Hiking the Tongue Range (Northern Side)
On Sunday October 25th, my friends and I went up to Lake George to do the Tongue Range as part of our Lake George 12ster. We drove up separately to park at the two entrances (which I definitely recommend) and started our hike up at the trailhead on 9N.
The route we had chosen was the Northern Traverse of the Tongue Range - with an added peak! I had done my research on the hike and noticed that the three summits of the Northern Traverse (Brown. Huckleberry & Fivemile) were all wooded summits without views. I saw on the map that if we added an additional peak to our route that it would only add an additional 2-3 miles so I decided that after the Northern Traverse, we would hike Fifth Peak as an out/back and then junction back to the trail split and down to the car.
We started off our hike at 8:15 am and summited Brown Mountain by 9:05. This trail was nothing special to report, you definitely are consistently climbing elevation, but it's a clear path, nothing rocky or technical. The summit of Brown was pretty wooded, but had a sliver through the trees where you could see the lake.
From here, we started our trek over to Huckleberry. At this point, you've already gained a good chunk of elevation, so it wasn't a ton more uphill. You start getting into some deeper wooded trail sections. The leaves definitely make it harder to see where the trail is going, so keep your eyes peeled and make sure to have studied your map/route! The summit of Huckleberry is simply a boulder with a bunch of trees surrounding it. No views what so ever. We reached the summit at 9:46 am, had a quick snack and continued on our hike.
Next on the traverse we headed to Huckleberry. The summit of Huckleberry is found on a boulder slab on the right hand side of the trail. If you aren't looking for it, you could easily miss it! We reached the summit by 10:07, no views again but a much more spacious summit compared to the others!
From here, there's a little longer of a stretch over to Fifth Peak about 2 miles from Huckleberry. This section of trail goes down and loses a lot of elevation prior to the climb to the summit. There's a trail junction you'll reach where you'll see it'll point to the point of the lake or to Route 9N for the parking lot. Take the left towards the point and then you'll come to another trail junction where you take another left up to the summit of Fifth Peak. The actual ascent up to the summit is only .7 miles and it goes quickly. There's a good chunk of elevation to climb, but nothing overly difficult at all. Again, not a technical hike at all.
The summit is home to a lean to and some gorgeous views of Lake George. Some views unlike any other hike in the area that I have done. Instead of the summit overlooking the lake, it actually mainly overlooks the mountainous region - just beautiful. We reached Fifth Peak at 11:40 am.
Had lunch and relaxed for a while and then began our descent. The downhill was very consistent. Not many flat sections of trail, pretty much spend the majority of the descent in a steep downhill position. The trail here is really unique, lots of cool sections of rockwork to look at, beautiful trees, and a bridge crossing.
We reached to the other 9N parking lot (where the second car was parked) right around 2 pm
10 miles, 4 peaks out of the 6 in the range, bringing me to 9/12 on my Lake George 12ster journey!