Adirondack Nature Trails:
Jenkins Mountain Trail

Adirondack Wetlands: Heron Marsh from the overlook (12 August 2013) Adirondack Wetlands: Heron Marsh from the overlook (19 September 2004) Adirondack Habitats: Mixed forest on the Jenkins Mountain Trail (12 August 2013) Adirondack Habitats: Mixed forest on the Jenkins Mountain Trail (12 August 2013) American Toad on the Jenkins Mountain Trail (12 August 2013) High Peaks from the Jenkins Mountain summit. Photo by Sandra Hildreth. Used by permission. Jenkins Mountain Trail in winter
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The Jenkins Mountain Trail is a 4.5-mile trail to the summit of Jenkins Mountain (9 miles round trip).  The trail begins when it intersects with the Barnum Brook Trail near the boardwalk area, at a well-marked intersection.  Immediately to your left is a short detour to an overlook, looking south over Heron Marsh.  A wide variety of birds which thrive on and near Heron Marsh may be observed here, including American BitternSwamp Sparrow, and Red-winged Blackbird.

The trail continues west through mixed forest, paralleling the Jenkins Mountain Road.  A variety of trees flourish in this habitat, including Yellow Birch, Northern White-cedar, Black Cherry, and Striped Maple. Below the trees, look for Hobblebush, Goldthread, Wild Sarsaparilla, Bunchberry, Dewdrop, Starflower, Clintonia, and Purple Trillium.

As the trail veers away from the marsh, the habitat changes to hardwood forest, with Sugar Maple and American Beech predominant. Wildflowers that grow under deciduous trees, such as Foamflower and Dwarf Ginseng, can be found here. The trail intersects with the Heron Marsh Trail by a privy, where you turn right, following the same corridor as the Heron Marsh Trail

The Jenkins Mountain Trail then intersects with the Logger’s Loop Trail in a small clearing near the Forest Ecosystem Research and Demonstration Area (FERDA) plots. The FERDA plots were developed in 1998 in a collaboration between the USDA Forest Service, Paul Smith’s College, and the VIC (then run by New York State). The project was designed to study and interpret the impacts of different cutting practices on natural communities.

  • The area demonstrates five different silvicultural systems, such as clearcutting and shelterwood cutting.
  • Seven plots were established along the Jenkins Mountain Road at the VIC, each five acres in size. Five of the plots received a cutting treatment in the winter of 1999-2000; the other two plots serve as control plots.
  • An additional set of seven matching plots was established elsewhere on Paul Smith’s College land as an experimental replicate.

A primary goal of the project is to show trail walkers what each forest harvest treatment looks like and how various logging methods affect different communities of forest plants and wildlife. Each plot has an interpretive sign describing the treatment that was applied. These plots also provide insight into how forest succession works. It has now been nearly two decades since the logging operations were done; the landscape and the wildlife has undergone significant change.

After checking out the FERDA plots, you can continue on the Logger’s Loop Trail or go straight, which takes you on a small loop. The loop rejoins Logger’s Loop at the intersection with the Fox Run Trail. The Jenkins Mountain Trail runs contiguous with the Logger's Loop Trail until you reach the intersection with the Long Pond Trail. Bear to your right at this intersection to continue on the Jenkins Mountain Trail to the summit of the mountain.

The Jenkins Mountain Trail features two different types of trails:

  • The eastern portion of the trail is a pleasant, shady nature trail with excellent opportunities to study plants and wildlife in different Adirondack habitats. The walking is relatively easy with a few moderate hills. 
  • The western portion of the trail, after the intersection with the Long Pond Trail, is a backcountry hiking trail up relatively steep ascents to the summit of Jenkins Mountain (2,513 feet).  Hiking boots are recommended for this part of the trail.
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