More than 20 miles of trails are available in Chester, Northern Warren County, as part of the newly inaugurated Chester Challenge.
The Chester Challenge is comprised of 11 newly designated trails that vary from moderate climbs to level terrain. Hikers that visit at least six of the trails can receive a Chester Challenge pin and bragging rights. Although not nearly as rigorous as Adirondack hiking challenges such as the Saranac 6 or the Cranberry 50, the Almanack has learned that some hikers have made the effort more difficult by completing all the hikes in a single day.
Among the new trails are routes up three peaks around Loon Lake, just south of Schroon Lake. They offer a series of views that take in Crane, Gore, Moxham, Panther and Kipp Mountains, and to the north Schroon Lake, Hoffman Mountain and a view of the High Peaks.
The trails designated as part of the Chester Challenge include:
Meade Mountain and Beckman Mountain Trail (2.1 miles) – features one of the best views of Gore Mountain available, Loon Lake, Schroon Lake, Hoffman Mountain and the High Peaks. This trail is currently closed for hunting season and will reopen in the spring.
Kipp Mountain Trail (1.9 miles) – winds through a tree farm to a cliff with views of Loon Lake. This trail is currently closed for hunting season and will reopen Kipp Mountain trail will reopen on December 14th.
Stewart Mountain (.6 miles) – a short hike to an overlook with views of Loon Lake, Gore and Crane Mountains and southeast toward Lake George.
Chester Creek Trails (1.2 to 1.9 miles) – an easy walk along Chester Creek behind the Chester Town Hall, this trail also connects with the snowmobile trail between the Conservation Club and Green Mansions Golf Course.
Dynamite Hill and Caroline M. Fish Memorial Trails (2.6 miles) – this is a trail network connecting Landon Hill Road with the town recreation center at Dynamite Hill; it also include cross-country ski trails and some single track mountain biking routes.
Palmer Pond Trail (1.5 miles) – the Palmer Pond Trail follows an old road to Palmer Pond and its associated spur trails, all located on NYS Forest Preserve land.
Cougar Nature Trails (.9 to 4.5 miles) – this trail system is centered on North Warren School near the hamlet of Chestertown and climbs Cougar Hill, east of Panther Mountain.
Catamount Mountain (1.8 to 6.4 miles) – this trail provides excellent views of the High Peaks. The trail is only accessible with a paid guide from Stone Bridge and Caves in summer; in winter it’s a self-guided snowshoe. An entrance fee, payable at Snow Bridge and Caves, is required. Call (518) 494- 2283 for hours and pricing.
The Chester Challenge trails were developed as part of a partnership between the town and the Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work & Play program of Glens Falls Hospital to promote physical activity and wellness in the community. The state-funded program commissioned a Healthy Community Mapping Project that helped identify new areas for public recreation in the town, and town officials worked with local landowners to obtain access to the trail properties.
Hikers who have completed the Chester Challenge can visit the Chester Town Hall or North Warren Chamber of Commerce in Chestertown to pick up a pin.
An informational brochure and map of the trails can be found here (pdf).
The hero of this effort is Dan Smith, who proposed it during a recreational planning exercise just last year and has worked diligently on the ground. A hero is always critical for something like this.
It’s become popular very quickly. I’ve been taking care of the informal Stewart Mountain trail for many years (the name comes from my wife’s family name; we live nearby.) The path is now well-beaten, in a good way. The users are very well-behaved, which is important since most of these trails are courtesy of private land owners.
Why does it have to be a “challenge”? That draws idiots like the Phelps kegger. Why can’t it just be “hey we opened some new trails …come enjoy them.”
There always has to be that one negative person!
This is awesome! My boys will love this!
The Stewart Mt hike offers an exceptionally good view for such a short easy hike. See photo on my website: http://www.iDornbusch.com
Are the Meade Mt, Bechman Mt and Kipp Mt. trails currently closed for hunting season? We’re planning our challenge route! Thanks and have a great day.
No, they are currently open.