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The Birding, Hiking & Stargazing Apps You’ll Want to Download Before Your Next Lake George Camping Trip

We know it’s a bit of a contradiction to combine mobile apps with a camping trip. Typically we go camping in New York to disconnect from the electronic devices that can take us away from nature, right? But you’re likely bringing your phone with you anyway, so you might as well use it to elevate your outdoor experience.

There’s a lot to love about camping and recreating here in the Lake George region. And whether you’re staying with us here at Lake George Campsites, or you’re exploring other places to camp in the Adirondacks, the following birding, hiking, and stargazing apps can all bring your trip up to the next level.

Unless otherwise noted, the apps are free (or have a free version) and are available on both Android and Apple.

important bird area sign by path

Lake George Is for the Birds

Birding is often coupled with hiking, as it should be, but why not observe the sights and sounds of these animals while you’re camping? Whether you’re getting comfortable in your cottage, at the RV site, or by your camping tent, you can bird watch with the best of them. Plus, you can always head out during the day to bird and/or hike nearby.

eBird

eBird is the creation of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The app helps you keep track of what you see, and that data is made available for research and conservation purposes.

eBird lists Lake George Battlefield State Park/Lake George Beach as a birding hotspot, with high counts of merlin, mallard, herring gull, house finch, song sparrow, and other species reported. This park is less than 10 minutes from Lake George Campsites.

Merlin Bird ID

This app is “powered by” eBird, and as the name suggests, the focus of Merlin Bird ID is identifying species that you’re seeing.

You can answer three simple questions about a bird you’re trying to pin down and get a list of possible matches. There are also ways to identify birds by song and by photo.

Washington County Grasslands sign

Audubon Bird Guide

This comprehensive, award-winning field guide gives you access to over 800 species of Northern American birds, and it’s usable for birders of any level. Use the Audubon Bird Guide to identify species, learn more about birds you see, and to keep track of the birds you observe.

Our local Audubon chapter is the Southern Adirondack Audubon Society. One of the birding locations they recommend for area birders and those who might be staying at southern Adirondack campgrounds is the Washington County Grasslands.

The grasslands are located in Fort Edward, about 30 minutes from Lake George Campsites. Here you can look for short-eared owls, rough-legged hawks, northern harriers, and other grassland birds.

trail sign in woods

Hike On in the Lake George Region

Being close to so many hiking trails and mountains is one of the biggest advantages of camping with us here at Lake George Campsites. From the flat and kid-friendly Warren County Bikeway to the stunning summits of Sleeping Beauty Mountain or Cat Mountain, there’s something for everyone.

AllTrails

Possibly the ultimate hiking app, AllTrails provides access to over 200,000 trail maps that you can filter and check out by length, rating, difficulty, dog- or kid-friendly, and more.

AllTrails lists Buck Mountain as the number one hike in Lake George Wild Forest. Located 20 minutes from Lake George Campsites, Buck Mountain is on the eastern side of Lake George near Kattskill Bay, and is about 6.5 miles round-trip.

hand touching plant that has ladybug on it

iNaturalist

iNaturalist is a platform built on sharing observations for research and conservation purposes. It’s one of the most popular nature-related apps for sharing photos of plants and animals. If you’re looking to connect with others and share information, this is a great app for your camping trip or hiking excursion.

Bonus suggestion: Seek, made by iNaturalist, is a simpler, more kid-friendly version that is great if you don’t want to share any of your data or findings. There’s no logging in or creating an account.

Cairn

“Never get lost” is the motto of Cairn. This app helps you stay safe on your hikes and general outdoor adventures by sharing your plan with a loved one, downloading offline maps, seeing stats on your route, and even, if you have the premium version, sharing your location with others.

Note, although free to download and use, Apple users of Cairn will be automatically enrolled in a 30-day free trial period that gives you access to the entirety of the app. If you don’t upgrade, it reverts to the free version. Android users will be asked to sign up for the 30-day trial period, and will then need to cancel before the time is up or get charged.

split image with roasting marshmallows on the left and campers looking up at the sky on the right

Look to the Stars Above Lake George

After a day out hiking in the region or exploring local attractions, you’re ready to come back to your campsite and hunker down for the evening for some s’mores and stars.

Sky Map

Only available on Android and formerly called Google Sky Map, Sky Map is a celestial map used to identify stars, planets, galaxies, and more.

Night Sky

Night Sky is only available on Apple and similarly uses a map to identify objects out in space. Night Sky allows users to add Sky Tags to objects on the map for future reference.

SkySafari

SkySafari is available at various levels and fees. This app gives you access to a comprehensive collection of stars, comets, satellites, and deep-sky objects. You point your device at what you want to learn about and can get access to a ton of info, and the app also has audio tours.

SkyView

SkyView assists in identifying celestial objects and can also provide interesting facts on planets, comets, asteroids, and more. This app is one of the more kid-friendlier ones to go with.

tent in woods

Plan for Cabin, RV, or Tent Camping in New York

Private campgrounds in Upstate NY like Lake George Campsites have a lot to offer with our amenities, picturesque location, and easy access to dining, attractions, and further outdoor opportunities. In our opinion, the above apps help campers of all kinds tune into what makes them feel engaged and entertained while immersed in nature.

Use one or more of these apps to find Lake George hiking spots, identify that pileated woodpecker that landed on a tree in your campsite, or to show your kids where Orion’s Belt is.

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