Hikes Around Saratoga Springs – Prospect Mountain (Part 5 of 6)

Saratoga Arms’ evening front desk manager, Jeff Apple, is an avid hiker. On his days off, he is usually on top of a mountain…far, far away from cell phone coverage. Jeff has offered to share blog posts of great hikes in and around our Saratoga Springs, NY hotel. He starts off our six part series by discussing these hikes, from easiest to most challenging. The first installment was Geyser Creek Trail, which is 2 miles from Saratoga Arms.  His second post featured a beautiful hike in the Lake George Area at Sleeping Beauty. His third installment is a favorite of our guests, Hadley Mountain. For the fourth installment, a local favorite, Buck Mountain.  And for his 5th blog…Prospect Mountain.

Prospect Mountain Hike

Located just North of Saratoga Arms is Prospect Mountain, one of the more popular hikes in the area. The trail leads to a bare rocky summit with panoramic vistas over the piers, the shops of Lake George Village, and the surrounding Adirondack Mountains. Prospect Mountain is said to have “100 mile” views from its 2,030-foot peak. If you wish to bypass the hike, for a small fee there is also a 5 ½ mile highway that takes you to the top, with scenic pullouts along the way.

Bridge to Prospect Mountain

The trailhead for the Prospect Mountain hike actually starts from within the village of Lake George, just a few blocks off of Canada Street. After parking your car on Smith Street, you climb a metal staircase and cross the Adirondack Northway (I-87) via an elevated walkway to the other side. From here, the hike begins in earnest.

Our charming boutique hotel in downtown Saratoga Springs is the perfect home base for your adventurous getaway. Book your favorite room at Saratoga Arms to enjoy the Prospect Mountain Hike, along with the many other hiking adventures in the area. Add our Pick Your Path Package to make the most of your climb!

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Wheel found on Prospect Mountain Hike

The Trail

While the hike is only about 3 ½ miles roundtrip, it can be deceptively difficult. It ascends steadily throughout with some short steeper sections, and it also has some exposed stone slabs and round bouldery rocks that can make footing tricky, especially if the trail is wet. The trail follows part of the bed of a historic funicular railway, which, at one point, was the largest in the world, and used to ferry patrons to a hotel on the summit. Now, all that remains of the railway are some rusted cable, masonry ruins of the summit terminal, and the “bull wheel”, which is displayed at the top.

Those who drive up the Veterans Memorial Highway can park their car near the top and ride the Prospect Shuttle the rest of the way. On top, there are additional self-guided hiking and nature trails, which are well marked, as well as restrooms and drinking water. The summit is a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch with a covered pavilion, charcoal grills, and picnic tables with magnificent views of the lake.

Prospect Mountain Lookout

Directions

To get to Prospect Mountain trailhead:

  • Head North on I-87 to Exit 21.
  • Turn right off the exit ramp, then left at the stoplight onto Canada Street.
  • In 1.4 miles, turn left onto Montcalm Street (across from Shepard Park).
  • In five blocks, turn right onto Cooper Street.
  • In one block, turn left on West Street for one block.
  • Turn left onto Smith Street where you will see a sign on the right indicating the start of the trail, along with the entrance to the elevated walkway.

Read Part 6 of Jeff’s Hikes Around Saratoga