The softer side of running
I like to trail run. Why? It’s not like running on a hard, paved road. Generally, trails are softer terrain comprised of packed dirt or grass or other natural surface. It’s a great way to get some exercise while completely immersing myself in the gorgeous landscape that I call home; listening to the birds and witnessing the seasonal changes to the Adirondack flora.
Or, in reality, I like trail running because sometimes while avoiding roots, negotiating turns and dips and rocks, I forget that I’m actually running.
So, we all know that there are thousands of miles of marked trails in the Adirondacks - from the dramatic High Peaks to the more family-focused Champlain Area Trails along Lake Champlain. For mountain biking, there are some great go-to areas with lots of varied terrain - notably the Hardy Trail network in Wilmington. That’s no secret.
But there is one multi-use Adirondack trail network that is ideal for trail running, and I completely forgot to tell you about it.
North Hudson - the New Frontier
The North Hudson Trail Center is a network of multi-use trails, welcoming snowshoers and cross-country skiers in the winter, and hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders in the warm months.
I don’t have a horse, so I brought my dog with me to revisit the area, but this time for trail running.
This wasn’t the first time I’d used these trails. My husband and I rode our mountain bikes here years ago, and I remembered that the trails were rolling, and mossy.
We really enjoyed the trails for biking, and we apparently took a wrong turn THAT time too.
This time, Katie the wonder dog and I arrived at the trailhead, which is near the old entrance to what used to be the Frontier Town theme park off Interstate 87 at exit 29. There is an informational kiosk that shows a map of the series of loops on both sides of Route 9N, including a small section called the “Beginner Triangle” located 180 degrees behind those looking at the sign. The 7.7 miles of trails are marked with Red, Yellow and Blue markers and intersect frequently. I took a printed map provided in a receptacle on the kiosk, but since I had been there before, Katie and I headed off without any regard for the trail map at our disposal.
Katie was on her leash, as any responsible dog would be, and we jogged slowly along the grassy, tree-lined path. The first intersection we arrived at had a sign indicating that the red trail was to the left, but it appeared that going straight ahead was the more well-worn path. We soon arrived at a part of the former theme park, the same place I’d inadvertently arrived at years before. It was the old west main street that I’d visited as a kid - now overgrown with weeds and trees. We turned back toward the red trail intersection to try out that loop.
We ran along the mossy trails for a while, but just for a few miles total, including a jaunt into the “beginner’s triangle” with its 1.2 km of flat, wide trails. It was truly a peaceful, beautiful run. Most of the trails are beginner to intermediate level - and wide enough to ride two abreast on mountain bikes, and certainly wide enough for a horse or snowmobile. And it was a primarily SOFT and mossy, comfortable running surface.
In fact, it was so nice, I hardly noticed I was running at all.
PLAN A VISIT
The Schroon Lake Region is a mecca for outdoor recreation, with plenty of hiking trails interspersed with fishing and paddling waters. The North Hudson Trail Center is located north of the Pharaoh Mountain and Hoffman Notch Wilderness Areas and adjacent to the Hammond Pond Wilderness on Route 9N.
Be sure to check out the lodging options as a base camp to check out all of these wilderness areas while you’re here!
Here is an overview MAP OF THE TRAIL AREA.
Here is a MAP OF THE TRAILS.
Dog days in the ADKs: