Henry’s Wood Rocky Knob Trail

The view of Whiteface and Lake Placid from the Henry’s Wood Ridge Trail (Photo provided — Diane Chase)

Recently I have felt less like a parent and more like a taxi driver. Though this has been my previous experience on parenting a pre-driving teen. I am grateful for the commute that allows me to catch up on school days and be included in various aspects of life between school, sports, and other extra curricular activities. Sometimes, when work permits it, I am left with an hour to fill. I can only spread so much time at the grocery store.

Since I don’t live in the village of Lake Placid, dropping off my children at an activity has never allowed me the flexibility for a quick trip home. Most of my time is spent finishing work calls or running errands, but Lake Placid is too lovely and offers too many options to make it always about checking another item off my “to do” list.

Henry’s Woods is a perfect place for someone without a lot of time, but who still wants to get a mountain view, walk the dog, or even mountain bike. My destination is a quick hike to the top of Rocky Knob (0.9-mile red trail). At the half-circle parking area, we leave the van and make our way along the first corridor called the Connector trail (0.3-mile green trail). This trail passes the large covered gazebo with oversized trail map and bench seating. I don’t bother to stop, but proceed to the first junction and turn right, heading north on the Loop trail (2.0-mile green trail). This trail is a rolling hill making for an easy walk. We cross plank bridges that cover spring runoff, but are now a dry riverbed.

We pass the junction with the Switchback trail and spend time on the suspension Bridge to Nowhere. That name is self-explanatory. We quickly reach the first junction for Rocky Knob and start to climb. This red-marked trail is just under a 0.9-mile circle back to the Loop trail with an elevation of 320 feet. We weave along the numerous switchbacks until reaching the first summit viewpoint overlooking the village of Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain. The trail descends to the next open view of the Great Range to the south. The trail connects back with the green Loop section and we continue the loop to once again reach the Kiosk and parking area.

Henry’s Woods is a quiet place. Even though the town is filled with visitors, we only hear songbirds and the leaves rustling in the breeze. We pass dog walkers, a mountain biker, and a few runners that apparently finished a marathon and needed to unwind by running again. There are many other options at Henry’s Woods. The next time I’m on drop-off duty, I plan on catching the views from the Plateau trail. It certainly beats running errands.

From Cascade Road (state Route 73), turn onto Old Military Road (county Route 35) near the Lake Placid Horse Show Grounds and Olympic Ski Jumps. Drive 0.7 miles to Bear Cub Road and turn left. The entrance to Henry’s Woods is immediately on the right in 0.1 miles. If coming from Saranac Lake on state Route 86, turn right onto Old Military Road (county Route 35) and drive for 2.8-miles. Bear Cub Road will be on the right, after the Olympic Training Center.

Diane Chase is the author of the “Adirondack Family Activities” guidebook series, “Adirondack Family Time: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities.”

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