Owl's Head Trail
Owl's Head Trail, located just outside of Keene, NY, is a short, relatively easy hike that is great for a quick hitter for hikers and trail runners looking to get in a fast workout with great, panoramic views of some of the high peaks region in the Adirondacks.
My hike of Owl's head came on a family trip to Lake Placid for a long weekend, and we completed the hike on our trip home, out of the Adirondacks. The length and easy/moderate challenge of the hike is perfect for anyone who wants to hike quickly maybe before arriving to Lake Placid or Saranac for the start of the trip, or to finish off a trip and may be southbound but wants to fit in one more hike before the long car ride. It's short (.9 miles loop) but actually has a few difficult sections towards the summit, including some rock scrambles. There is actually a section of the mountain where, according to a few sources, beginner rock climbers utilize about a 40 ft. wall for practice. I didn't step up to this challenge, but it made for a few nice photos (see below). Despite the short vertical drop of the mountain, it boasts some really sweet views that make this hike a huge bargain to those looking to get more bang for their buck.
The issue with Owl's Head now is, because there are some land owners with property on the mountain, and a few issues with hikers in the past, the Department of Environmental Conservation announced a few months back that the trail was closed on the weekends, which sort of ruins the possibility to explore for many hikers. I hiked on a Monday so didn't have any issues. Obviously, keep this in mind next time you're in the Adirondacks and plan wisely. There are rumors that the trail as we know it may be closed permanently, but that the state would carve out a new public trail on a different area of the mountain. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
To get there, take Route 73 south from Lake Placid, and you'll see a short turn off on the right for Owl's Head Road, about 3.1 miles before arriving in Keene. Once you take the turn onto the road, follow the signs to the trail head and make sure to park on the side of the road, do not block the private road.
Check the pics below to get a sense of the great views. Short, but rewarding hike in my favorite region of New York State!