It is the perfect time to head to the Adirondacks and see the foliage, but this hike is gorgeous in any season. Cat and Thomas Mountains [761 Valley Woods Rd, Bolton Landing, NY 12814] is just over an hour north of Albany and offers a variety of trails leading to extraordinary views of the Adirondacks and Lake George.
This preserve is really cool because you can hike to awesome view points with little effort and mileage, you can pick either peak, or you can combine it all for an awesome afternoon and 8+ miles of hiking! It is a very popular hike on account of all of these options. Lots of different people ranging from kids learning to hike to experienced mountaineers were enjoying this a beautiful autumn day due to all of the different levels of trails. I wanted to see it all, and so up the orange trail we went. It was gravely and moderately strenuous up this path, but the foliage made everything so chipper!
We chose to head onto blue. Shortly after heading onto blue there was a split in the trail, both directions blue. We headed towards the ‘view’ to check out another overlook where the mountains were more dominant, at Thomas summit.
The view path is a dead end, with the option of looping back to the parking lot. You could return and have had a great little hike with perfect views. If you want more, go back the way you came through the woods. On that little woodsy trail we saw a chipmunk, a snake, and more of that awesome foliage!
Remember that fork in the road when you picked to visit the view? Now you want to continue on blue, away from the cabin. This is the Richard Hayes Phillips Trail, though you won’t see that name anywhere but on the trail map, it spans 2.3 miles. I thought this trail was really interesting and exciting. It leads you through so many different environments, there always something new to see, and it’s never too strenuous.
Carry on though, head back the way you came from and then just a .5 mile stretch till Cat summit! Follow the clearly marked trail through the intersection with yellow, and continue on straight ahead the markers will be painted on the rocks now.
Follow that yellow arrow to create a loop back to the parking lot. I love a good loop, always something else to see, we saw gorgeous shrooms, a fiery reflection puddle, a warty toad, and a striking lake along the yellow.
Hey, you don’t even need to hike, the view from the car is good enough! Just kidding, don’t miss out on everything this wonderful preserve has to offer – pristine Adirondack nature for any level hiker.