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Pilot Knob Preserve Hike: A Gazebo, A Waterfall & Amazing Views

The Pilot Knob Preserve 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. It's just 10 minutes from Lake George Village, and close to Queensbury and Glens Falls. The hike ends at a gazebo that overlooks the lake!

man at summit looking out at sunset

To get to the top takes about 20 minutes for the average hiker and 30 minutes for a family. At the gazebo, there is a wide open field, which is ideal for tossing a frisbee, or playing tag or hide-and-seek.

Directions To the Pilot Knob Preserve Trail

Map of Pilot Knob Trails

Fastest Route: From I-87, you can take Exit 20 (where the outlet malls are) to Route 149. Continue on 149 until you reach its intersection with Ridge Road or 9L (there is a Stewart's at this intersection). At the light, take a left on to Ridge Road (9L North). On 9L, travel 4.7 miles and take a right on Pilot Knob Road. Continue .7 miles to the parking lot on the right.

Scenic Route through Lake George Village: If starting from the Village, take Beach Road (where the steamboats are) to the end of the road. Take a left onto 9L. Follow 9L all the way around the lake for 6.3 miles: you'll pass the Harris Bay Yacht Club, the Dunham's Bay Lodge, 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. The next left is Pilot Knob Road. Take that left and go .7 miles to the parking lot on the right.

Views From the Point Knob Preserve 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!

Hiking Pilot Knob Reserve with a Family

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.

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