Since 2015, the Department of Environmental Conservation has been making its accessible drive to the summit of Lake George’s Prospect Mountain free for everyone for a short period in the fall in honor of veterans.
As far as I’m aware, Prospect Mountain is one of only three summits in the Adirondacks that are publicly accessible by motor vehicle. The other two are Whiteface Memorial Highway in Wilmington and Ticonderoga’s Mount Defiance.
Prospect Mountain has a long history of people building on it to access its 360º view. The stories range from its first log cabin structures to the elaborate Prospect Mountain Hotel. Two fires, financial struggles, and numerous owners brought ownership of Prospect Mountain to New York State in 1923. In 1969 the Memorial Highway opened in honor of American Veterans.
The 5.5-mile highway has three scenic observation pullovers on the way up to the main parking area. It’s still a 10-minute walk from the parking lot to the summit (or you can take the available shuttle). At the top, a beautiful view of Lake George is to the east with Vermont visible in the distance. The Adirondack High Peaks are off toward the northwest.
Prospect Mountain will be free the first two weekends in November as well as Veterans Day. November 11 is the last day that the mountain is open for the driving public until next season. Hikers can access the foot trail from the village of Lake George year-round. The 1.5-mile hiking trail follows the old incline railway route used by guests in the nineteenth century. The regular cost to drive to the Prospect Mountain summit is $10/car, $5/motorcycle, and $50/commercial bus.
Photo of the summit of Prospect Mountain is used with the permission of Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTime.com