Lots to explore in the Wonders of Wilmington challenge
By Melissa Hart
My husband and I have lived in the Adirondacks nearly all our adult lives, but it took the addition of children into our family to open our eyes to some of the attractions in our own (figurative) backyard.
Recently, my 5-year-old twin girls and I took on the “Wonders of Wilmington” challenge. There are three unique challenges as part of this promotion: Family-friendly, hiking and bike excursions. The family-fun challenge provides a variety of opportunities to take in some amazing views of Whiteface Mountain and the Ausable River, as well as taking in some short hikes.
There are six parts to the family-fun challenge, two of which are among my family’s favorite hikes: The Silver Lake Bog Trail and Cobble Lookout. We’ve done those two hikes fairly regularly since my kids were toddlers.
Silver Lake Bog Trail
The Bog Trail is owned by The Nature Conservancy and features a half-mile boardwalk through the bog and then a mile hike up to some pine bluffs overlooking Silver Lake. It’s a perfect family hike, as my kids love looking for frogs in the various puddles and pools along the boardwalk and they also love the views from the “peak.”
Cobble Lookout also offers a reward of amazing views without the “work” of hiking an actual peak. This hike now takes my kids about an hour and a half round trip (a big time improvement over the first few times we did it!), which includes time at the lookout for poking around and eating a snack while soaking in the sights of Whiteface and Ester mountains, and Wilmington below.
While we’ve been going to the Wilmington Beach (also known as Lake Everest, on the Ausable River), for years for the beach, playground and paddling trips, we actually hadn’t walked on the nature trail there. Although short, this quick loop offers some great views and is a nice addition to this gem of a public park.
I’ve driven by the Connery Pond trailhead on the Notch Road (Route 86) for years now, but made my first stop recently and boy, was I ever blown away by how amazing this spot is. For a short walk on a dirt road, you can get access to this wide-open landscape, with more beautiful views of Whiteface Mountain.
Monument Falls and Lake Everest
A pit stop on Route 86 provides some great scenery, including a view of Monument Falls on the Ausable River. We hit this up on the way back from Connery Pond. The last place on the list is Lake Everest and it’s the last one we need to complete the challenge. I plan to venture out this week and possibly combine it with another short hike in the area.
It’s been fun playing tourist and checking out both new (for us) and familiar landmarks.