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Hiking the Tongue Range (South Side & Lakeside)

Saturday November 14th we started our hike out at the south side of the tongue range which we had ENDED our hike at two weeks prior when we did the northern side.

Our hike started at about 8:20 am, it begins with a walk over a bridge, under some blown down trees and then you reach a fork in the trail. The trail to the left is what will take you to Fifth Peak, French Point, First Mountain and to Montcalm Point and to the right will bring you down by the lake and out to the point. We took the left at this fork in the road and began our journey up to the final 2 peaks of our tongue range journey!

The hike starts out right away steep (we remembered this from coming down this way previously), but we wanted to go up the steep section first and get that out of the way. This climbs pretty steadily for a while and then it levels out. One of my favorite parts of the tongue range is how deep in the woods you are. You have to pay attention to find your route, and that to me is an experience in itself!

You'll reach a point where you'll see a sign for "fifth peak lean-to". This is the way you should take if you want to hike Fifth Peak - we had done this as part of our last hike so we bypassed this turn and continued towards Montcalm Point (the southern side of the tongue). But if you ARE looking for Fifth Peak, don't pass by this sign because it doesn't say summit - this IS the way up to the summit. We had a couple ask us where to go and they had long passed this sign for the summit and probably tacked on an additional 2 miles on their trip...

This section of trail is LONG to the summit of French Point. Lots of up and down sections where you lose and gain elevation quickly on the trail. We hiked here for approximately another 3 miles to the base of French Point where you fully start your ascent again. We reached the summit at 11:30 am and already had hiked over 5.5 miles to get to this peak.

French Point is a stunning summit and view of the lake. It's a wide panoramic summit with sweeping views of the lake and is positioned directly in front of Black Mountain. We sat there for a bit, refueled, snapped some photos and continued our 2 mile journey over to First Peak.

Again, you spend the two miles going up and down, gaining and losing elevation over to First Peak. At this point of the day, the clouds started to break and the sun started to peak through the pines. It was a beautiful section of our day. We reached the summit of First Peak by 12:30 pm (7.5 miles in) and had another summit all to ourselves!

This summit is beautiful as well - just such stunning views of the lake, and you can see the point of this peninsula.

Originally, our plan was to turn around and go back the way we came, but after seeing how much up and down we went through to get to this point, we chose the scenic route around the lake. Not only easier, but was a great choice because it was stunning!

We left the summit around 1 pm and headed down on our descent. The trail loses elevation quite quickly and then from there hugs the shore of the lake for the entire way back to the trailhead. We kept a brisk pace and crushed the final 7 miles of the hike and ended up back at the car at 4:30 pm.

Total trip was 14.5 miles. And the tongue range was complete as part of the Lake George 12ster challenge.



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