Oftentimes, when people hear the term swim hiking, they immediately think of a vacation where they are swimming in a lake or ocean. But that’s not the only reason to consider a swim hike!
Sutherland Pond in Black Rock Forest
Located near the town of Cornwall, New York, Black Rock Forest is a biological field station. It is owned by a consortium of educational institutions. It was established in 1928 and has influenced scientific research. The flora of the forest is unique. It contains over 60 species of widespread plants and interesting communities of trees and animals.
The trail at Black Rock Forest offers hikers spectacular views of the Hudson Valley. This park offers a variety of hiking trails that range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. There are half a dozen bodies of water in the forest. These include reservoirs that supply drinking water.
The area is home to raccoons, chipmunks, foxes, eagles, and giant earthworms. There are also white-tailed deer and various insect species.
The forest has been the subject of more than 400 research papers. The Harvard Forest Consortium has invested heavily in facilities to improve the environment and promote sustainability. It was founded by a local resident in 1928. Currently, it is used by groups of all ages.
The central part of the forest has a network of old logging and mining roads that are still in use. These roads are marked as part of the forest trail system.
The forest includes a total of thirty miles of trails and many more miles of road. The Stillman Trail and the Scenic Trail are the backbone routes that run across the park. There are several smaller, less-traveled routes that take you through a less-traveled section of the park. The Red Trail climbs the final mile to the parking lot.
The forest has a large number of waterfalls, ponds, and lakes. Most of the trails in the park are short routes that offer beautiful views.
Sourdough Gap in Baxter State Park
Located within the boundaries of Mount Rainier National Park, Sourdough Gap is an ideal place to get your hike on. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs the gamut from subalpine meadows to high alpine vistas. Taking in the view can be a feat of endurance, but the rewards are well worth it.
The PCT is a 1.8-mile trek that winds its way through forest groves and meadows. It crosses over SR 410 on an attractive wooded park gateway bridge. As you progress through the landscape, the scenery gets more picturesque. The trail consists of a rocky grade that is built for horses. The route takes you up a hill, and on a clear day, you will be rewarded with the awe-inspiring view of the surrounding peaks.
It is hard to deny the fact that the PCT is a major draw for visitors to the area. There are no shortage of hiking trails, and the large parking lot is usually full during the summer months. While you are here, you should check out the other attractions like the aptly named Sheep Lake, which is a perfect location to splash about. Afterwards, you can take a look at the surrounding peaks or enjoy a nice dinner.
The Sourdough Gap itself is a 1.4-mile round trip hike that is worth the effort. The best part is that it can be done in under two hours, including lunch. There are a handful of other hiking attractions in the park, including the Big Trees Loop and the Crystal Lakes.
It is a good idea to plan ahead and make sure you have the necessary permits. The trail is also a popular destination with mountain goats and bears abound, especially when the throngs dissipate.
Avalanche Lake in the Catskills
Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike, a relaxing getaway, or a little bit of both, Avalanche Lake in the Catskills has something to offer everyone. The lake is one of New York’s best kept secrets, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave the state to enjoy its many benefits.
Depending on how much time you have to spare, you may want to make the trip from your home in New York to this gem in the Adirondacks. There are a few things to know before you go. You’ll want to make sure you have your boat ready before you start. Also, don’t forget to clean and dry your vessel before you leave. This is especially important if you plan to spend a day on the lake.
For the most part, the Avalanche Lake Trail is a low-key affair. The 5.5 mile loop is a relatively easy hike with a modest elevation gain. You’ll get a nice blend of scenery, including a waterfall, rock formations, and the odd one out, a lake.
There are many hiking trails in the area, so you can take your pick. If you’re interested in the water, you’ll want to make sure you take advantage of the five docks at the Kinzua-Wolf Run Marina. You’ll also want to check out the ten camping options at the nearby Kinzua-Wolf Run Lake. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even try your hand at water skiing or tubing on the lake.
If you’re looking for the best way to see Avalanche Lake, you’ll have to consider hiking it. The hike isn’t exactly the most direct route, but it’s worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with one of the most beautiful landscapes in the area.
Bluffs at Lower Saranac Lake
Located in Lower Saranac Lake, Bluff Island has a lot to offer, from a fun paddle route to a nice picnic spot. Getting there is a breeze, just a mile or so off the highway. The bluffs are part of a larger, 18,400-acre backcountry area called the St. Regis Canoe Area. Despite its size, it is still home to a number of swanky resorts and quaint cottages.
The best part about Bluff Island is its accessibility. It’s only a few minutes by car or a little over a half-hour by canoe. While it’s not the largest of the Saranac Chain, it’s by far the largest of the islands in the vicinity. It’s a great destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
One of the perks of paddling around the island is that you get to see a few of the best bluffs the Saranac Chain has to offer. There’s a decently sized bluff to the left of the main boat launch, and another on the opposite side of the lake, which is worth checking out.
There’s also a rumored cliff jumping spot, although it’s unlikely that anyone will attempt it, and the location is well hidden. You’ll also find the best bluffs for swimming, sunbathing and other water sports in the surrounding area.
While you’re paddling the lower lake, you’ll have a chance to see several other notable bluffs, including the famous Super Bluff. It’s the largest of the islands on the lake, and features a nice beach and picnic spot. For the adventurous paddler, there are dozens of islands to choose from. You can even pull your canoe out in the middle of the lake, if you’re really into the watersports scene.
Taconic State Park
Whether you’re looking for a place to swim or hike, Taconic State Park is a great place to visit. The park is situated along a sixteen mile stretch of the Taconic Mountain Range, which borders Massachusetts and Connecticut. Throughout the area, visitors will find many trails to choose from.
The park has a visitor’s center that is open year round. You can learn about the history of mining in the area, as well as the iron industry. There is also a museum that is located on the site of the old Copake Iron Works. You can take guided tours on the weekends between Memorial Day and mid-November.
There are several ponds at the park. The Ore Pit Pond is popular with the public because of its scenic nature and excellent water quality. This pond offers a separate wading pool for young children. However, the pond is not large enough for real swimming.
The Copake Falls Campground has 45 tent sites and 18 cabins with electricity. It also has trails that offer a view of Copake Falls. You can make reservations for the campground between early May and mid-November.
The Taconic State Park is located off New York State Route 344 in the eastern part of New York’s Copake Falls. You can find parking near the park office on the road. There are several hiking trails that provide spectacular views of the gorge.
Taconic State Park is a great spot for deer hunting, fishing, and camping. You can even try your luck at ice fishing. You can also go on a boat ride on the Schroon River or the Hudson River. You can rent canoes or rowboats at Rudd Pond.