Easy access from Lake Placid

South Meadow is surrounded by mountains and offers easy access into the High Peaks Wilderness Area. (Provided photo — Spencer Morrissey)

Lake Placid is loaded with scenic destinations, but not all of them have to take all day to reach. These select destinations are perfect for those not wishing to do much hiking at all. Or maybe it’s a hot, humid day and the air condition of the car has its charm.

The following destinations are within a 10-minute walk of the parking lot. No special hiking equipment is required, just your normal items.

Cascade Lakes and Cascade Waterfall

Where am I going? It’s simple, just follow state Route 73 out of Lake Placid toward Keene. Continue for 8.25 miles or so to the parking area between the two Cascade Lakes.

The view from the base of Cascade Falls exhibits the power and force of the waterfall. (Provided photo — Spencer Morrissey)

This parking area gives you a ton of options and it’s also a scenic destination for taking some outstanding photographs. You can roll up your pant legs and wade out in the water, or go in for a full swim.

You can have a picnic and lay out a blanket to take a nap. You could also launch a canoe or kayak if you prefer. But you can also go for a short hike up to the waterfall for which the Cascade Mountain gets its name.

To reach the falls, cross a small footbridge at the back of the parking lot and follow a quite distinct foot path lined with periodic cairns. This path is unmarked and will lead you back to the slide.

The rock slide is at a very low grade jumble where decent shoes are needed; flip flops just won’t work very well. Once on the rubble-covered slide, a well-packed path will bring you up to the base of the waterfall. During dry spells, the waterfall is less dramatic, but hit it right and you can cool off in the spray.

I know it’s tempting, but please do not try and climb it. The rocks are slime covered and a slip would be very dangerous.

South Meadow

This is where? Follow state Route 73 out of Lake Placid toward Keene for 3.2 miles to Adirondak Loj Road on the right (first right after the ski jumps). Follow this road for just under 4 miles to South Meadow Road on the left. South Meadow Road is a dirt road and sometimes a bit rough.

This is a very popular hiking destination, with the High Peaks accessed easily from here. South Meadow is a quiet, obscure destination with a unique, wild feel to it. The hiking trail is just at the back of the parking lot at the end of South Meadow Road.

As you hike down the trail you will come to a grassy area before the bridge. You are now in South Meadow. In this grassy area there is an unmarked path on the left; hard to see at first, but once on it, it’s not too bad.

Feel free to explore upstream through the tall grasses and wildflowers. The unmarked path stays in the woods and pops out every now and then into South Meadow. The mountains pour down from above and the birds play their song in your ears as you walk through a most serene area.

Jay Covered Bridge

Where is the bridge? Follow state Route 73 out of Lake Placid toward Keene. Once in Keene turn left onto state Route 9N and follow it toward Jay. Continue on Route 9N through Upper Jay and into Jay. Once in Jay take the right, directly across from state Route 86. Follow this down a couple hundred yards to the covered bridge.

This is also a popular swimming destination and at times can be quite crowded. You can walk across the bridge, but it is not open to vehicular traffic. Great views of the cascade on the Ausable River rush below. Be sure to bring you swimsuit, the water always has that slight cooling chill to take the edge off a humid day.

Keene Pond

Where is this pond, anyway? Just follow state Route 73 out of Lake Placid and continue through Keene and into Keene Valley. As you pass through Keene Valley there will be a major trailhead on your right for Rooster Comb Mountain.

The pond walk is simply a small beaver pond located behind Keene Central School. From the trailhead, you will have to cross a long bridge over a beaver flood. The trail register is immediately after the bridge. About 0.1 miles farther, you will come to the pond. A trail leads all the way around the pond and is less than 0.25 miles in length. This is an excellent scenic destination for birding, wildlife viewing and a short peaceful stroll. Blueberry Mountain and Porter’s Ridge loom off in the distance.

Roaring Brook Falls

To get there, just leave Lake Placid on state Route 73 toward Keene. Drive through Keene and Keene Valley and into Saint Huberts. The trailhead for Giant and Roaring Brook Falls will be on your left across from the AMR, approximately 3 miles outside of Keene Valley.

This hike is a simple and short excursion along a very popular trail. The start is along one of the main trailheads for Giant Mountain. In a short distance, the trail splits: steep left is to Giant and right is to the base of Roaring Brook Falls. Continue along a flat trail as the steep slopes come down on your left.

In no time at all, you will be able to hear the falls and then quickly see them. The massive rock face stands over you as the falls cascade down mostly on the right. During times of heavy rain, this rather tall set of falls will rain mist upon its visitors.

The top of these falls are very dangerous, and at no time should you attempt to near the edge. The Giant Trail will get you to the top, but remain back from that luring edge.