Crane Mountain Loop Hike

HARD 246 reviews
#8 of 182 trails in

Crane Mountain Loop Hike is a 3.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Warrensburg, New York that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 3.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,345 feet Route Type: Loop

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

cave

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

Beautiful Southern Adirondack trail with natural stone bridge, cliff ladders and a spring fed mountain ridge pond. Loop trail beginning at the trailhead at Ski Hi Road, Johnsburg, NY.

hiking
10 days ago

This is one of my all time favorite places to hike. So much fun and the views were incredible. Check out my full write up with pictures and directions. eastcoasthiker.com/trails/cranemountain

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
scramble
washed out
11 days ago

Beautiful day in the ADKs! This trail is excellent with diverse regions and woods: deciduous, conifers, stunted alpine, muddy bogs, boulder choked trails and scenic vistas. The bugs were light with the help of bug spray and a light breeze. Overall, a strenuous hard hike, but a nice short loop (with an option to make it even shorter) The Crane Mt. Pond feels like a Colorado alpine lake- great swimming! The previous reviews layout some cautionary notes. I would add, possibly difficult with a dog- there are many cliffs and two ladders. Have fun, hike safely!

hiking
15 days ago

Great short but strenuous hike, with fabulous views. As others have written here, there is a lot of rock scrambling so avoid during and shortly after rain. There are great views east and west from the summit, the eastern ledge can be tough to find without marked trail to it. But there is a herd path due east from the summit which isn’t too tough to follow if you find it. The shortcut trail (yellow markers) that heads south from the pond is uphill, so be prepared for another climb if you want to try that instead of the full loop. We saw only four other people on a beautiful Sunday, and the bugs weren’t too bad.

hiking
blowdown
bugs
muddy
rocky
scramble
15 days ago

hiking
blowdown
muddy
over grown
scramble
27 days ago

28 days ago

Great hard climb the rock climbs can be slick when wet. Wait for a sunny dry day.

hiking
1 month ago

Crane is a great short hike, but stenuous due to the rocky terrain and steepness. 1.4 miles from the Ski Hi parking lot to the summit makes it a nice short hike though! It was hot (86!) and plenty of black flies out (as expected) last Sunday when I wandered around the trails. There were two large trees down, but they were easy to get around and see where the trail went (no branches, just trunks). The other blowdown looked like it had been cleared recently. The trail was still a bit muddy (perhaps I should have taken DEC advice and stayed off trails over 2500 feet...), but I stuck to the trail to not make things worse. The pond was gorgeous as always; Crane is a special mountain between the great views from the summit, the pond, the cave at the base, and that ability to due a "loop" hike and not have to double back. One note from the previous review - there are two arrows; the first keeps you on the trail, the STOP sign makes you stop looking at your feet if you have gotten off the trail and find the arrow to get you back TO the trail (the stop sign itself is not on the trail)). I understand many hikers used to wind up down in the beaver swamp at the base of the mountain after departing from the trail here and not being able to find their way back (note: if you lose the trail, retrace you steps don't keep forging on ahead hoping you'll come across it again...). Lastly a GPS hint - the NYS DEC Trailhead is on Ski (sometimes "Sky") Hi Road. Typing in "Crane Mountain" to Google (and perhaps other) mapping programs takes you up Crane Mountain Road which dead-ends on private property (and last weekend was closed for mud season anyway). Searching "Crane Mountain Trailhead" seems to direct you correctly to the trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

Review snapshot: Very steep, rocky as hell, a good amount of boggy spots, many wet rock scrambles from water runoff. Parts of the trail were not very well marked, trail needs maintenance and new signage. Great views from a couple overlooks on the way up, spectacular views from the summit. A strenuous and challenging hike but ultimately a good one I did this trail once in the winter and I almost died on an icy rockface. Never do this trail in winter without crampons. Anyway, i has a score to settle with this mountain and I wanted a rematch so I did it yesterday. Overall this trail isn’t too bad. It is definitely a steep ascent and descent so wear good hiking shoes. You’re going to need them. A lot of people say to leave your trekking poles in the car but there are quite a few spots where they are helpful so I say if you can afford to carry them on your bag, take them with you. There are some muddy, boggy spots, many wet rock scrambles from waterfall runoff, and lots and lots of large rocks and boulders to climb up and over on both the ascent and descent. This trail definitely earns its difficulty rating but your hard work is rewarded with spectacular views at the summit. If you can catch it on a beautiful day like I did, it’s amazing. Definitely bring your camera. However, a few things about this trail can use some serious improvement. Namely, the trail markers. Many parts of the trail are not well marked at all and I ended up losing the trail a few times. This happened in the spots where you need trail markers the most; in the thick, overgrown sections that aren’t well blazed. Thankfully My AllTrails app gives me a precise location of where I am so I can stay of trail. Many of the trail markers that were on the trees have been there a long time and the tree was growing around it. The junction where the yellow and red trail meet at the pond needs updating. The red trail that continues onto the pond seems to just stop and it took some exploring to find it again in the thicket. There used to be a white trail marker that told you where the red trail is but that’s gone. There’s just one small trail marker with handwriting telling you the yellow trail brings you across the ridge to the trailhead. On the descent, the trail displays a stop sign in the middle of the trail. I figured out the trail cuts left over a rock but there’s nothing to tell you that. It’s just a stop sign and the arrow that told you where to go was on the next part of the trail, not near the stop sign where it should be. Again I had to look around for a few minutes to find that arrow sign. It’s small things that make a big difference like that that need improving. There were also many downed trees that need to be cut up and removed from the trail. I understand it’s spring and winter just passed so I didn’t expect those to be gone but paired with the trail markers, this trail is in dire need of maintenance. I saw many people there with their young kids. Idk, personally I don’t think this is a family friendly hike with the steep grade, the wet rock scrambles, and the sheer drop offs and cliffs that litter the trail. There’s just a lot of potential for bad things to happen but that’s up to you I guess. Overall I give it 3 stars because of the neglect of the trail. I would give it more but trail markers are important and need to be updated.

hiking
1 month ago

First of all, it was a great day for a great hike. Finally it stopped raining and we had full sun, with the Spring “Green Wave” swell rolling through the valleys of the Southern Adirondacks. We hiked a “lolly pop” shortened version of this loop trail up and over to Crane Pond, then up along the summit ridge, then returned down the ladders and back to the trail head. After signing in we headed straight toward the summit. At 0.5 miles in (elevation 2840) we took the less traveled trail to the left at the junction to traverse towards Crane Pond. We followed this trail for 0.4 miles until we reached Crane Pond (elevation 2620) where we thought we might be looking at a Buffle-head duck but on closer inspection turned out to be a fisherperson’s bobber. Took a right at the pond where we got back on the main loop trail that follows the pond edge and then proceeds up towards the summit of Crane Mountain. This portion of the trail, which is always somewhat wet and squishy, was free of any nasty mud, and provided easy footing. As we walked along the exposed ledges toward the summit we watched the world stretch out below us. A snack and a good chat with the Patrol Ranger at the old fire tower location on the summit (total mileage 1.7 at elevation 3212) and we were then on our way down the big ladder. As we passed the rock that looked like a loaf of sliced bread we saw the first and only remnant of winter ice in the shadows. The adjacent area was covered with various shades of green moss that looked thick enough to take a nap on. We then continued down the second smaller ladder and this time back straight through the junction of the “lolly pop and the stick” to descend back to the trail head. Great day and a great Hike. Total hike distance of this modified loop: 2.5 miles, total uphill elevation gain 1,341 (calculated from the Alltrails loop map).

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Hi there! This is a very good "starter" mountain if you are considering completing one or many of the 46 ADK High Peaks. As someone who has completed Cascade Mountain (one of the "easier" High Peaks), I believe that Crane Mountain is very comparable as far as the steepness of the hike and the nature of the trail (very rocky, lots of tree roots, some mud, and open clearings). The summit of this mountain is absolutely stunning. I uploaded a picture just to show that even on a cloudy day there is a vast amount area that, visually, is not effected by clouds. All things considered, I would not recommend this to someone just starting out on smaller trails. If you are interested in something with a beautiful summit in this area, but don't want to sacrifice your day for it, or that you may feel that this hike would be exhausting, I DO recommend the "Western Ridge Trail to Overlook"; Part of the Moreau State Park. Just some stats here about myself and this hike: I am a 22 year old female 200lbs and completely out of shape as far as exercise, however I do love to hike. That being said, I took a breather or small breaks every 15 minutes or so on the Crane Mountain Trail. It took me between 2.5-3.0 hours to ascend to the summit and 2.0 hours to climb back down. I kept up with water, small protein snacks, and good hiking boots (best to use some that cover your ankles ). I also completed this hike with one other person, no children and no pets. With this hike, you will want to bring a jacket and/or a windbreaker for the top. I hope this review is helpful, as I do find many lacking the information that I am looking for. Best of luck!

hiking
7 months ago

This is the latest in the year that we’ve hike in the Adirondacks, leaves were down and there was a winter weather advisory for late in the afternoon. The down leaves made us slow down on the way up which was definitely a climb up and over rocks. Arriving at the pond outlet and seeing the pond reminded us of a mountain lake in Montana. The walk along the ridge and its views was spectacular. Flurries started to fall just as we started down and they accelerated into snow very quickly as we descended down the ladder. Snow and leaves slowed us down even more down the steep decent but we were glad that we didn’t have to backtrack given the weather. We’ll be back in the spring/summer. Though it was challenging and all of 4 hours it was worth it. Glad we were prepared for the weather and glad we had the app.

8 months ago

This definitely earns its difficult rating. Steep and rocky. Hiking boots are recommended, cannot imagine doing this in sneakers. Make sure you have both hands free because you'll need them to climb! Did the loop, ladders first. Cloudy day so the summit was anticlimactic but we caught some views on the way down. We are in fair shape and this was my first hike in a year since having a baby. Super challenging. We loved it.

8 months ago

This will forever be my favorite mountain to hike. The beauty and physicality of Crane is endlessly surprising.

8 months ago

Awesome hike! It was really fun to climb up the rocks and the ladders. It was a bit muddy at parts. The lake was beautiful. I did this hike with my 6 year old son and it took us just under 4 hours because of the pace. Would do it again!

8 months ago

Very fun and challenging hike for the east coast! At the trail head you can go left for an easier ascent and toward the lake first or right for a more vigorous climb with ladders and rock scramble. Your call

8 months ago

Started at about 930 and took us about 3 hours with a half hour at the top. Gorgeous views! The pond was a really cool spot too. Nice if you just want a shorter but challenging hike!

11 months ago

Hiked this July 1, 98 degrees after hiking Gore mountain. This loop is incredible but difficult. Shoes with some grip are a must. Would not do alone. Very steep and rock climbing is part of it. It was extremely adventurous and can’t wait to bring others on this hike. Views were amazing from many look out spots. The pond on the other side is beautiful and wonderful to cool off in. Proved to be a lifesaver on such a hot day. Hiking down just as hard as going up. Will definitely do again.

hiking
11 months ago

I live within the reaches of Crane's shadow, & as a frequent High Peaks climber, I foolishly overlooked Crane, thinking 'what's so special about that?' Needless to say, I learned my lesson. Elevation doesn't equal charm! A great blend of sharp & steep with views of the Southern Adks; and oh yeah, a fancy pond. Overall a moderate 3.5 mile hike, great for any day.

11 months ago

Great hike if you're up to the challenge! The second ladder is tall and a bit sketchy- especially when you get to the top! If heights bother you avoid the ladder section. The rock scrambles are fun but also demanding! A short but very vigorous hike. Beautiful views. Go early as the lot fills quickly. Overall very worthwhile!

hiking
11 months ago

the climb up was very steep and there was a lot of rock climbing involved, not to mention one tall ladder. but the view at the top was well worth it! loved this hike!

hiking
Monday, June 18, 2018

Wanted to provide some more information here on the cave that many seem to have found and others have missed. It's located quite close to the junction of the blue trail and the jeep path that goes to the main parking lot, and is right before the steep rise of the face of the mountain. It had a stream running through it and the trail actually went over the cave forming a natural bridge. I found it was easiest to access from the north side of the blue trail, and after climbing down into the sink/pit the cave had formed, you encounter the stream flowing through. The stream continues to the right, off into some unknown fissure that I didn't explore but could be possibly squeezed into. Going to the left up a slight crawl, the cave opens into a sizable room which I could stand in. It is decently dark so a bright waterproof flashlight or headlamp is handy. The stream flows into this room by a waterfall which was right at the end of the first sink where the stream dips underground. You could climb out this end but it was pretty steep and slick with the wet rocks. The cave was cut through dissolution of the marble rocks, in much the same way as a limestone cave, and revealed some interesting features of slate layers and large quartz crystals within the rock from the metamorphosis of the marble. Marble caves are quite rare as compared to their limestone counterparts, and this is certainty an interesting place to explore not far at all from the trail.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Excellent hike!! We were so impressed with the variety of that this hike offered: lake, streams, scrambles, ladders, breathtaking views... this hike has it all!! Do it and it’ll be one of your favorites too.

hiking
Monday, June 11, 2018

It’s tough and you need good hiking shoes! The summit is really breathtaking. The second ladder is a little terrifying. Two hours from the top to the bottom but I feel as if I hiked for a full day! Good workout.

hiking
Monday, June 04, 2018

This is a tough hike, but so rewarding. I can’t wait to do it again in the fall.

hiking
Sunday, June 03, 2018

Don't let the length of this hike fool you, not 'easy' but if you're capable and willing to do some rock scrambling you'll get rewarded with an excellent view. Next time I'll be bringing trekking poles. Definitely recommend the 'loop' (we thought loop meant avoiding the rocky section on the way down from the summit- not true, but you will avoid descending the ladders if you continue past the summit and down to the pond (more roots than rock here). Nice big parking area, too.

hiking
Thursday, May 24, 2018

tough for us old folks but it was a blast and what a view!

hiking
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

extremely difficult especially coming down loved it

hiking
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Nice little mountain to pop up, short and sweet! Be prepared for some steep climbs though!

hiking
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Hiked the loop and it is one of my favorite hikes to date. The hike itself is lots of fun with the ladders and the trail is super cool too! Beautiful all the way. Really loved it. My only issue was that I didn't realize that the road leading to the trailhead is seasonal i.e. not plowed during the winter months. Not only did this add an extra 0.6 miles or so in the beginning, it also added another 0.2 or 0.3 at the end because you have to backtrack a bit to return to the trailhead to sign out. Other than these minor details, the hike was awesome and the views from the summit are STUNNING. Views of the pond at sunset are also quite nice. As it says this is definitely an intermediate to expert-level hike as it is quite steep and snow/ice make conditions even more difficult. I would highly recommend snowshoes and ice crampons. Trekking poles may be strapped to your pack for the ascent (too steep to use on the way up), but are of value on the way down. Happy trails!

hiking
Monday, February 19, 2018

WARNING!! DO NOT, AND I REPEAT DO NOT CLIMB THIS MOUNTAIN IN WINTER WITHOUT MOUNTAINEERING CRAMPONS. Both the ascent and descent of the mountain is very steep and was littered with smooth frozen over ice melt. I made the mistake of just using mini lug crampons meant for walking and I ended up slipping falling twice in five minutes on my descent. Had it had not been for a small tree in the middle of the rock scramble on my first fall, who knows where and how far and hard I would have fallen. Im thankful for that tiny little tree. Its very steep and becomes very treacherous when it’s icy. Seriously. Invest in mountaineering crampons ASCENT: Very steep and icy pretty much the whole way. However, there were many lookouts along the way to stop and take breaks and it has a great pine forest setting that just looks beautiful after a fresh snowfall, which I took full advantage of with my camera. SUMMIT: the summit offers spectacular views. Much better views in person than the pictures show but isn’t that always the case? DESCENT: The descent from the summit down to the pond is not well marked. I got nervous that I’d gone off trail so I started actively looking for a marker for at least 5 minutes and I saw not one. That may not sound like a long time but 5 minutes going down a mountain is a long way and I wasn’t looking forward to backtracking up the steep grade to get back to where I went off trail. I put faith in the footprints from other hikers that I was going the right way. Finally I saw one but this pet of the trail needs to be marked better. The descent after the pond was extremely icy. I slipped and fell twice and I was terrified of falling again. It was a very slow and methodical descent for me, planning out every step and praying I wouldn’t fall to my death. I’ll never winter hike again without mountaineering crampons. Ever. Lesson learned (the hard way) The last leg of the hike is mostly flat but does have just enough incline to make lactic acid build up if you don’t have snowshoes (yet another rookie mistake of I made. Between the icy ascent and descent, my lack of snowshoes and my dumbass leaving my trekking poles in the car (this hike wasn’t my proudest moment), I can confidently say the hike was not worth the reward this time. If I was better equipped for winter or if I did this in summer, I’d probably feel differently. But this mountain left a bitter taste in my mouth

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