Family Fun: Lake Placid's Brewster Peninsula Trails for Year-Round Activity

Brewster PeninsulaOne of the reasons my husband and I enjoy the lifestyle in this area is the abundance of green space. I know it may sound trite with the whole "forever wild" situation. I am sure we are not the only ones who take this accessible yet untouched wilderness for granted. We complain about the mud, the bugs, the ice and the snow. We complain about the snow (I realize I just mentioned it but feel it needed more emphasis.) We watch the ice come in and the ice go out. We also get to hike trails and paths, smell spring and see the change of season in a slow and magical way. Spring doesn't jump out at us here but is a slow transition that allows us to shake off our own hibernation and stretch our limbs in a different way.

Brewster Peninsula main road

We have just finished grocery shopping, a task I fear I am no longer able to do alone with my children. Not because they are uncontrollable but because I have ceased caring that they wrestle in the aisle. I keep telling them if we just make it through one more aisle without knocking anything down, we can go for a nice walk on the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails.

The Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails are situated on a parcel of 133 acres of land purchased by New York State in 1960. Our arrival is uneventful. The whole family starts by following the red markers for the Boundary Trail. After a few steps our trail joins the Jackrabbit Trail until both paths divide at the Shore Owner's Association (SOA) Dam. We do not continue on the Jack Rabbit but keep Lake Placid to our left. My husband is maneuvering around natural obstacles with our daughter while I try to keep up with our son.

Brewster Peninsula Trees DownTrees are down everywhere, mostly likely thanks to Tropical Storm Irene. The trails have been worked on diligently to make sure the paths are clear for families such as ours. Branches have been cut and logs line the path edges. Some tree trunks overhang the trails but are not a hindrance. There is one point, near the Jack Rabbit Trail that we can see the domino effect of trees falling during that storm.

Our son needs no invitation to race. He proclaims us the blue team because we will continue to follow the Lakeshore Trail while the red team (husband and daughter) will complete the Boundary Trail. Whoever gets to the junction first wins. It looks like a nature lesson is on the back burner. He is off to a flying start while I protect myself from whipping branches, tangled roots, and mud.

We do not win. Much to my son's frustration I stop to read the interpretive panels placed along the path. I don't want to miss anything more in life by just racing by.

Brewster peninsula interpretive sign

From Saranac Ave (Route 86) in Lake Placid, turn onto Peninsula Way, between Howard Johnson's Restaurant and the Comfort Inn. Follow signs for Brewster Peninsula. Trail maps are available at the trailhead. 

all photos and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time™. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time™ guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.

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