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SWIMMING THROUGH TREES: South Meadow is much more than a parking spot

South Meadow (Photo provided)

South Meadow Road is now closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter season, but users may still walk, ski and snowshoe the road. In warmer months, this is a great destination to soak in the beauty.

You may think of South Meadow simply as a place to park your car when hiking into the High Peaks, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a birding destination, a wildflower hunting ground and an amazing scenic opportunity.

To get there, leave Lake Placid on state Route 73 toward Keene. Take the first right after the ski jumps onto Adirondack Loj Road. Then about 3.5 miles down this road, take a left onto South Meadow Road when it’s open. Follow it all the way to the end at the parking lot.

This is a 0.4-mile, one-way hike over level ground that leads into South Meadow. From the parking area, locate the trail to the back heading to Klondike Notch. The herd path is located quickly on the left, before the foot bridge. This is the start of South Meadow. Once on the herd path, it will proceed over gentle grades through an open forest and now and again go back to a grassy tread. The path can be tough to see at times, but if you keep a keen eye you will be able to follow it. If you can’t, just walk the grassy shoreline of the creek and you will be in South Meadow. The herd path basically ends at a branch of South Meadow Brook, which is generally too deep to ford.

Retrace your steps or walk back along South Meadow Brook for additional vistas. In the fall, this is an excellent area to take in the colors of the changing leaves. In the early morning on cool fall days, the frost on the grasses is quite amazing. Overall this is not a large hike but more of a scenic walk.