McCauley Mountain Hike

During the winter months, McCauley is the center of the Old Forge community. The mountain is always busy with after school programs, live music and a variety of food specials in the lodge. It was a much different case a few weekends ago when Farah and I decided to hike the mountain.

McCauley liftline

Overgrown grass and a lack of cars in the parking lot may convince the unknowing that the resort is abandoned. Upon closer inspection though you’ll see the well-maintained and used mountain bike trails. The light construction at the base area is also a tip off that the biggest little mountain isn’t dead, just hibernating until winter.

Farah and I pulled into the empty parking lot a little after 6pm on a hot and muggy summer day. After spending the day on the Fulton Chain of lakes, we wanted to finish our day with a hike. We’ve done all the mountains around the Old Forge area and wanted to try something fresh.

McCauley summit view

Neither of us have hiked a ski resort in the summer so we thought it might be cool to check out one of our favorite slopes. Technically we hiked the Maple Ridge trail which starts in town, but we took a shortcut and started at the Lodge. We parked at the starting point for the mountain bike trails, and there were a bunch of obstacles for the bikers to play around. The set up looked fun, I started thinking about pulling my bike out of the basement while we began our hike.

We started our hike walking past the lodge and under the beautiful Hall Double. From there we were supposed to take the green trail Challenger, but I accidentally took the utility trail further left. About half way up I realized my mistake but we knew the trail would connect back so we continued on. The hike was moderate but the flies were challenging. We fought our way through and got back on the main trail to the opening which was bug free.

Fulton Chain of Lakes

We approached the headwall of God’s Land, and went across the Challenger cat track. The mountain had laid out Adirondack chairs across the peak under the double. We posted up in the chairs and soaked it all in. The view was phenomenal and I never realized there was a lake right behind the lodge. I think of all the views near around Old Forge this may be the best.

After a while we headed to the viewing platform and played around with the binoculars. We watched boats lazily cross the lakes as the sun began to set. Content with our hike and tired of fighting off the bugs, we started to make our way down. We never saw another person on the hike and the quietness of the mountain was surreal. Hiking up McCaulay in the summer gave me an appreciation for the slopes we ski in the winter. A green is a lot steeper than you think it is, when you’re hiking up!

6 comments on “McCauley Mountain Hike

  1. The parking lot next to the lift is usually busy, but not at 6:00. Scenic chair rides end around 4:00 each day. Also Mtn bike trails are very popular. Rode last Friday afternoon and then again early Sunday morning. Both times encountered groups of riders on the incredible (and growing) MTB trail network.

    Also noted on Sunday that there were some tractors out cutting the grass on the slopes. Rest assured that McCauley is a vital part of the town in the summer. You just caught a quiet moment.

  2. Looks beautiful, important to support the ski areas year-round – most have special events and music.

  3. McCauley is fantastic. A local operation owned and operated by locals. Wonderful skiing, great Jr Race program. A jewel for the community and a model for what can be achieved! REOPEN TOGG!

  4. Those are some great pics, Robert. Looks like a fun time. I agree that ski trails feel steeper with no snow on them. Descending the last bit of Freefall or Blockbuster at the Plattekill glade day is always brutal.

  5. It’s always great to be on a mountain with views!
    You can hike the trails at Gore for free, also. Stay off the ski trails and do the hiking/MTB routes. I wrote in here about Twister Cliffs/Trillium Trek a while back, taking the gondi up and trekking down. And don’t forget the Schaefer Trail to Gore summit from the Ski Bowl, 11 mi. RT.

  6. I wish the General manager would accept Stuart Winchester’s invitation for the Storm Skiing Journal Podcast interview. Would love to learn more about this resort in which I’ve skied twice.

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