HIKING 600 MILES. Writing a guidebook, Part 2

collage of 4 hiking photos, one with a dog, and one featuring lowa hiking boots

By LOWA Ambassador Lisa Ballard 

Lisa writes a two part series on what it takes to publish a guidebook in the Adirondacks. You can read part one here.  

Next month (in June 2023), FalconGuides will release my latest guidebook, Hiking the Adirondacks, 3rd Edition. Putting 600 trail-miles under my Lowa’s to write the book was a big task, but there are worse ways to work than trekking around a 6-million-acre backcountry playground. Though I’ve explored those mountains since I was a teenager growing up near Lake Placid, I’ve found a few new, wonderful routes with each edition of the book, which has grown to what I consider the 50 best in the park.

After one of my guidebooks hits the bookshelves, one of the most common question other hikers ask me is “what’s your favorite?” It’s like asking me to cherry pick what I’ve already cherry-picked. But if I had to name my top three, these mountains would be where I head when I need to feel on top of the world close to my back door:

Lyon Mountain: This 6.4-miler in the northern Adirondacks has a historic fire tower on its summit. While every fire tower has an eye-popping 360-view, this one is unique, all the way to Mont Royale in Quebec, to the north. I love the plethora of wildflowers on the way up, too.

Moxham Mountain: This was the find of the book! A relatively new trail (built in 2012), this 5.2-miler crosses a dozen open ledges. As the ledges get higher, the views of the Central Adirondacks and the Hudson River grow more stunning.

Jay Mountain: Located in the High Peaks but 400 feet short of 4,000 feet, and “trail-less” for half the hike, Jay is off the radar. Don’t tell! Between the west summit and the east summit lies two miles of superb ridgeline with numerous ledges and bald knobs. Just follow the unofficial cairns, and you won’t get lost or fall off a cliff.

In case you’re wondering why none of the Adirondack Park’s iconic 4,000-footers are included among my top three picks, the reason is not because I don’t cherish them. I do, for the challenge, and because I love being in the alpine zone. A dozen of them made the cut for the book. However, those mountaintops are typically packed with people, whereas the three above are less so, and thus more favored by locals like me. For my other 47 favorites, you’ll need to read the book.

Lisa leaning on a rock with feet up against a tree, wearing lowa boots