Cobble Hill trail slated for improvements

LAKE PLACID — This summer, the Adirondack Land Trust is starting a multi-year construction project at the popular Cobble Hill trail.

The Adirondack Land Trust, a Keene-based nonprofit land trust, manages 79 acres of private land on and around Cobble Hill, located near Northwood School in Lake Placid off of Mirror Lake Drive, through conservation easements with two private landowners. To make the Cobble Hill trail more accessible and safe, the ALT wants to construct a 200-foot wheelchair-accessible boardwalk, reroute sections of the trail to prevent erosion and safety hazards, install a rock staircase near the summit so hikers can avoid climbing steep rock slabs, and build a new trailhead kiosk and signage.

ALT Director of Communications Connie Prickett said the land trust doesn’t have an estimated end date for the project, though the trail will be completely open for the duration of construction.

Since Northwood School stopped allowing hikers to access the Cobble Hill trail from a trailhead on the school’s property in June 2021, the land trust has been looking for a place to create a new, official trailhead. In the interim, Cobble Hill hikers have accessed the trail via Mount Whitney Road off of Mirror Lake Drive, or by walking on a sidewalk close to Northwood School’s Mirror Lake Drive gate, at the north end of the campus, and parking has been largely available on a take-what-you-can-find-nearby basis. The land trust is encouraging people to walk to the trailhead from a parking spot in the village.

Prickett said the new trailhead will be located directly off of Mirror Lake Drive, though the future parking situation there is still undecided. A stakeholder group is evaluating parking and will bring recommendations to the ALT and its project partners, according to Prickett.

The project is expected to cost around $227,000. The land trust on Monday announced that it received a $99,300 grant from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program for the project. NYSCPP grants are funded by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and administered and by the Land Trust Alliance in coordination with the state Department of Conservation. This past March, the ALT was awarded $75,000 for the project from the North Elba Local Advancement and Enhancement Fund. The ALT also received a $38,850 LEAF grant in 2021 for the project. The ALT will continue to raise funds for the rest of the project costs — including gifts from community members — according to a news release from the land trust.

The ALT said it has collaborated with community stakeholders since 2020 to plan for a safer, more sustainable hiking trail to the Cobble Hill summit, including the town of North Elba, private landowners, Northwood School, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, the state DEC, the Barkeater Trails Alliance, the Lake Placid 9er hiking challenge, and the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center. Cobble Hill is one of the summits included in the Lake Placid 9er hiking challenge.


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