By Mike Lynch
It was a mid-October when I decided I needed to get down to Anthony’s Nose to catch a last glimpse of the fading fall foliage.
I got up early one morning, gathered up my gear in a daypack and drove south to the northeastern side of Lake George, to the preserve owned by the Land George Land Conservancy.
The drive actually was one of the highlights of the trip, as I passed a number of colorful hardwood hillsides, scenic barns, and farmlands colored in autumn hues.
Anything the hike would provide was a bonus, and I already knew it would be good.
LGLC Land Steward Alex Novick had recommended it as one of the best places to view Lake George, noting that photographer Carl Heilman had shot some incredible images from the lookouts.
One thing to note about the Anthony’s Nose Preserve is that the hike doesn’t actually go to its namesake landmark, a hill with cliffs near the shoreline of the lake. Instead the 0.8-mile trail goes to some viewpoints on Record Hill, which is east of Anthony’s Nose.
That’s on purpose.
Anthony’s Nose is home to cliffs that serve as a breeding spot for peregrine falcons, which are endangered in New York State. The LCLG description of the preserve says in the summer you may see these “birds soaring over the cliffs,” and they ask that you not disturb them. The trail through the preserve purposely ends on Record Hill and does not go near Anthony’s Nose, so hikers don’t disturb the birds.
Peregrine falcons are perhaps best known for being able to reach speeds of 180 mph when pursuing their prey, often birds. The falcons often return to the same nesting area annually and mate with their partners for life. The birds were pretty much eliminated in the state in the 1970s due to pesticide usage but are making a comeback and can be found breeding on cliffs, bridges and even buildings.
But the preserve does more than just help protect this nesting area. It also preserves shoreline. The northern edge of Anthony’s Nose Preserve borders the Adirondack Forest Preserve. That property, known as Flat Rock, was purchased by LGLC in 1998 from the Fort Ticonderoga Association and later sold to the state in 1999. When combined, the preserve and state land protect 9,000 feet of shoreline and nearly 500 acres of upland forest.
In addition, LGLC also owns a pair of connected preserves—Gull Bay and The Last Great Shoreline—a bit south of Anthony’s Nose.
When you arrive at the Anthony’s Nose Preserve in the town of Putnam, you’ll find the small parking lot on the left off of Schwerdtfeger Road. The parking area is typical of LGLC lots and can only hold roughly half a dozen vehicles.
The day I hiked I only saw one other group, and no one was in the lot when I arrived. I walked from the parking lot down to a kiosk and trail register before heading on a slight uphill. In the first couple hundred feet, I passed a rock outcropping, then took a sharp left turn after about 450 feet.
After about a tenth of a mile, there was a do-not-enter sign on the right and a fence on the left.
Following the blue discs up the hill through the hemlocks, I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through terrain that wasn’t too strenuous. After about 0.2 miles, I descended into a valley, with cliffs on the left and a hillside on the right. Here, I noticed an unmarked trailhead off to the left that goes to private property at about 0.3 miles. I continued on the private trail to the right, following the blue discs through the hardwoods.
The trail started getting steeper. From here to the 1,265-foot summit, you climb about 665 feet, and it was noticeable. I was just getting over a cold and felt fairly sapped at this point. After about 0.35 miles, I started getting glimpses of the lake. About a half-mile into the hike, there were views down toward the southern part of the lake and the nearby peninsula.
I also started noticing red cedar and red oaks, which I haven’t seen on many of my hiking excursions. According to LGLC, Record Hill contains these two trees, plus shagbark hickory, white ash, hop hornbeam, and serviceberries.
Finally, at 0.8 miles, there were more open views across the lake around the summit. Not to mention, some spectacular views down the lake that include the surrounding mountains.
If you continue to the right, there is a great view across the lake to Roger’s Rock, a rock-climbing destination with slides that rise from the lake.
I wound up spending about an hour on the summit, and had it to myself as I tried to capture the scenery in photos.
Novick was right about the place being photogenic. This was one of the most scenic views of Lake George I have had the opportunity to experience. The conditions weren’t necessarily the best for photos this day because of the cloud cover, but I planned to return one day when the lighting was better.