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Three Kid-friendly Hamilton County Hikes

The author’s husband and daughter at Sacandaga River Community Park. Photograph courtesy of the author.

The Adirondacks has so much to offer, no matter what your age. Wildlife, plants, foliage and beautiful sights to see shouldn’t be reserved only for adults and older children, especially when paired with a healthy dose of exercise. While all hikes might not be the perfect activity for young kids, and particularly toddlers, the right trails can provide memorable experiences, good exercise, and a safe environment for little ones to do some exploring of their own.

The absence of steep climbs and cliffs makes for a safer hiking environment for the whole family. Here are three kid-friendly hiking trails and nature walks in the Adirondacks of Hamilton County.

Sacandaga River Community Park, 1.5 mi
2835 Route 30, Speculator, along Lake Pleasant 

Short and sweet, this picturesque trail through an Adirondack wetland is probably about as long as your toddler’s attention span. Called “an interpretive river walk,” you will notice small plaques throughout the walk sharing information about the area’s wildlife and plant life. The trail is largely handicapped-accessible with carefully laid wooden boardwalks suitable for wheelchairs, strollers and little feet alike. You will want your camera for the turnaround point, where you will find a wooden pier overlooking the stunning waters of the Kunjamuk Creek in a panoramic display of beauty. The community playground lies adjacent to the trailhead—if warranted, use this knowledge as power (read: bribery) to get your toddler to cooperate on the hike.

Colonel Peck’s Grave, 1.2 mi
Off of South Shore Road in the village of Speculator, Lake Pleasant

While you’re in Speculator, enjoy this flat, wooded trail to the resting place of the Adirondacks’ only Revolutionary War officer, Colonel Loring Peck. A bit over a half mile each way, the trail ends at a small grave site with several headstones surrounded by a small stone wall. The neighboring area was once Peck’s Farm, and the signage at the trailhead states “Peck’s Farm” and “Col. Peck’s Grave.” It’s an easy walk if you are already in the area and just want to pass a little time. This trail can be quite buggy so it’s best to keep little ones covered up as best you can.

Jockeybush Lake, 2.2 mi
Ferris Lake Wild Forest, off Route 10

For a more challenging family-friendly hike, check out the streamside trails and petite waterfalls leading to Jockeybush Lake. The family will enjoy a little adventure and scenic views as you wind through wooded trails and make slight climbs and a careful stream crossing partway through the hike, finally reaching your intended destination, Jockeybush Lake. Use caution, especially with infants or young children in front carriers or hiking backpacks. It is probably best to avoid this particular hike shortly following times of heavy rainfall as the stream’s water level will make it more difficult to cross without getting your feet wet.

Be sure to use safety precautions and common sense on all hikes, especially with young children. To find more hikes of varying difficulties in and around Hamilton County, check out www.visitsacandaga.com/hiking.htm. For kid-friendly hikes in the High Peaks, Champlain Valley and northern Adirondacks, plus advice for taking tots on the trail, see “Little Feats” in the August issue of Adirondack Life.

 

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