A short drive north on the Northway, there’s a lake with a great beach and beautiful, woodsy views.
If you get to Lake George, you’ve gone too far.
Don’t get me wrong, Lake George is lovely, but there’s a closer-to-the-Capital Region destination you should put on your Summer 2015 bucket list: Moreau Lake State Park.
Just off of Northway exit 17S, the 4,800-acre park is great not only because of the lake. It also has more than 27 miles of hiking trails — some of them quite challenging. Paths wind through pine and hardwood forest, some up to rocky ridges. Hikers are rewarded with gorgeous views of the Hudson River and Moreau Lake.
“You can see all the way to Vermont on a clear day,” noted park manager Peter Iskenderian.
Moreau Lake State Park
The see what’s happening at the park, visit nysparks.com/parks/150/details.aspx.
For camping reservations, call 1-800-456-CAMP or visit www.nysparks.com.
Debuting last year is the .95-mile Stonewall Trail on the north side of the Hudson River, which offers hikers a chance to check out stone walls from an old settlement.
Back at the lake: There’s a large sandy beach, three swimming areas and a picnic spot with grills. A nearby nature center hosts environmental programs. There’s also a concession stand and a bath house with hot showers.
When you sit on the beach and gaze out at the lake, the majority of the view is tree-lined shore. Kayaks, canoes and lily pads float here and there. No motorboats jar the surface. On a recent Wednesday afternoon, the loudest noise was the call of “Marco!” and “Polo!” from happy swimmers.
The park offers kayak, paddleboard and rowboat
rentals Memorial Day through Labor Day. If you have your own boat, you can purchase a permit so you can keep it at the park.
You could never take advantage of all Moreau Lake State Park has to offer in one day, but that’s OK. You can stay longer. The park has 148 wooded campsites. Accessible ones, available for campers with disabilities, also support electrical equipment, for those with a legitimate medical need.
For those who aren’t keen on tenting, one cabin and two cottages are available for rent. The cottages are as close as you’ll get to a hotel in the park.
They come stocked with sheets, towels, cookware and firewood. You have to plan ahead to secure one, though. Renters book them nine months in advance, Iskenderian said.
There are still campsites available for this season, mainly on weekdays, he noted.
The park is open 8 a.m. until sunset for day trips, and charges $8 per vehicle. It’s free for people 62 and older, Monday through Friday, except on holidays.
If you don’t get the chance to check out the park this summer, don’t worry, it’s open year-round. The hiking trails are gorgeous in autumn. Cross-country skiing, ice fishing and snow shoeing are popular cold weather pursuits, and for those without equipment, the park offers snowshoe rentals.
Here’s a link to all the stories we’ve written about fun things to do this summer. And share your ideas for Summer Days at www.dailygazette.com/summerdays or at [email protected]
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