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Hiking the Adirondacks - Cat and Thomas Nature Preserve

Posted by Michael Peterson on
Hiking the Adirondacks - Cat and Thomas Nature Preserve

Grab some light gear, a beer and get outside with some friends. Rush up for the sunset, go up for the day, stay for the sunset, heck stay for the damn night! Cat and Thomas trailhead is a five-minute drive from Exit 24 on the Northway or Bolton Landing, the trails to the summits of Cat and Thomas provide a great introduction to hiking and camping in the Adirondack Park.  All of the preserve's trails have views of Lake George and the southwestern Adirondacks.

The orange trail to Thomas Mountain follows a dirt road with good footing, winding up the mountain to end at a beautiful blue cabin that offers 180 degree views and provides shelter and space to camp.  Please respect others and keep the cabin clean! It is a privilege to have a cabin in the woods open for hikers to come in and have shelter. Leave no trace and pick up what you bring in!

The ridge trail (Richard Hayes Phillips Trail) has blue markers and runs 2.3 miles from the Thomas Mountain cabin to the summit of Cat Mountain at 1,956-feet. It is the more difficult trail and hikers should be prepared for the longer, more challenging hike.
The yellow trail to Cat Mountain also follows a dirt road most of the way. From where the orange trail turns to ascend Thomas Mt., continue straight on the yellow trail for 2.2 miles to the intersection with the ridge trail (You will pass the intersection with the red trail at 1.5 miles).  Follow the ridge trail for 0.40 miles to the summit of Cat Mt. The summit offers a stunning 270° view of Lake George and the Adirondacks. The last third of the yellow trail is rocky and has less stable footing. Please stay on marked trails.

The red trail is the most challenging trail in the preserve, dropping steeply from the summit of Cat Mt. for 0.4 miles before it levels off for 0.25 miles, then descends again gradually for 0.35 miles to a ravine. It then undulates for 0.3 miles until it reaches Edgecomb Pond, where it turns left (west) and follows a dirt road for 0.5 miles. By turning right, it takes you to Edgecomb Pond Rd and the trail to The Pinnacle which is worth it if you have the time. Just past the gate, the trail turns right (north) and continues on the dirt road to the intersection with the yellow trail.

This is a 6.9 mile moderately trafficked trail system to say the least. This preserve offers a pond, stream and amazing summit views. You cannot beat the cabin at the top of cat. Happy Hiking and don’t forget to bring your 4 legged friends. But please keep them on a leash.

Special thanks to Michael Scidmore for writing up this post!
Follow his journeys over at Instagram @m_scidmore

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