Tongue Mountain Range Loop Trail

HARD 106 reviews
#19 of 180 trails in

Tongue Mountain Range Loop Trail is a 12.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Bolton Landing, New York that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
12.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,011 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

rocky

snow

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.

hiking
blowdown
52 minutes ago

Hiked on 1/18/19. Some very slick icy spots so I’d be extra careful. Lots and lots of blowdown. It was very easy to lose the trail.

hiking
19 days ago

I hiked in clockwise from Clay Meadows and it took me about 8 hours (on 12/28). I love this trail, but today was challenging because of the blowdown obstructing some of the trail, trail markers being somewhat difficult to find - especially one tricky place between Fifth Peak & French Pt and on the last 2 hours on flat trail, as well as sneaky icey leaves (covering more ice in some areas, which slowed me down as I had to hike carefully even with spikes). Highly recommend trekking poles and spikes and sufficient water & snacks...it's a long way.

backpacking
2 months ago

This is a great, challenging hike. I have done a bunch of the high peaks including Marcy and this one is on par. It can be easy to lose the trail sometimes so you should stay alert and pay attention, might be wise to bring a map or GPS. Also, if you're going to the fifth peak lean to, you can miss the yellow markers pointing to it because the trail forks and the signs are not positioned great. I did and ended up far past it, I did not have a map or GPS but did pull up All Trails and found that I had missed it. I would do this hike again if I was in the area.

2 months ago

this trail was covered in blowdowns and poorly blazed in parts. at times it was difficult to find the trail and I've never has to second guess myself so much.

views were beautiful, and terrain was very similiar to high peaks without the elevation in parts.

3 months ago

Awesome hike but would say more difficult than some of the high peaks, need to be in aerobic shape for sure

3 months ago

Wonderful trail that is well kept. The views are amazing...peak to lake, there's nothing like it with medium effort.

hiking
4 months ago

One of the hardest and most rewarding of the non-46er hikes in the Adirondacks. Our second time doing this loop. We had the trail to ourselves (we encountered no one the entire hike) on a mid-September Monday.

We hiked the loop clockwise (only first half of the hike was recorded). I was engaged in deep conversation with my partner and missed the cutoff for the southern range and added started climbing Fivemile Mountain before discovering my mistake and backtracking to the obvious intersection where we continued to Fifth Peak lean-to and lookout, and then on to French Point Mountain (best views), and First Peak.

While on French Point Mountain, we were eating our lunch when a male bald eagle soared up the eastern cliff on a thermal and passed right overhead. He was joined by two juveniles and/or females a few seconds later. Awe-inspiring to say the least. On our descent from First Peak, I encountered my first eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake! It rattled at me before slithering into the tall grass on the side of the trail. It was at least 4" in diameter and probably 4 or 5 feet long. It was sunning on the rocky part of the trail where tall grass grows right next to the trail.

We reached the junction that leads to Montcalm Point and I left my partner napping while I lowered myself into the cool waters of Lake George. I rejoined my partner and we hiked the 5+ miles out in about 2.5 hours that seemed to last forever. Total distance estimated at 14.5 miles (including error on the ridge and excursion to Montcalm Point) and time was 8h 45m.

hiking
4 months ago

The first time hiking a “Hard” trail. The experience was really amazing. We did it clock wise. The scenery is awesome. You could see lots of small animals and walking in it is comfortable. Some places is very rocky and steep, and I think it is not good for kids and young children. We started at red mark and then blue all to the end.
The only thing that we feel a little “bad” is that it is easy to get lost. We were planning to our route but lost twice. We met another couple who was here the second time and they got lost either. So, it is not a bad thing to be careful about this.
The trail although was suppose to be 12.6miles provided by AllTrails, we and other people we met all think that the actual distance is about 15miles maybe. Therefore, be well planned and plan more time before you start.
Another important thing is that please bring enough water and food. Really recommend some functional drinks instead of just water to keep electrolyte balance, and some digestible food. Also, recommend wear long trousers instead of shorts. The sun is not strong while waking because of those tall lefy trees, so don’t worry too much about burned.
Have to mention another thing. If by any chance you have emergency, call 911 and they will rescue you but it is better to try your best to walk down the mountain and by the river. They have boats and will pick you up in 30-60min. They will not charge you and they are really really helpful and kind people. (Don’t ask me how I know this,haha).
It was a unforgettable experience here. I hope everyone will enjoy it and please take care of yourselves.

hiking
4 months ago

Trail: Generally good condition, very long, especially the last (flat) 5.2 miles. If you’ve hiked any of the Adirondack High Peaks, you’ll find the trail conditions a dream - there are some rocky sections and two rather steep, sketchy, short descents, but much of the trail is pine duff. Plan on this being an all-day hike. I recorded 13.8 miles and 3120' from the trail register.

Views: Outstanding, each peak has better views than the last. Open, grassy summits provide the best views of Lake George to be found, French Point Mountain and First Peak are not to be missed.

Water: There are zero water sources on the trail until you get to the lake at mile 8.6. I went through 3.5 liters just to get to the lake on a sunny, 80 degree day. At that point I could filter. On the final leg from the lake back to the trailhead, plan on 1 to 1.5 liters. I’d bring at least 3 liters and a filter, or a minimum of 4 liters with no filter.

Camping: 150ft off the trail and 150ft from any water source. Please obey this. No one wants to see your fire pit on the summits. There is a lean-to on the first summit (Fifth Peak) that is in good condition.

Misc: Spotted one very large Timber Rattlesnake, 5-6’ (mid-September).

5 months ago

My partner and I did the loop as an overnight. The first day, we started out from the Clay Meadows parking lot around 1:30pm and headed up to fifth mountain via the red trail. The trail was fairly steep, but not too bad. We got to the junction with the blue trail with plenty of time to spare, so we dropped our packs and continued along the red trail in hopes of a dip in the lake. About two thirds of the way down, we decided we were content to stop for a snack at a nice view point and then head back up. Anyone filtering their water should note that the stream at the junction of the blue and red trails is the last reliable water source until after the trail fully descends from the mountains and reaches the lake maybe 7ish miles in. The fifth mountain lean-to was basic, but quite clean and we'll maintained with a composting toilet nearby. The views near it were spectacular, with an excellent vantage point for the sunset. The next day, we continued along the trail, coming across two rattlesnakes, cool, shady forest, and plenty more stunning vistas. Definitely recommend going out to Montcalm Point for a swim--though we didn't want to hang around outside of the water, due to biting black flies like you'd get at the beach. All in all, an excellent hike!

5 months ago

The last 5 miles along the lake are beautiful, but seem to take forever!

hiking
6 months ago

I hiked the full loop in 7/19/18. Really beautiful trail with great views all along the way. It’s long and you definitely need some stamina to get through the whole loop but there were only a few real spots where the incline was dauntingly steep. Definitely bring twice as much water as you might think you need. I’d say I’m a moderate level hiker and I had 3 liters and really wish I’d had more than that. I started with the range and ended with the trail along the beach. Definitely going to be sore tomorrow!! Also, four miles in I did encounter one of the timber rattlesnakes on the trail. It rattled and spooked me but then was on its merry way. Definitely be careful and be on the lookout. First Peak had the best views in my opinion, and once you get to Montcalm Point you’ve done your descent and just walk a trail along the beach all the way back to the start. It’s very beautiful but it feels like a long way. Took me around 6 hours but after the rattlesnake encounter I spent the next three miles a little freaked out and going way slower than I normally would.

backpacking
6 months ago

Demanding hike but offer great view.

hiking
6 months ago

We backpacked in Father’s Day weekend early Saturday morning. Gorgeous day it turned out. Temperature around 84 in the area. We started at Clay Meadows Entrance. This hike is a very hard hike due to the numerous elevation change from fifth peak all the away to Montcalm Point. It’s a light traffic trail & it’s not well maintained. A lot of trees down but you can get around it. Keep an eye on the blue markers to guide your way.
Nevertheless it’s a absolute beautiful scenery and well worth hike. We stayed at the Point for the night( not legal by the way). All the stars were out that night with temps at 55 overnight.
The return trail is by the shore on the west side( Northwest Trail). It an easy hike with minimal elevation changes. If you want to get to the point the easiest way. This is it. Overall one of the best hikes I’ve ever been in. Round trip is about 14.8 miles. Happy Trails!

hiking
7 months ago

How far is the hike if you start from the clay meadow trailhead and do the loop across the mountains and then along the bay? I'm planning a daytrip Saturday

hiking
7 months ago

Did the loop on 6/9/2018. Not a bad hike overall and definitely very challenging. I started with the peaks first and finished in the flats along the water. It’s a long trail along the water for sure. There are a few areas where the trail seems to disappear so be mindful and pay attention.

Took me about 6.5 to complete and make sure you bring water! I drank my Nalgene and also my 3 liter reservoir dry and I’m a pretty fit guy.

hiking
8 months ago

One of the more challenging loops in the Lake George area. Strenuous length of 13 miles. I personally chose to take Northwest Bay Trail first to Montcalm point & tackle the peaks in order of First, French Point, Fifth. The paths are lightly trafficked & are hard to follow at points. Trail markers are also faded & sometimes hard to locate. The beautiful views fade as you march towards Fifth peak, so if I were to do it again, I would start with Fifth, going towards French & First, to "chase the views." Might also be nice finishing with flat forest trail at the Northwest Bay. Your choice, enjoy!

11 months ago

My 3rd hike(started this past summer) and 1st winter hike ever. I consider myself fit and fairly healthy. I haven’t done any conditioning in several months though. I decided to take this range on with a group. My legs felt like tree stumps most of the hike, but I made it through the whole range. There were some areas that were difficult but overall, it wasn’t bad.

backpacking
Monday, November 06, 2017

Very challenging but absolutely gorgeous trail. Lots of amazing vistas and camp spots along the way. The actual length of the trail is 16 miles.

backpacking
Monday, October 09, 2017

This hike was pretty brutal. For those doing an overnight with gear I'd suggest getting an early start so you can make it further than 5th Peak on your first day (assuming you opt to do the loop clockwise — and you should definitely do the loop clockwise). The many peaks are very rough on the legs — especially the downhills — and if you leave most of the peaks to the second day like I did they will punish you. As other reviews have mentioned the ~5 mile lakeside portion of the trail is flat and quite easy. I'd also agree with the other reviews that this is probably closer to 15 miles and that it's easy to occasionally lose the trail if you don't keep an eye out for markers.

Despite the difficulty of the hike, the incredible views of Lake George made the strenuousness all worth it! Notable wildlife I saw included a flock of wild turkeys very close to Montcalm Point. The camping sites along the trail are pristine and were utterly empty during my trip. Nothing beats waking up, opening your tent and being greeted by a panoramic of this enormous lake dotted by its many forested islands far below. If you have some friends who are up for the challenge this trail makes for the perfect weekend getaway with beers around the campfire and swimming in the lake.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Exceptional hike.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Trail not well marked

backpacking
Monday, August 28, 2017

Great trail for both the experienced hiker/backpacker seeking a challenge and those looking to get into backpacking. The full loop is definitely for experienced hikers. We staged cars at the Clay Brook and Tongue Mt. Range trailheads and departed clockwise toward Montcalm Point, with goal of reaching 5th Peak shelter that evening. Two very important things to note about this trip if you're planning to backpack: you will need to carry all of your water or a filtration system as there are no reliable sources along the trail until you reach the lake (there are some streams but they were all dry or had brackish/stagnant water), and you will very likely encounter rattlesnakes, so tread cautiously.
This hike features 3 summits that provide breathtaking views of Lake George and the surrounding mountains and terrain varying from leisurely to strenuous. If you're new to backpacking, you can reach the 5th Peak shelter via the Clay Brook trailhead (about 3 miles with 1400' ascent), camp, and pack out the next day. The views from the ridge behind the shelter are incredible at sunset; highly recommend setting up a tent back there. Lovely variety of vegetation and rock formations to enjoy, and trail is very well marked with the exception of the last mile or so back to Clay Brook trailhead.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A beautiful hike overlooking lake George with some challenging climbs. Great spot for a solid day hike

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I was unfortunately unable to finish this hike. Experienced the absolute WORST bugs I have ever encountered hiking....ever. Non stop mosquitoes, nats and horse flies the entire time. It was miserable. So bug spray is a must. And don't attempt it in 100% humidity bc there is zero air flow for a lot of the trek. But at least we got to go swimming.... I'd like to try it again on a much cooler day...

hiking
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Tongue mountain loop is a great trail with plenty of elevation gain, rocky terrain, and views of Lake George, but beware of Timber Rattlesnakes. We started our hike at the Clay Meadow trailhead and continued straight up to 5th peak (about 3 miles). Along the way we saw our first rattler. At the peak the views were not great, but they get better. Just wait. Along the ridge running southwest towards Montcalm Point you will reach two more peaks with stunning panorama views. This is where we saw our second rattlesnake. The trail along the ridge is full of rugged rocky outcrops interspersed with grassy meadows. Once we reached Montcalm point (7.7 miles) it was a relatively easy and flat 4.8 mile trip back to the trailhead along Northwest Bay. Total distance 12.7 miles; moving time 6:05; elevation gain 3,325ft. Distances were recorded on two Garmin Forerunner 235 watches.

hiking
Thursday, August 10, 2017

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Very fun trail for beginners. There are some spots where you have to climb some big rocks but it's nothing too bad. Beautiful views and once you get to fifth peak the hardest part is over, only if you climbed fifth peak first.

hiking
Friday, July 14, 2017

Did the full loop in one day. Absolutely exhausted by the end. Too cloudy to see anything from most of the peaks. Still a fun challenge. The northwest bay trail was very muddy. The rocky sections on the peaks were very slippery.

hiking
Thursday, July 13, 2017

This trail is pretty brutal if you try to do it all in one day but offers amazing views of Lake George for most of the hike. There are very few water sources on the ridge so if backpacking bring enough water to get you through the day. I went through 4 liters doing the whole trail. As others have said the trail is probably closer to 20 miles (what my fitness tracker said) and is not for children or people out of shape. Several descents from peaks are fairly steep so watch your footing and be wary of rattlesnakes. I did see one on the trail close to the entrance. Make sure to step on logs and not over them to avoid getting bit by anything hiding on the other side.

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