Great Late Summer Day Hikes, Blue Mountain, Adirondacks

Although it took 26 hours or more on railroads, stagecoaches, and steamboats to get to Blue Mountain Lake from New York City in the 1870s, the remoteness of the Adirondacks proved to be more of an attraction than a deterrent. The wealthy elite, including J.P. Morgan, William Whitney, and Alfred Vanderbilt bought large tracts of lands and built themselves "great camps," sprawling collections of handsome log buildings with massive stone fireplaces. To make traveling more pleasurable, they would create their own private railway car, complete with brass railings, shower, card room, and bed. A fine example of this is on view in the Age of Horses Building at the Adirondack Museum.  

Just up the road is the trail to the peak of Blue Mountain.  I took this 2-mile path on a cloudless day, when the bright sun beat down, forcing me to stop and hydrate. An hour later, I reached the summit. Soaked with sweat, I tore off my shirt, took another gulp of water and then stared at the surroundings. Anonymous mountains tumbled over one another, their slopes forming a sea of green. Blue Mountain Lake stood before me, a speck compared to the much larger Long and Raquette Lakes that shimmered in the distance. These names I remember from my adolescence when I canoed a string of lakes, ponds, and rivers nearly 100 miles from Old Forge through Blue Mountain, Long, and Raquette Lakes to the Saranac Lakes in the north. Whether you hike, paddle or sail like my parents loved, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts in the Adirondacks.