Most people around here are familiar with Moreau Lake State Park, a gem of a park right in our backyard.
Many don't know that the park is not only the lake and surrounding woods, but also hundreds of acres along and across the Hudson River in Lake Luzerne and Queensbury.
The park's hiking trail system is renowned among local hikers, with a good mix of easy and moderate walks and climbs. But there is also a growing trail network that is part of the park in Lake Luzerne, on the north side of the river.
I had a few hours over Labor Day weekend and wanted to get in the woods for a couple of hours without a long drive, and decided to check out the park's newer trails, the Stonewall trail. It is accessible at the end of Hawk Road in Lake Luzerne, and is a nice, easy walk in the woods.
There are a few ups and downs, but no rock scrambles, going down to a nice spot on the Hudson River. It is fairly well marked, but the light blue trail markers can be tough to spot in heavily shaded spots, and there are some twists and turns and areas where blowdown hasn't been cleared.
Since it is a new trail, there isn't much of a travelled herd path to follow, and blowdown that has rerouted it in places makes it a trail where you have to pay attention. As its name indicates, it follows an old stonewall for much of its 3.2 miles.
There is a lot of nature to be seen. Newts and toads were everywhere, a doe and a fawn ran down the trail ahead of me and there were numerous piles of bear scat on the trail as well.
The toughest part of the hike was the drive in on a heavily rutted, washed out access road to the parking area, which could be problematic for vehicles without decent clearance.
The park website lists the loop as 3.2 miles, but my GPS app logged 3.6 miles on my hike. I went down a spur along the river a bit. There was a clearing where you can get in the water if you want, and the trail intersects with an existing unmarked trail along the river as well.
I saw no one else during my hike, and there was one other vehicle in the lot when I completed the loop. This is a nice spot to get some alone time, though with fall coming be aware that it is part of Moreau Lake State Park where hunting is allowed, so you may be sharing the woods with hunters the next few months.
-- Don Lehman