Running from mid-October through early December and late March through May, shoulder season is a great time of year to explore low elevation hikes in the Adirondack Park. As the seasons shift, snow and ice packs are often unstable at higher elevations—especially in the High Peaks Wilderness—making for unsafe and unpleasant hiking conditions. Here are five great, low elevation trails in the Western Adirondacks to enjoy during shoulder season.
Note: These trails can all be found on the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map 745
Moose River Lock & Dam, Black River Wild Forest
2 miles round-trip (minimal elevation gain) from Green Bridge Road Trailhead
A family-friendly option, the Lock & Dam Trail takes hikers along the Moose River to the site of an old wooden dam. This is a particularly nice hike during fall foliage season and during spring snow melts, when the water is high.
Moss Lake Loop, Fulton Chain Wild Forest
2.5 mile loop (180 feet elevation gain) from Big Moose Road Trailhead
Another family-friendly option, the Moss Lake Loop takes hikers on old logging roads around a pleasant Adirondack lake. This trail is shared with a number of user groups, including equestrians and cyclists, and includes campsites can also be found around the lake, some of which are handicap accessible. For a longer day, hikers can leave the loop at a junction on the southern end to check out Bubb and Sis Lakes before returning to the Moss Lake trailhead.