The Gull Bay Preserve is a 457 acre preserve located in the town of Putnam, NY and is maintained by the Lake George Land Conservancy. The preserve has actually recently been combined with The Last Great Shoreline Preserve (coming up in a future post) and together the two are now called the Sucker Brook Preserve. Gull Bay serves as the southern entrance to the full preserve, and the two are connected by a network of trails that run throughout.
I am hiking this trail to benefit the Lake George Land Conservancy, and to bring awareness to outdoor organizations who focus on conservation and preserving outdoor spaces for public access. Please consider helping me to fundraise for this awesome organization by visiting my Instagram profile to view the fundraiser information: https://www.instagram.com/kb.hikes/
About The Location
Putnam, NY is located near Lake George, a highly preserved lake in the Adirondack Mountains, offering a myriad of outdoor recreation opportunities. The Lake George area is home to many hiking trails for a variety of ages and ability levels. This area is one of my favorite places to hike because it offers the beauty of the Adirondack Mountains while using trails that don’t completely exhaust me by the end of the day.
I used the trailhead parking on Sagamore Road. This trailhead has room for approximately 15 cars, it’s fairly large and open. You can find directions to this trailhead here: Google Maps This trailhead is considered the southern entrance to Sucker Brook Preserve and allows easy access to the highlights of the original Gull Bay Preserve, including the overlook point that looks out over Lake George – a great picnic spot!
About The Trail
The Gull Bay section of Sucker Brook Preserve has quite a few different features to explore. From the parking area, I took the blue trail to the point overlooking Lake George. It was a fairly short hike through the forest with a slight incline to this viewpoint, maybe about .3 miles total.
The first viewpoint had a picnic table up there with a fairly large rock outcropping. It would be the perfect place to have a picnic and I did stop for about 15 minutes to eat a snack and take in the view even though it was early in the hike. The next time I do this loop, I may do it clockwise instead so that I can have this view last. It was really nice.
I continued along the loop counter clockwise and picked up the orange trail which is about a mile. The trail descents at first, to bring you down into the wetlands area of the park. You’ll begin to see marshy, boggy areas that appear to be teeming with life – birds, bugs, etc. It all looked very pretty while I was there. The orange trail brings you to the red trail where you have a choice – you can either continue along the loop to head back, or you can take a side trip to another viewpoint.
Naturally, I chose to explore the second viewpoint. The red trail is fairly new as it didn’t seem very worn in. The trail leads you around a second section of wetland area and you’ll see a large hill rising up out of the wetland on the other side. You’re going to climb this. When you get to the base of the incline, it’s actually pretty steep. I don’t recommend it for everyone – it’s a bit more rugged than you would normally encounter on a Lake George Land Conservancy property. However, that’s the exact reason I loved it and wanted to climb it! When you get to the top, there is a nice viewpoint that allows you to look over the wetlands and the mountains beyond.
I made my way back down the red trail and then picked up the yellow trail so I could continue and complete the loop. There is a mini loop within the yellow trail but I chose to take the section of trail that walks along the wetlands area. You can also use the yellow trail to take the connector trail to head north to The Last Great Shoreline area of the preserve, but I choose to stay south and complete the loop in Gull Bay.
For the rest of the hike it is very important to stay as quiet as possible. The LGLC recommends hiking this area in smaller groups and to talk softly due to the sensitivity of the wildlife here. The wetlands are a really important area for a lot of different species of wildlife that depend on this type of habitat to survive and thrive. I found it really interesting when I came across some heron and their nests. They built their nests on the dead trees in the middle of the marsh, and there were quite a few nests. There were even several herons sitting on the nests so I can only assume that there were eggs or little baby herons in the nests. It was fascinating to watch and made me appreciate the work of the Lake George Land Conservancy even more!
To see a trail map and more information about the Gull Bay section of Sucker Brook Preserve, check out this Trail Guide.