Hikers enjoy the view atop Coon Mountain.
With many Adirondack trails remaining closed and as others re-open, it may be a good time for hiking enthusiasts, residents, and visitors to travel to the Champlain Valley.
“The trail network is now open in the central valley towns of Westport, Essex, and Willsboro and we plan to expand into neighboring towns and throughout the Valley,” Chris Maron, executive director of Champlain Area Trails (CATS), said. “All the trails are open, so if hikers are shut out of their favorite hiking areas, they might explore our trails. There may be a few fallen logs across the trails but there are few if any rutted or washed out areas or missing bridges.”
The CATS trail system includes hikes to valley peaks featuring views of the Champlain Valley, Lake Champlain, the High Peaks, and Green Mountains of Vermont. The trails also take hikers past beaver ponds, small brooks, open meadows, and through diverse forests.
“I recommend the Wildway Overlook Trail and Coon Mountain to people who want views,” CATS trail committee chairman Bill Amadon said. “For those who want a long hike, take the Boquet Mountain Trail to the Homestead Trail, and then the Bobcat Trail. Split Rock’s trails offers great opportunities for hiking and Black Kettle Trail is a neat little hike with almost everything.”
“We are fortunate that years ago, the Adirondack Land Trust and State of New York put in their hiking trails at Coon Mountain and Split Rock,” Maron said. “Since then, we have developed over 10 miles of new trails and most of them are relatively easy and pleasant hikes. We are working to make it so people can hike from hamlet to hamlet, which is something that draws many visitors to Great Britain and New Zealand. We envision that kind of system here which will increase tourism and take some pressure off the High Peaks trails.”
Maps of the CATS trail system can be found at www.champlainareatrails.com.