What a wonderful way to spend Christmas day: exploring a new off-leash friendly trail in the Lake George area!
My sister, a resident of nearby Lake George, kept telling me about a new trail off the Northway opposite the outlets. I was hoping the trail around Butler Pond was finally being opened to the public, but sadly this wasn’t the case (oh, how I want to write about the trail around Butler Pond – it’s beautiful! But sadly, we’re not allowed there). But what has been developed at Rush Pond is still fantastic.
The Adirondack Park is generally not off-leash friendly. In fact you could be ticketed if you’re caught with your dog off-leash on Adirondack trails (and don’t even think of taking your dog anywhere by boat!). Not only do we share these woods with wildlife, but also with hunters, so whether I like it or not (and I don’t), these leash laws may be for our own good. This still doesn’t make me happy, but news of a new off-leash friendly trail certainly does and after visiting Rush Pond with my sister and 3 dogs between the 2 of us, I was not disappointed.
Parking can be found on West Mountain Rd, just West of Exit 20 off The Northway, I-87, in Queensbury, NY. If you’re familiar with the outlets at this exit, drive over the highway the other way. There is a good sized, well marked parking area here along with a trail map, trail guides, and a poop bag dispenser.
Now don’t be the guy who lets his dog defecate right in front of the sign – right in front of the poop-bag dispenser – and doesn’t pick it up. We met that guy. Or rather, we met the Christmas present that guy’s pooch left for everybody else. Thanks, guy, Merry Christmas to you too.
Keep your dog leashed until you are safely within the woods of the trail (especially if you have excited dogs like ours). You will need to walk a short distance along the road and across the entrance of a senior facility before the trail rises and turns away from the road and into the woods. The trails are not yet marked but they are wide and well defined. There is no loop. But what there is are beautiful bridges constructed with Adirondack twig style railings crossing bubbling brooks and wonderful wetlands, through rolling hills with pretty views of Rush Pond. I personally love a trail with random old cars mysteriously abandoned in thick woods and this one delivered on that too.
You can take this trail as far as Queensbury High School. We took the trail as far as the 3rd bridge and turned around. Our hike clocked in at 3.69 miles.
We hiked this trail while there was a few inches of wet snow on the ground. It was a good workout and I was grateful to be wearing Yaktrax. If the snow were any deeper, I’d be wishing for snowshoes. Heck, you could probably give skijoring a try on these trails with your pooch. I’d love to learn!
I look forward to taking this trail again – in all seasons. And I am extremely grateful that more communities in the Lake George area are trusting us with off-leash friendly trails. Keep them coming!