Adirondack Wildflowers:  Spotted Knapweed on the Esker Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (21 August 2013)

Backcounty Hiking Trails in the Adirondacks:
Esker Trail

Logged area on the Esker Trail (21 August 2013) Adirondack Wildflowers: Spotted Knapweed on the Esker Trail (21 August 2013) Logged area on the Esker Trail (21 August 2013) Maple leaves on the Esker Trail (21 August 2013) Gravel logging road leading to Log Landing (21 August 2013) Esker Trail in winter.  Photo by Sandra Hildreth.  Used by permission.
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The Esker Trail is a 1.5 mile loop accessed from the Logger’s Loop Trail.  The trail is quite rough, involving some steep sections, so hiking boots are recommended.  Both hikers and skiers are advised to take a clockwise route.  The trail is in the process (fall 2013) of being cut and worked (to distinguish it from skid trails); and new markers will be installed to help hikers keep to the path.  Because the trail traverses recently-logged terrain, those sections are not particularly attractive during the summer months. However, the trail will improve as the vegetation grows in.

For hikers walking in a clockwise direction, the Esker Trail can be accessed from the Logger’s Loop Trail not far from the intersection of the Logger’s Loop Trail, Woods and Waters Trail, and Skidder Trail.  This short stretch of the trail is a wide, gravel logging road through primarily deciduous forest, including some lovely white birch trees.  The open areas support a number of sun-loving wildflowers, including Spotted Knapweed (a nonnative invasive species) and wild asters.  The road continues to a wide gravel clearing – Log Landing.  Look for a light green trail sign on the opposite side of Log Landing.

The trail quickly deteriorates into a very rough track through a series of intersecting strips of logged-over deciduous forest.   At this point, hikers are advised to hike from marker to marker, although the markers may be difficult to see.  The trail leads upward through a series of switchbacks. At the northern-most section of the trail, where the trail descends down the slope of the esker, look for a tree marker in the shadows on your right, marking the point where the trail turns sharply to the right and descends again to the Logger’s Loop Trail

In the winter, this trail becomes a classic ski trail, best skied clockwise to navigate the steep terrain. The trail is quite appealing in the winter months, when the open areas provide lovely views of snow-covered mountains.  Follow the light green trail markers. 

 

 

Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.