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Pilot Knob Hike: A Gazebo, A Waterfall & Amazing Views of Lake George

The Schumann Preserve at Pilot Knob hike in Fort Ann, NY offers fabulous views of Lake George, as well as an extended waterfall hike. It's one of the most popular family hikes in the Lake George area, and is perfect for hikers of all ages and ability levels.

gazebo overlooking the lake

About the Schumann Preserve at Pilot Knob

The trailhead is located just 10 minutes from Lake George Village, and close to Queensbury and Glens Falls. Your hike begins on the Orange Trail (.7-mile), which is described as moderate with some steep, rocky sections that aren't too difficult for kids.

To get to the top takes about 20 minutes for the average hiker and 30 minutes for a family, and you'll be able to relax at a gazebo overlooking Lake George. At the gazebo there is a wide open field, which is ideal for tossing a frisbee, or playing tag or hide-and-seek.

From here, you can continue along the easy/moderate Blue Trail that leads to a waterfall, which typically flows in early spring or after periods of rain. The waterfall is 1 mile from the gazebo and should take about 30 minutes to get there.

Directions to the Pilot Knob Hiking Trail

Recommended Route: From I-87, you can take Exit 20 (where the outlet malls are) to Route 149. Continue on Route 149 north until you reach its intersection with Ridge Road or 9L (there is a Walgreens at this intersection). At the light, turn right on to Ridge Road (9L North).

Follow 9L all the way around the lake for 7 miles: you'll pass the Harris Bay Yacht Club and the Cleverdale Country Store (which is a great place to stop and pick up your picnic lunch). After you pass these locations, you are very close.

Prepare to take a left on to Pilot Knob Road. Continue for .7-mile to the parking lot on the right.

Views From the Point Knob Hike

view of pilot knob gazebo
Photo by Luke Dow Photography

pilot knob preserve sign

pilot knob hike registration point

pilot knob trail

view of pilot knob gazebo

pilot knob gazebo

view from pilot knob gazebo

view from pilot knob

view from pilot knob

pilot knob trail
After you reach the overlook, follow the blue markers to continue on to the waterfall.

pilot knob trail
The hike to the falls is mostly flat.

pilot knob falls
The falls makes a great photo opportunity!

Tips for Hiking Pilot Knob with the Family

a family smiling for a photo after hiking

A staff member first did this hike for her 7 year old's birthday party and all 9 young hikers loved the excursion. It took the group about 40 minutes to reach the gazebo. These are Sara's first-person notes from the hike:

"After making it to the overlook, we decided that everyone had the extra energy to extend the hike to the waterfall. To do so, take a slightly downhill path and follow the blue trail markers. Once we arrived, we climbed up the rocks, which pleased the kids and made for great family photos! Every few feet that we climbed offered a more beautiful view of the waterfall. It was a new experience of being splashed, while balancing a camera, climbing slippery rocks, and helping children balance. The hike to the waterfall took about another 25 minutes.

CAUTION: We made the mistake of taking the wrong path. We crossed over the waterfall and instead of taking the trail to the top of the falls as we should have, we followed the logging road. We traveled down for 15 minutes before we realized we didn't see any trail markers and that this was not the trail back but rather just a logging road. This extra 20 minute jaunt was enough to push the kids over the edge. Once we made our way back to the waterfall, we followed the blue trail markers up the slightly inclining path and back to the overlook where we stopped, rested, and had another snack before heading back to the road."

Check out details about Pilot Knob from the Lake George Land Conservancy:

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