Tongue Mountain Range Loop Trail is a 11.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Bolton Landing, NY that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
A great loop hike that brings you along the shore of Lake George then over 3 small peaks on the Tongue Mountain Range This is a wonderful hike. You will park at the southern trailhead for the Tongue Range, Clay Meadows next to a quarry. From there you will follow a nice trail around the shore of the lake to Montcalm Point where you'll have great views of the Narrrows. Then you'll gradually ascend the southern end of the Tongue Range over 3 nice peaks with great views over the lake below.
I agree with Jim Zack and most others on this. My gf and I just completed the loop in 2 tenting overnights. We enjoy the camping experience as much as the hike. We started at Clay Meadows to 5th Peak (day one). Across the ridge, lots of ups and downs, some are difficult (this is not young child friendly); to Montcalm Pt and around a bit to find a tent site (day 2). There are several fire pits people have made by the lake (likely unauthorized) but you should tent at least 150' off trail and away from the lake.You will not find a water source until you reach the point so the 3.5 ltrs we each packed was perfect for us for hydration, coffee making (my constant need) and cooking. Lake George is drinking water so it is potable although I still boil or filter anyway (I hate diarrhea) :-) The return to Clay Meadows parking area is a nice easy hike but is poorly marked (well over a full mile with no trail markers) and has lots of downed trees. It is easy to lose the trail especially with freshly fallen leaves on it. NYS DEC maintenance is glaringly lacking along this portion of the loop. I also noted that both All Trails and Gaia GPS tracking did not show us precisely on the trail for much of the hike although we were clearly on it. Use common sense in navigating if you get off the trail at any point. I'd also like to mention that although I was actively looking for rattlesnakes the closest I came to seeing one was the shed skin of a 3 footer.
This is a great loop. Definitely not for novice or sneaker-lycra hikers, but if you carry enough water and snacks, you can get some great views of Lake George, the Green Mountains, and the High Peaks. I think the 11.8 miles in the description is a bit short of actual mileage, but we took a the Yellow trail to the Fifth Peak lean-to, which added nearly a half-mile. I think you want to do the loop clockwise, as the range is pretty grueling and I wouldn't recommend waiting till the end to do it. Don't be fooled by the low peak elevations; there is a lot of up and down between each of the five peaks. Montcalm Point is a great place to rest and dunk your head. There are a lot of downed trees on the shoreline trail, and the Blue trail markers aren't always visible. Hug the shoreline and you will find the trail if you get lost going around the big trees that have fallen. Total time 8.5 hours, estimated distance 13.2 miles (AllTrails app crashed on me).
We did it as a backpacking trip. Start early. Pack light. Bring lots of water. There are no sources of water on the ridge. Once you get to the point the trail out is pretty easy. The views were spectacular.
It was the best hike. But now I cant feel my legs ))
Better to start as early as possible, because we finished at 7 and it's getting dark already around this time.
This was incredibly hard if you do the entire 12 mile trail, which we did. You need a lot of water. At least 2.5 quarts per person and plenty of food. Start early! We started at 11 and ended at 6:30. We had to do this at a fast pace. The views are spectacular. You can see the lake from many different angles. After the tongue mt lean to are the incredible views. We never found a Montcalm point sign. It's unclear if we saw that but maybe we did since we did the whole loop. All in all it took forever, and we are exhausted. We did go in the lake near the end and that was delightful.
This hike was great. But the mileage was way underestimated. We did the whole loop and our fit bits registered about 20 miles of hiking. The views are breathtaking though. Even saw a rattle snake but he just went the other way! We camped at 5th peak and the view of the mountains was great but the lake view is obstructed. Would have been nice to sleep on first peak! Watched the fireworks on the forth of July and again they were obstructed which was a bummer but from first peak they would be amazing! Still a great and strenuous hike worth doing! Bring lots of water and be prepared for the ups and downs!
This hike was hard! My boyfriend and I are relatively new hikers, and this was our most challenging adventure yet. We started from the clay meadows parking area and decided to do the ridges first. There are really 5 ridges that you hit, all with spectacular views of the lake and islands. The last ridge gives you a view of Monte Calm Point, which looks a lot closer than it feels when you are hiking down to it. The walk back along the lake is much quicker and easier, and luckily for us wasn't too buggy.
All in all I would say this hike is closer to 13 miles if you include stopping to swim at the point. If you'd rather not tack on the extra mile, just start the loop back. On it theres plenty of camp spots and places for a quick dip.
It took us about 11 hours from start to finish, with breaks for lunch and a swim. Beautiful, difficult hike with some serious elevation changes. Bring plenty of water, we ran out on the last two miles.
Did this on saturday with my boyfriend and our dogs-awesome hike, great views!! Just wanted to say that this is more like a 13-14 mile hike. We finished in about 6 hours, but we move pretty fast. I highly recommend this one!
This hike was very challenging. My boyfriend and I did not realize what we were getting into but we don't regret it. The 5 peaks were very steep at time times but the views were beautiful. The tongue loop was flat and swampy in some areas. I would recommend this trail if you are looking for a challenge. We only saw one person and it was in the very beginning of our hike. It would be fun to camp out on the loop but we did it all in one day, it took us about 10 hours but we did it in 14 miles.
3 of us hiked the entire loop in one day.... We went backwards around the loop... Was not easy at all my body hurt for days but all those views in one day was well worth it....
Hiked this starting out at 8am from the Clay Meadows trail head. The ascent up to the ridge line trail in the first couple miles is a great way to start off the hike. From there the trail continues along the mountain range, where you'll ascend to the summits of 4 or 5 mountains, before descending into the small valleys between them to repeat the process. Once you hit the end of the summits you descend down to the lake and follow the shoreline back up to the trail head. It took me around 5.5 hours to complete the entire loop, with 3.5 or so spent on the trek out along the ridge line due to all the ascending and descending, the 5 mile hike back along the shore is a welcome respite / cool down which takes another couple hours at a leisurely pace. This early in the season the shoreline portion had many boggy areas due to snow melt and high streams and water lines, and the trail was hard to find occasionally due to tree fall over the winter, but is was definitely a great way to spend half a Saturday!
Four of us backpacked starting at 9AM from the Clay Meadows area to MontCalm pt, back going clockwise. The first stop was the lean-to for a snack and our first vista of Lake George.. [This would be an ideal place to spend a night for those willing to carry up enough water]. The trail continued over several rocky ups and downs and we arrived at French Point in time for a leisurely lunch. The views of the islands below were beautiful in full sun but a bit windy and seasonably cold so we took cover on the leeward side of the top. On the way down we saw remnants of a recent forest fire, scarring the ridge from a lightening strike or from a careless hiker. The remaining walk to Mont Calm was tough and the last decent felt extra long and hard since the destination seemed sooo close from above (it psyches you out a bit.) My buddy in the front swore he hear a bear rustling in the brush (which made me hyper-tense later in the evening while trying to sleep in my exposed hammock. Fortunately no bear came and we also kept all food highly in a lofty bear bag.
Montcalm is a perfect camp. There were a few fire rings and soft, level pine floor. No one else was there either day. The water was filtered from the lake and is tasty and obviously bountiful. An owl was screeching at us about 20 feet away and was loud and un-nerving as it reminded us we were in the wild. We made a small fire to cook some steaks, but the wind came up soon after and we soon tamped it down. The sunset and morning views were glorious. The hike back was along the lake and offered many choice views. The trail was very dry this season and not swampy. We ended up tired and a bit sore, but a highly recommended hike for anyone in decent enough shape to lug 30-40 pounds over about 14 miles in two days.
We didn't do the whole loop. We parked on Rt 9 and went up the 5 mile trail, and rather than proceed to the water level we turned to end up on the 5th peak. It was a difficult hike up a rocky trail it also rained so I was worried about slipping. The peak was beautiful and I was glad I did it.
This was my first overnight hike so I didn't know what to expect. I went for the loop clockwise. The first half was intense but provided some amazing views of lake George and surrounding peaks. The ups and down were rough but overall I feel it had a good flow. Every time I was getting near time for a break I reached a nice rest spot on the trail. So if your comfortable hiking this distance then I wouldn't get too bogged down on the difficulty. I recommend 4-6 liters of water. Montcalm pt was a great little spot for a quick swim!
Mostly agreed with the last poster. Parked at Clay Meadow on a Sunday evening, started out with a light hike to Fifth Peak to watch the sun set (so beautiful) and set up in the lean-to. Got a late start in the morning, which was a mistake because 1) it was the end of summer, so it got up to maybe 80F, and 2) we'd made the unfortunate mistake of only bringing about 3-4 liters of water each, which caused us to run out around mile 10 of 14. The peaks were actually really beautiful and just about worth the effort despite the heat and "relentless ups and downs" that I had heard about before. The final five miles were actually mostly miserable, since not having water combined with a somewhat gloomy swamp area made it feel much much longer than it actually was (about 2-3 hours, since we were pretty exhausted from the rest of the hike). So, essentially, this hike is not for inexperienced.
overall great hike. the views from the top (first 9 miles) are amazing. there are many spots on the trail that offer beautiful views that look down at the south end of the lake. the last 5 miles wasn't anything like the beginning, walking low along the water. the whole trip is very strenuous and there are lots of mosquitos. we also came across 2 rattlesnakes. overall, it was a great, exhausting hike. if I could make one suggestion is to do it in the fall to avoid the bugs and the heat.
Snowshoeing this mountain was insanely difficult, but it had more to do with the time of the year we went than the trail itself. Once there is a good thaw I recommend you be very careful even if it snows again. We had a very slippery walk back down because the whole trail was basically an ice slide with a little bit of snow over it.