Crane Mountain Hike in the Adirondacks
Before we dive into the details, this hike is absolutely one of my favorites at this moment. So if you get discouraged by the “Difficult” rating on AllTrails, etc. - don't be.
The hike itself was about an hour from where we were staying, but flew by with great car conversations. We started at the Hi-Ski trailhead, which is pretty common. We did get there around 12, but managed to get a spot. It didn’t appear that crowded - but I would come early regardless.
The hike itself was rated difficult anywhere we looked, so we would prepared for a steep one. Just seeing the mileage vs. elevation - it was clear it wasn’t going to be easy. We chose to do the Loop which lead us first to the peak of Crane Mountain. Following the signs, it will be to your right, but I included our actuals below.
The 1.4 to the peak was definitely rough. It is rock, it is steep, but the views along the way make up for it. Just watch your footing and take a breather every now and then. Also, be weary of the trail signs! We went off on the wrong way at one point, so save you legs and watch close. For anyone scared of “cliff like” steepness, this isn’t it. So rest assured. One of our favorite parts of this ascent was the ladders. There is a small ladder you will encounter first, which is cool, but the second much longer ladder was pretty fun. It is steep, it is a bit scary for anyone worried about heights - but it is definitely great for pictures!
From that ladder, it isn’t long to the summit, and it will be clear you are there. The views are outstanding, from rolling mountains to mountain lakes - this is one of my favorite views to date from an ADK peak. Take break and drink a beer - you’ve earned it.
From here, you will start the decent down to the lake. This part is pretty easy, and it won’t be long until you reach the lake. You’ll follow the path along the lake, but you might want to wait to take a dip until you see the rock outcrop. This is a perfect place to rest your pack and jump on in and it is a bit less swampy here.
Once you leave the lake, you’ll start by making a pretty casual descent until you reach a rock stab opening. Definitely watch for the trail marker here as you you assume you go straight across, but you actually go straight down to the right.
Once you make this turn, it will be a pretty steep descent in to the woods. If you look at the typography on the map, you can see the ledge you are creeping down. But once that is finished, it’s pretty much cake from there. A sidewalk like path will carry you until you reach a sign for a first “parking lot” and a turn towards Hi-Ski will bring you to yours.
Overall - amazing hike with great views, a swimming hole a challenge and relatively quick hike in the ADK.