is a freelance writer who grew up hiking and skiing the ‘dacks and is now based in Washington, DC. She spends her days fighting the heat with daydreams of swimming in cool Adirondack lakes. You can find her at alyssadevlin.com.