Sawyer and Little Sawyer Mountains, Indian Lake NY on route 28/30
This route has options for members of the entire family, but the route past Sawyer Mountain should only be attempted by experienced hikers with a background and experience in navigation
– I will explain.
From the trailhead you will be on a heavily used trail, which gets a ton of attention from visitors and locals. This trail to Sawyer Mountain is also a fantastic destination for kids – parents too! The trail starts out climbing right from the parking, but is never too steep; that is in comparison to some of the others in the area. The forest as you will notice is a gorgeous hardwood stand, very open and welcoming to the visitor. In the spring and summer the wildflowers are abundant and the songbirds a plenty. In the fall the colors are almost bright enough for sunglasses. In winter the snow so crisp you can almost hear it sparkle.
The trail swings around and works its way up along the northern ridge and reaches the wooded summit of Sawyer Mountain at 1.1 miles. The trail does carry on a bit further and drops slightly to a nice view out over the golf course with Sprague Pond and the foothills of the Little High Peaks a bit further in the distance.
At this point the loop becomes a bushwhack where experienced hikers and those with navigational skills can continue. Please DO NOT proceed without a GPS and/or map and compass and the knowledge on how to use them. There is no trail beyond this point so families and inexperienced hikers should turn around.
Little Sawyer Mountain is an unnamed peak located SE of Sawyer Mountain and offers outstanding views from its open rocky summit. Continue to follow the ridge over the top of Sawyer Mountain as it descends in a southerly direction. As the ridge splits follow east along a secondary ridge and over a small bump before a sharp descent brings you into the valley. Stay high in the col as to not enter the wetlands below. The wetlands sit in a shallow depression and can be very wet during some months. The climb up Little Sawyer is a pleasant one with many rewards and sporadic views.
The final push to the summit is a bit steep and you will need to possibly skirt some cliffs, depending on how direct your approach to the summit is. The views from here are fantastic and the interesting balanced boulder on the summit ridge is quite a unique feature. The descent is through equally attractive forest landscapes and is approached in a northerly direction to hook up on a pleasant ridge. The descent isn’t too steep and you will exit onto the main road, roughly 0.6 miles south of the Sawyer Mountain Trailhead. If a second car is not available for this loop, it’s an easy walk up the shoulder of the road, just be cautious of traffic.
If you are interested in doing a trip like this, give the Long Lake Town Offices a call at 518.624.3077 and we will see what we can do to plan an outing similar to this.
Sawyer Mountain – 2613’
Little Sawyer Mountain – 2327’
3.5 miles for the entire loop
1.1 miles to the summit of Sawyer Mountain
Family of Four with Kids: Not Recommended past Sawyer Mountain; 3/4 hours to Summit of Sawyer Mountain
Experienced Hiker: 4 to 5 hours for the entire loop; 1/2 hour to summit of Sawyer Mountain
Inexperienced Hiker: Not recommended past Sawyer Mountain; 3/4 hours to summit of Sawyer Mountain
From the intersection of Route 28N and Route 30 in the Town of Long Lake follow Route 28N/30 toward Blue Mountain Lake. In Blue Mountain Lake follow Route 28/30 toward Indian Lake. Continue for around 7-miles to the trailhead for Sawyer Mountain on the right.
Sawyer Mountain makes for an excellent snowshoe for the entire family, but not recommended as a cross-country ski. The bushwhack to Little Sawyer Mountain is only recommended for hikers with ample off-trail experience and snowshoe skills.
Information and photos provided by Spencer Morrissey of Inca-Pah-Cho Wilderness Guides – 607.267.3474