My First Experience Hiking Near Schroon Lake - Pharaoh Mountain Wilderness
Saturday I went with some friends up to Schroon Lake where we were decided on hiking Pharaoh Mountain and doing a nice loop hike by the lake. We met at the first parking lot right around 8:30 am and then decided to drive the first 2 miles in to the second parking lot by the trailhead.
This 2 mile stretch can definitely be walked if you're interested - or if you're like us, who drove it - make sure to have 4 wheel drive and a vehicle that can handle big puddles, lots of rocks or else you'll definitely have a difficult time getting down this road.
Once we got to the second parking lot, we geared up and headed to the sign in sheet. From here, the trail starts meandering through the woods, which I really enjoyed and then after about a mile of casual hike/walking, it shoots straight up.
This part of the hike is a steep incline with mainly slab climbing. The slabs were definitely wet from some rain fall we had, but nothing unmanageable at all. Steady steady incline, consistently for approx 1.5 miles up to the summit. Some beautiful spots where you could look out and see some views, but nothing else significant to report on the way up.
The main thing that was different for me about this hike, was hiking with 2 people that were really FAST hikers. It was funny, I watched them practically run up the slabs and I was laughing to myself because I'm definitely not that fast of a hiker at all. I took my time (and probably slowed them down a bit, but pushed myself and was definitely breaking a decent sweat right off the bat). We summited in a little over an hour from signing in.
The summit of Pharaoh Mountain was beautiful - wide open boulder to sit on and we had it all to ourselves. It was a nice contrast from my normal Lake George or High Peak hikes where you're barely ever alone.
The most significant part about this hike, was the couple we were hiking with GOT ENGAGED AT THE SUMMIT. It was a really special experience to be a part of. Doing what we all love and in the presence of love, I couldn't have bee more happy for the two of them! Had some little splits of prosecco to celebrate and then headed down to Pharaoh Lake.
You can definitely do this hike in a quicker fashion if you just want to do an out and back hike. But the scenic route down was definitely worth it.
The hike isn't well marked, so on the way down, make sure to pay attention to your map or it could be quite easy to get disoriented (especially with all the leaves this fall). The way down is steep for about a .5 mile, with some slabs and boulders, but it was definitely less wet on this side of the mountain, which made for an easier descent.
We zigged and zagged through the trees down to Pharaoh Lake. This section of the hike was probably my favorite - beautiful lake, and views from here. A great place to sit and have lunch - which is exactly what we did! We rested here for almost an hour and then continued on our hike.
The remainder of the hike is some small climbs up and then flattening back out, over some small creeks, by a few ponds, and was just absolutely beautiful. I love how IN the woods you feel, you can tell these trails are not traveled very often.
We were back to the second parking lot around 3:30 pm (mind you we rested for a while at the summit and lake) and totaled about 10 miles for the day.
This hike was really beautiful, highly recommend it and will definitely do it again!