Small pond with Crane Mountain in the background

Crane Mountain Trail

Trail Details

Region: Southern Adirondacks
Town: Johnsburg, New York
Unit: Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
Distance: 4.6 miles
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
View the Photo Gallery
Small pond with Crane Mountain in the background


Hikers congregate here to enjoy the views and rest after the steep climb. There are plenty of places to rest, so if a section is occupied by another group, continue along the trail, and you will surely find a spot for yourself!

Trail Overview

Crane Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the Southern Adirondacks: With its spectacular views and beautiful pond, it is easy to see why. The climbing is steep, the descent bone-jarring, and the trail varied. It is a wonderful hike, but don’t expect privacy, as dozens of groups visit the peak each day.

Panoramic view of Southern Adirondack Region
Crane Mountain Panorama


This trail was among the first handful of hikes I went on when researching the book. I visited this spectacular trail in the beginning of summer and the parking area was full of cars and several vans from nearby summer camps. One of these vans arrived while I was packing up my gear and figured I would have to hurry to get enough distance ahead of their group to enjoy a bit of privacy along the trail. Unfortunately the GPS receiver I was using to collect data along the trail was not picking up enough satellites to pin point my location and begin saving the track. The GPS unit was an older model and often lost the signal in dense forest canopy. (Nowadays some GPS units come with high-sensitivity WAAS(Wide Area Augmentation System) technology which helps penetrate dense forest cover and provides more reliable tracking. The difference in places like the Adirondacks is night and day so I highly recommend upgrading if you are still using an older model without WAAS).

Moss covered rocks surrounding a stone cave
Cave beneath trail

Anyways, rather than start before this large group I started about ten minutes later when the GPS finally started tracking. I figured it was a descent enough lead for the group so I head off but soon caught up to the group where the steep climbing began. The ascent is truly steep and the path through boulders and cobbles is narrow so in this circumstance there was alot of waiting as the group ahead finish their small section of climbing so that they could step aside and let me pass. Of course this meant that I would scramble past them quickly only to stop shortly after to catch my breathe and admire the view unfolding behind me. But then I would get hopscotched by members of the same group and start the waiting process all over again.

Eventually I got far enough ahead that we were no longer playing hopscotch and could focus on hiking and recording more information along the trail. However every corner, ladder, look-out and other places of note would have lots of hikers all of whom seemed to be a part of a large group; as opposed to the typical lone hiker or party of two you normally encounter along Adirondack trails. Surprisingly my GPS was getting poor reception atop the cliff as well, so I lingered longer than normal amongst the many groups admiring the view. Despite the crowds, there was no lack of specatular views or places to rest. It wasn’t until I got down to Crane Mountain Pond that the crowds broke up a bit and then only on the return trip were voices and other sounds of hikers far enough away to feel like you were alone. Long story short, if you want privacy go during the off season.

For more information including directions to the trailhead, a trail elevation profile and in depth trail descriptions and detailed directions buy the book! Check out a preview version of the book on Kindle here!
More Trail Info
Photo Gallery
Rocky mountain peak with evergreens
Crane Mountain Photo Gallery
GPS Data

Long Ladder along Trail
UTM Zone(WGS 84): 18T
Easting: 0583824.8
Northing: 4821803.4
Latitude: N 43° 32′ 40.10″
Longitude: W 73° 57′ 44.55″
More GPS Data Coming soon!
Additional Resources
Current Trail conditions for the region on the DEC website. Unit Mangement Plan on the DEC website.