Lake Placid, NY is located right in the middle of the Adirondack State Park in Upstate New York. The area is very popular for hiking and there are tons of options for people of all hiking abilities. The Adirondacks are home to countless miles of trails for people to enjoy, whether it is a high-peak or just a flat trail around a lake there is truly something for everyone. I would still consider our family beginner level hikers, but we have been gaining more and more experience every trail we take. We have been exploring smaller mountains all throughout the Adirondack State Park, and have a few favorite easier mountains right in Lake Placid. These mountains are all part of the “Lake Placid 9er“. The LP9er is a hiking challenge of mountains all located in Lake Placid. None of the mountains are high peaks, but all are supposedly a great warm-up to hiking the high-peaks. Our family has hiked 3 of the 9 so far, and think they are all great family-friendly hikes in Lake Placid.
Top 3 Hikes in Lake Placid for Families
Mount Jo is definitely a fan favorite beginner level hike in the Adirondacks. The trailhead is located at the Adirondack Loj, which is a super popular starting place for MANY trails – so be sure to arrive early to avoid parking far from the trailhead or not being able to park at all. The trail starts off with a very flat path, but soon after that, you can either choose to take the “long” trail to the top of Mount Jo or the “short” trail. The long trail is just that, it is a tiny bit longer than the short, but it also offers fewer rock scrambles than the short trail.
From my understanding, most people opt to take the short trail up, and then the long trail down. If you are following the AllTrails path, it also suggests this route, therefore, making this hike a loop. We however chose to take the long trail up and back down, making the hike a little longer in distance, but also a bit easier for us as well. This was my first time hiking with my two kids without my husband, so wasn’t really feeling the steeper route up without an extra hand.
The long trail is still quite rocky but totally doable for any beginner hiker (we had our 5 and 9-year-old in tow). We hiked the trail on a weekday in late June (during the pandemic) and saw maybe only 5 other parties the entire time we were hiking up and down Mount Jo. I am sure during July and August of any regular year this trail would be much busier. Eventually, the two trails come back together for the last quarter mile to the summit of Mount Jo. There are a few stairs to climb once the trails merge back together which were fun and easier than climbing up rocks in my opinion! We really loved this hike, and the views at the summit of Mount Jo are amazing. I keep describing them as it feels like you can reach out and touch some high peaks because you are that close!
Mount Van Hovenburg
Although Mt. Van Hovenburg was a bit longer than Mt. Jo in distance, it also offered an amazing view of the high peaks. Even though it was a longer hike, it was also easier because it was a more gradual climb to the summit. The trail starts for the first mile completely flat, with some very overgrown sections around the pond.
After you head around the pond it starts to go up at a nice gradual incline. There are no rocks to scramble over on this hike, so really great for families with little kids who can still make it the 4 miles round trip.
The views at the top of Mount Van Hovenburg were pretty spectacular and similar to Mount Jo since you are staring at the same high peaks. You can also see Mount Jo from the top of Mount Van Hovenburg. It was incredibly windy at the summit and there was a pretty steep drop off so we spent less time on the summit than we hoped to but it was still an awesome view to experience.
The trail to Cobble Hill is so close to Lake Placid you could almost walk to the trailhead depending on where you were staying. The trail begins right off the parking lot of a private school. Similar to Mt. Jo, Cobble Hill in Lake Placid has a choice of 2 different routes you can take to the top. We would suggest going in a counter-clockwise direction to make a loop hike. The way up is steeper this way, but when we hiked this our kids were only 4 and 8 and had zero issues. The most fun part about this route up is the steep section that has a rope handy for you to grab to help yourself up!
The view at the top of Cobble Hill is not as amazing as some other hikes in the area, but you still get a great view of Mirror Lake and into Lake Placid. There is a great spot to hang out at the top also and the hike really isn’t long at all so quite perfect for families with young kids. Also, we suggest taking the long way down because it is a nice walk along Echo Lake. We found this trail to be very buggy so don’t forget the bug spray!
More Family Friendly Trails in Lake Placid
There are many more trails in the area that are great for families to try when they are visiting Lake Placid with kids. Here are a few more that would be great to try with kids:
- Tupper Lake Triad (Mount Arab, Goodman, Coney)
- Lake Placid 9er
- Brewster Peninsula Loop
- Henry’s Woods
- Baker Mountain
- Rooster Comb Trail
- Big Crow
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