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Hiking in Adirondack Park
Poke-O-Moonshine is 3 miles from Exit 33 off I-87. A new trail that was opened in 2008 offers an easier route and a way that everyone can enjoy the spectacular views that can be seen from the top. Poke-O-Moonshine is referred to as the gateway to the Adirondacks, as it is the first major mountain formation and provides a welcoming entrance to the rest of the 6-million-acre park for those driving south along the Northway (I-87).
Poke is a popular draw for rock climbers who navigate its treacherous cliffs and make their own route. Before, hikers only had one option, a strenuous uphill trail that rises 1,280 feet in 1.2 miles. Immediately after the sign-in register, the trail abruptly turns steep and hikers have few opportunities for a break until near the top of the mountain.
A land acquisition by the Adirondack Land Trust has changed that by turning 200 acres that were once privately owned into a public hiking path. The route follows an old logging road that climbs the same height over twice the distance, making it much more of a manageable hike.
A fire tower marks the final destination with a 360-degree panorama from the top offering breathtaking views. To the east, Lake Champlain can be seen with the Green Mountains off in the distance. To the north is Lyon Mountain. To the south is Deerfield Mountain with the Jay range behind it. Hurricane, Giant and Gothics can also be seen. To the west is Whiteface. The views are magnificent and truly rewarding for such little effort.
The new trail is easy to navigate without large rocks or ruts, and there are a variety of things to see that are not offered on the old trail. There are two separate ponds along the trail built by beavers. There are also massive rock ledges that are reminiscent of something you'd see on the old trail, without all the work. The new trail is a mile south of the old trail. The entrance sits at the edge of the yard of a quaint farmhouse.
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