The list is endless but these are a few of my favorite places to hike with my beagle Koko. Some of these trails are extremely challenging caution should be used if you or your pet are out of shape. Start easy and in no time you’ll be ready for the harder trails.
Saratoga Spa State Park/Saratoga Battlefield
The Saratoga Spa State Park has a few small trails throughout with a nice mix of fields woods streams and mineral water springs. Included in the park is a 5 mile hiking loop that encompasses most of the park circling around the pool and disc golf area.
The trail itself is well-worn and rarely muddy also well-marked and not overly walked or too busy. Plenty of places to rest and it is an easy hike with moderate challenges a few tree roots to contend with but no scrambling or serious elevation changes.
At the Saratoga National Historical Park aka the Battlefield there are a few options for hikes. You can drive through the tour road and do a few mini hikes around the points of interest. The Best option is the Wilkersen Trail a 6-mile loop which begins behind the visitors center.
This is considered an easy trail it has a few hilly challenges and a long stretch that winds through a field in any season extra water is advised. There are few sights but you may encounter wildlife the deer are abundant in the park and there are plenty of wildflowers to enjoy. The trail itself is well-marked easy to follow and well maintained with no real challenging terrain, a couple of steep hills but overall a nice hike.
Buck Mountain and New Buck
Buck Mountain Trail head located in Kattskill bay off of Pilot Knob rd is rated as a difficult trail. It features a stream that the trail follows and crosses multiple times on the way to the summit. The trail is decently marked with only a couple of blow downs disturbing the path. Expect a rough rocky challenge which begins shortly after entering from the parking area.
Even though not being one of the higher peaks the steepness in spots add to the challenge of this exciting hike and there are no major switchbacks. The final ascent is a scramble with a mix of bedrock and dirt paths. The views from the summit are phenomenal and there’s plenty of spots to explore while on the summit, take a break get some photos have a snack and head back down awesome hike!
New Buck Trail head is located on Shelving Rock road in Fort Ann N Y there bis very limited parking here you may need to park at the hog town parking area. This trail up Buck Mountain is very straight with little turning fewer views and it is rated as an easy hike.
This side of the mountain is less rocky and less steep the trail rises gradually until the summit There are a few boulder fields to scramble by but no severe scrambling or climbing. All in all a nice well maintained trail well-marked path and moderate climb make this closer to a walk in the woods still a good hike.
Sleeping Beauty and Bumps Pond
Sleeping Beauty located in Fort Ann N Y can be accessed from the Hog town Trail head or by driving into Dacy Clearing both from Shelving Rock road. Hiking in from Hog town will add a 3-mile dirt road walk to the hike increasing the distance. This is a moderately rated hike and can be done as a loop by adding bumps pond into the hike. Slightly rocky and wooded there are few views until the summit there are also a couple of switchbacks. The trail is very well-marked and easy to follow it tends to be busy during peak use times (weekends especially). The views from the summit are absolutely fantastic probably the only downside to the hike is the distance at about 2 miles one way still a great hike any day.
Tongue Mountain Range
The Tongue Mountain Range north of Bolton Landing N Y is a peninsula on the Northwest bay of Lake George. There are a few options here when parking at the Clay Meadow Trailhead. There is a loop trail rated as difficult which runs through a majority of the peninsula or you could hike to the First Peak Lean to which is about 3 miles from Clay Meadow which features a waterfall close to the trail or you can head south to Montcalm Point about 8 miles. Any hike within this area is rugged and challenging. I have hiked this spot many times and it remains one if my places to go come hiking day.
A word of caution while in this area it is a protected rattlesnake habitat while sightings are rare they do occur. I have personally had Koko come nose to nose with a 4 footer and it’s a sound I will not forget another reason why your dog should always be leashed while hiking. The trails tend to be either well-marked or poorly marked depending on the section. There are numerous switchbacks and if attempting the loop lots of steep scrambling doesn’t matter where I hike or how long I’m here I always leave sore and happy a great hiking spot!
Cat and Thomas Mountains
Also, located in Bolton Landing N Y these peaks are located in a forest preserve north and west of the town. The trail to Cat is mostly a gravel road until the summit there is a brief detour through the woods where the road washed out. The trail to Thomas is much narrower mostly a dirt footpath both summits offer decent views of the surrounding area and this is rated as an easy hike the overall distance of around 8 miles doesn’t increase the difficulty due to the gravel road not a bad hike overall I prefer a rugged trail personally speaking.
Make your dogs hike better follow these tips
Always yes always leash your dog for their safety and to avoid the possibility that your dog may run off and get lost. In the event that your dog does wander off the best thing to do is remain calm continue to call for your pet and hope they find you. I have been in this situation with no cellphone service and had no choice but to leave Koko to fend for herself for the night I went back the next day and found her sniffing up my back trail it was a terrible time for both of us. Chasing your dog into the woods can result in you also becoming lost not a good idea.
Teach your dog basic leash manners like stay and wait. In time, they will develop a sixth sense about the leash and your needs which will make your hikes more enjoyable.