Adirondack Nature Trails:
Henry's Woods Trail System
Henry's Woods, which is owned and maintained by the Uihlein Foundation, is a community preserve located just outside of the village of Lake Placid. It opened to the public in 2008; more trails were added the following year.
- The trail system features well-designed trails traversing hardwood and mixed conifer-hardwood habitats, plus several scenic outlooks providing views of the High Peaks.
- There are no interpretive trail signs, beyond a welcome kiosk providing a trail map, trail descriptions, and a brief history of the preserve.
- These are multi-use trails, so be prepared to encounter runners and mountain bikers, as well as unleashed (and sometimes overly-exuberant and muddy-pawed) dogs. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers use the trail in the winter.
The preserve has five interconnected trails, varying in difficulty:
- Connector Trail: This trail is the initial trail that accesses the trail network. The trail, which is 4-5 feet wide with a crushed stone surface, traverses a mixed hardwood-conifer habitat, starting out flat and climbing slightly to intersect with the Loop Trail. This trail is about 0.3 miles in length. Listen for Winter Wrens in the conifer thickets near the parking lot. The walking is easy. Near the entrance kiosk, expect some construction noise from the adjacent Elderwood nursing home site, where the Adirondack Health and Medical Fitness center is being built.
- Loop Trail: This two-mile loop is the longest trail in the network and is used to access the Plateau, Switchback, and Rocky Knob trails. The trail, which is 4-5 feet wide, has a crushed stone surface. The habitat is mixed hardwood-conifer forest. Walking in a counter-clockwise direction, the trail drops slightly to cross a bridge spanning a small stream. Off the trail, a bit farther along, is a suspension bridge called the Bridge to Nowhere. The trail then follows a very pleasant brook and circumnavigates a high plateau. On the back (southern) side of the loop, the trail climbs slightly to the top of a plateau before descending back down to where it intersects with the Connector Trail. In mid- and late-summer, look for a variety of mushrooms growing in the moist woods on the first half-mile or so of the trail.
- Switchback Trail: This 0.25 mile trail is the shortest and steepest trail in the system. Starting from the Plateau Trail, the Switchback Trail descends slowly to the first switchback, followed by a steeper grade and several additional switchbacks. The trail then intersects with the Loop Trail.
- Plateau Trail: This one-mile trail is mostly flat and is accessed off the Loop Trail. Like the other trails, the Plateau Trail has a crushed stone surface. It follows along the edge of a long plateau and loops around to intersect a second time with the Loop Trail. There are two overlooks along the trail, providing pleasant, but not spectacular, views of Wilmington Notch and the Sentinel Range. Rustic wooden benches on the outlooks provide an opportunity to stop, enjoy the view, and listen for birds.
- Rocky Knob Trail: Accessed from the Loop Trail, the Rocky Knob Trail features the most difficult terrain of the system and climbs rather steeply with several small switchbacks. It is rather rocky in spots and can be slippery underfoot. From the summit of Rocky Knob, there are views of the Village of Lake Placid and the surrounding area. The habitat you climb through to get to the summit is primarily hardwood forest, so look for wildflowers and mushrooms that grow under deciduous trees.
The birds normally seen along the trails are those that dwell in mixed hardwood-conifer forest and hardwood forest, such as Mourning Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Pileated Woodpecker, and Scarlett Tanager. Be sure to check out the area near the parking lot, for birds such as Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, and a variety of warblers, including the Nashville Warbler and Northern Parula.
Wildflowers and flowering shrubs* seen along these trails include:
Common Wood Sorrel
*The plant list was generated from a series of photographs dating back to 2013.