Sleeping Beauty Mountain, Fishbrook Pond, and Bumps Pond
Near Lake George, NY
(directions at bottom)
I have hiked Sleeping Beauty many times. The photos are marked “08”, but I have been back several times, and the scenery hasn’t changed much. The hike is a favorite: It can be short and sweet, or long and wonderful, ranging from two miles to 9 miles, depending on how ambitious you feel. If you go, the ponds add to the distance, but honestly, they are what make the trip beautiful and should not be missed.
You will see directions at the bottom. The parking lot is miles down Buttermilk Rd. BUT, that is NOT the closest you can get. If you park there, the trail head is about a mile and a half down a dirt road (that passes past a real cool old frame of a torn down stone house). After this mile and a half, you WILL find the trail head…..and another parking lot.
In short, you can also drive that dirt road. BE CAREFUL OF MUD. Don’t get stuck. Though the road is actually usually pretty well taken care of. It’s just dirt. But driving it will save you a mile and a half walk to the real trail head.
You will start the hike and about a half mile in, you’ll come to a fork. The trail to the right turns to the summit. The trail to the left goes to the ponds. BUT
The trail actually makes a huge loop. Go to the ponds, you’ll see the intersection for the summit. Go to the summit, keep going and you’ll come to the same trail that takes you to the ponds.
If you go to the right, and continue, the directions get tricky. You’ll come to a horse bridge down below. Make a left, and that’s the way out. But the beautiful pond is to the right. So you need to make a RIGHT to see the pretty pond, then backtrack, or you’ll lose out.
This is where a gps comes in handy. Yes, can be confusing.
You can hike to the summit. You can hike to Fishbrook Pond. You can do the summit and then Bumps Pond and Fishbrook. And so it goes. You have options.
Fishbrook Pond is one of the most beautiful, natural, unspoiled ponds I have ever seen.
As a hike to the summit, it is about 2 miles from the second trail head (see the directions below for a way to save yourself a mile and a half). It’s moderately difficult, with switchbacks and rocks. Do not be fooled by the name Sleeping Beauty, because this is challenging. But, the views are phenomenal, some of the best I have ever seen. In terms of a two mile hike of “moderate” difficulty, quite frankly, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Put another way, a lot of view for the calories burned! No, it is not overly strenuous at all. If you don’t feel like doing a High peak, settle with Sleeping Beauty and you’ll feel satisfied with your accomplishment.
Bumps Pond and Fishbrook Pond. These are magnificent treasures in the heart of the mountains, unspoiled by litter and noise. If you ever dreamed about finding a small lake in the middle of the country, this is your bet.
When you enter the trail head, you walk about half a mile and you hit a fork in the road. Bumps Pond is a mile to the left, and Fishbrook Pond is another mile past that.
But it loops around, because you can reach the summit this way. Or, you can hike the summit and loop around to the ponds. Or skip the ponds altogether.
But if you skip the ponds, I think you’re missing the real beauty of this hike.
Summit: 2 miles round trip.
Both ponds: 2 miles round trip.
About 8 miles altogether.
How to Get There
Take Northway (I-87) to exit 20. Turn left onto NY Rte 9. Turn right onto NY Rte 149 (east). After about 6 miles, turn left onto Buttermilk Falls Rd. Becomes Sly Pond Rd. Bear left on Shelving Rock Rd. Keep going.
From the time you turn on Buttermilk, it’s paved, then unpaved. You feel like you’re on the road forever, and are about to turn around. Give yourself 12 or so miles to the trail head.
BUT-that too, is tricky. Because you will see the trail head, and walk. You will walk down a path that looks like a road for 1.5 miles, and actually hit a second trail head. A few years back, you need 4 wheel drive to navigate this road. You can do it in a car now, as conditions have improved. Just be careful, because it is only one lane.