A Bargain Hike with Rich Views
The Adirondacks offer a myriad of hiking opportunities beyond the High Peaks. Committing to hours of intense hiking isn’t always realistic. Rattlesnake Mountain in Willsboro, New York, is the ideal trek for a busy weekend.
Rattlesnake, a 2.6 mile out-and-back hike, can be accessed at a trailhead across from the Long Pond Cabins on Route 22. The popular trail is great for anyone with kids and dogs, or someone looking for a quick hike with a spectacular view.
Though Rattlesnake has an amazing view year round, autumn is when the mountain truly becomes the perfect hiking destination. An easy 1.2 miles of glimmering golden leaves starts off the trail, like nature’s yellow brick road. The trail is quite rocky all the way up, so be sure to watch your step.
As the trees change to reds, yellows and oranges, falling acorns scatter the trail. Chipmunks and squirrels dash through the woods collecting fallen treats, scurrying around mushrooms and fallen branches.
The sounds of Rattlesnake transport hikers to a place free of car horns and the buzz of technology. The chattering of chipmunks echoes loudly among the chirping of birds. Leaves crunch under hiking boots and rustle under the paws of squirrels as they chase each other through the woods.
Upon reaching the evergreen “Rattlesnake” sign, the rest of the hike is steep with an overall elevation gain of 688 feet. There is a doable rock scramble, but hikers can follow the trail to avoid it.
Despite the short distance and elevation increase, the top of the mountain offers breathtaking views of boaters traveling through Lake Champlain and of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Ravens coast on thermals above the lookout point. The smooth rock offers a great ledge for hikers to sit, eat a snack and take in the scenery.
Another lookout point near the peak offers beautiful views of the Adirondacks and Long Pond. During clear days, from that spot, a hiker can catch the sparkling silver of Pok-O-Moonshine’s fire tower.
- Length: 2.6 miles roundtrip
- Elevation Gain: 688 feet
- Time Estimate: One hour
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Take Exit 33 from I-87
- Continue on Route 22 until Long Pond appears on the right
- A small parking lot is accessible at the trailhead across from a small wooden cabin
Leave No Trace principles
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors
Story and photos by Olivia Bousquet