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Garnet Lake, New York, United States

Crane Mountain

A beautiful loop hike up Crane Mountain complete with suspended ladders up cliffs and a descent past a mountain pond.

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 (5 votes, 5 reviews)
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4.0 miles / 6.4 km
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: This loop trail takes you up the steep route up to the top of Crane Mountain's exposed summit. This route even climbs a tall ladder suspsended to a rock cliff so get ready to climb a bit! Once on top you'll have great views from multiple ledges and then descend around a beautiful mountain pond of the same name with an option to climb some rock ledges for alternative views. From the pond you'll descend gradually in a loop trail back to your vehicle.

Tips: Crane Mountain Trailhead:
From Johnsburg, NY and Rte. 8 turn south onto South Johnsburgh Road. Follow this until you come to the small town of Thurman where you will take a right onto Garnet Lake Road. Travel 1.4 miles down this road until you see a DEC sign pointing towards Crane Mountain. The road turns to dirt as you follow this sign for another 2 miles. At this point you will see a small dirt road on the right which can be rough. You can park here or walk the half mile to the true trailhead. It is free to park here.

Points of Interest


Crane Mountain Trailhead

Start off on the shorter trail to the summit starting to the right. This trail is the steeper way up the mountain but is the best way to go for your knees as the descent past the pond is more gradual. It is free to park here.

Crane Mountain Summit

At 3,254 you are now at the summit of Crane Mountain. From the rock ledges at the top you will have amazing views. Check out the pond you are about to descend to. Did you make it up that suspended ladder to the top? From the smmit follow the trail that heads down towards Crane Mountain Pond to the north to do a different, more gradual, loop back to the parking lot.

Pond Viewpoint

While you are skirting around the pond to the north you can take the time to scramble up the rocks here to check out a different view over Crane Mountain Pond.

Crane Mountain Pond

Views over Crane Mountain Pond.

Last Junction

At this junction you will want to head left back towards the Crane Mountain Trailhead.
Pictures in this guide taken by: JonathanEllinger

Jonathan Ellinger
I don't know who said this was an easy climb because it's not. Had a great time hiking this one. I would rank it as one of the best hikes I've done. The ladders are a nice feature. It was steep in areas with some rocky climbs but was awesome. Be prepared to get your work out on the way down around the pond but that's why you hike and earn your views on top. Happy hiking.
Visited on Nov 01, 2015

by bushman30 on Nov 02, 2015
This has to be one of our favorite hikes! I wouldn't call it easy by any means but the hike is well worth the views. Fell in love with this mountain. Can't wait to revisit and camp out so that we can truly explore. Highly recommend!!!
Visited on Jun 15, 2014

by cschuessler on Aug 04, 2014
Easy? NO ! Knees killer? YES!!! I would rate this trail strenuous as much of the trail is very steep, very sleepy and very rocky. But we had a lot of fun!
Visited on Jun 14, 2014

by sarahlambart on Jun 15, 2014
This was a great hike! I don't know that I'd have rated it "easy", but I'm a pretty casual hiker. I suppose for people used to climbing mountains regularly this would be easy. I'd call it moderate, as it's pretty steep going up to the summit, and the way back down is just as steep (after you get past the lake). I did the entire loop (to the summit, then back down by the lake) in about 3.5 hours (with a stop for lunch at the top) and I was pretty worn out, but I made it. Lots of rocks to climb over and around, which was fun. And the ladder was a neat feature too. I lost the trail a bit on the way down (after leaving the lake and getting into the rock field), but found it again by just continuing to go down. For the most part the trail markers are easy enough to find, even if they are sometimes widespread. Lots of people on the trail on a Sunday, which I suppose can be a good thing (if you're worried about getting lost) or a bad thing (if you're looking for solitude). Just something to keep in mind.
Visited on Sep 15, 2013

by Labuchli on Oct 07, 2013
We were looking for an Easy climb to celebrate Father's day and based upon the reviews and proximity, we choose Crane Mountain. Not sure what classifies as easy or hard but this one was not "easy". There were lots of areas on the trail to the summit that were quite steep and footing was rocky and hard to find at times. Not sure I would label it dog friendly as there are two sections that require ladders, but I suppose a dog could navigate those areas much easier than a human.

The trail at the summit to go to Pond was not clear, so we had to back track some but other than that, I did enjoy the hike, it just shouldn't be rated as easy.

Visited on Jun 16, 2013

by ace12801 on Jun 17, 2013

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About the Author

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Although I have climbed over 250 mountains from various places around the U.S. and have hiked in Europe...

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