Tongue Mountain offers a spectacular, close-up, vertical 1,000-foot peek into one of the clearest, most beautiful lakes in the world.
The colors of the water change from tan, to light blue, and to violet as the bottom drops off and the depth increases. You can see fish in the water, and hear conversations that drift up from the paddlers below.
Tongue “Mountain” is actually a series of connected peaks running nine miles along the spine of a peninsula that juts southward into the lake, with Northwest Bay on the west side, and the island-dotted Narrows on the east. Most of the mountain is a challenging hike.
There are three approaches to Tongue Mountain:
- The Clay Meadows parking lot, beside a small quarry pool, is the first one that you encounter. From the trailhead, you can either walk along the shore to the trail’s south end at Montcalm Point, or hike straight up to the center of the mountain’s spine. From that trail junction, you can head north to the Deer Leap vista, or south (where the spectacular views of the islands in the narrows are visible from French Point and First Peaks) toward Montcalm Point.
- The Deer Leap lot is approximately five and one-half miles north of Clay Meadow. A short walk from the trailhead offers two options: Turn left (north) and follow a relatively easy trail to a beautiful view of the east side of Lake George at Deer Leap. [This is a family-friendly hike.] Turn left (south) to travel the spine, passing Brown and Five Mile Peaks, and continue past the central trail junction toward Montcalm Point. [This is a challenging hike.] A two-car party can hike from the Deer Leap lot to First or French Point peaks (best views), and return by the central trail (easier downhill walk) to the Clay Meadow lot. Start early in the morning! A bonus awaits when you drive three miles past the Deer Leap lot: A pull-off to your right offers a stunning view of the lake below, and of spectacular Bloomer Mountain above. The charming Union Chapel lies a short distance to the north.
- The mountain is accessible by boat at Montcalm and Five Mile Points.
It is free to hike and there are lean-to’s for overnight camping at Fifth Peak and Brown Mountain. Remember no fires!
CAUTION: There are rattlesnakes here. These snakes are un-aggressive, and generally pose no threat. Keep your eyes open, and remain alert. Walk carefully, especially when climbing over logs. (A walking stick would be helpful.)
GETTING THERE FROM LAKE GEORGE
Turn right on Route 9N at the northern end of the Village. Follow it through Bolton Landing. The Clay Meadow trailhead is nine and one-half miles from the north end of Bolton Landing. As you approach, you will see the mountain looming on the right.