Winter Overview and Trail Conditions:
From the trailhead you will snowshoe along an old forest road which is a nice easy start to the day. You will arrive at the top of Thomas Mountain after 1.4 miles where there is a cabin to use as a rest stop. This cabin is the perfect opportunity to turn around and recommended if you have young kids or are not feeling up to the extended day.
From here it is a much more rugged and narrow foot trail as you proceed along the ridge trail to the summit of Cat Mountain. The trek is 2.2 miles from Thomas to Cat but the snowshoe is a stellar one. The summit of Cat Mountain offers a 270 degree view out over the Lake George Region and with views along the way it’s sure to be a true joy.
To finish the loop head back along the ridge trail and pick up the yellow trail that will come in on the right. You may have noticed it on the way up, roughly 0.4 miles back. From here you will drop down moderately along an old forest road and eventually connect up to the trail you started on below the summit of Thomas Mountain. The backside of the loop is quite easy, but seemingly long. Feel free to do the loop in reverse or just go for the big payoff and top out on Cat.
Distance Round Trip:
6.6 miles loop
Approximate Time Round Trip:
Families with Kids: 2-3 hours for Thomas, not recommended past Thomas
Experienced Snowshoers: 4 to 5 hours
Inexperienced Snowshoers: 5 to 6 hours
Follow I87 south from the Schroon Lake Exit and get off Ext 24. From Exit 24, head east on County Route 11 for approximately 2 miles then turn right onto Valley Woods Road. The preserve is about 100 feet on the right.
Difficulty: 1=easiest, 5=hardest
Two to Four: This can be a very demanding snowshoe if the loop is done in full, if you only set out for Thomas the trip is much easier and shorter.
Additional Important Information:
There is a cabin on the top of Thomas which is an excellent spot to get out of the elements and warm up.
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Snowshoeing over a frozen body of water is a winter past time; it can access you to areas not seen by most in the summer. With that being said it is a dangerous activity to cross frozen water bodies and should be done with care and respect for your environment. Know the ice conditions and be prepared for anything including heavy winds, snow drifts, whiteouts, slushy conditions, and thin ice.