In the Adirondacks, an area that usually attracts hikers gunning for the High Peaks, the Tongue Range attracts plenty of attention by offering a fun hike with tons of great views and several camping options for backpackers looking to make a weekend out of this loop. If this one is not already on your list, add it now!
The hike starts out easy from New York route 9N, but it quickly starts to ascend through an open forest. Take your time because, while this loop never has a long sustained ascent and barely reaches 2,200 feet, there are lots of ups and downs that add up to total elevation gain of over 4,000 feet.
After 2.2 miles the trail reaches a ridge at an intersection. At this point there is an option to head north to tag Fivemile Mountain, the highest point of the ridge at 2,256 feet. The mountain offers nice views and is worth the roughly 2.5-mile out-and-back detour.
From the summit, retrace your steps and simply follow the ridge trail south. It is a succession of rocky caps and outcrops that stick out in an open forest. There is a lean-to with a fire pit (free; first-come, first-served) at 1,813-foot Fifth Peak, the first peak after the intersection. At 1,756 feet, French Point Mountain has a nice flat grassy area to pitch a tent, and so do a few other bumps along the ridge.
From the intersection to Fivemile Mountain, the ridge runs south for about 5 miles. After that, the gradual descent leads to Montcalm Point, accessed by a 0.2-mile trail, which has a lean-to (free; first-come, first-served) and a fantastic view over Lake George. If the weather is warm enough, a dip is definitely recommended.
From Montcalm Point, it's another 5 miles to return to the trailhead, most of which are spent hiking along the lake.
This range is the proof that the Adirondacks have more to offer in terms of hiking than just high peaks and fire towers. Whether you're in for a day hike with views or a relaxing backpack, this is a place to add on your list. Plan your visit accordingly, however, as this trail is no longer a secret and sees heavy traffic in the warmer months.