Frequently Asked Questions

Are any of the trails handicapped accessible?

The Baldwin Trail, located just outside the building, is built with gentle grades and compacted surfaces, and meets the outdoor standards for accessibility.  It is suitable for outdoor wheelchairs, walkers and strollers, and is a scenic, 1.6 mile long circular trail around the southern half of Mount Independence.

I only have an hour for a walk outside. What do you recommend? 

The Baldwin Trail leads walkers in a circle around the southern half of Mount Independence and has a lively and colorful interpretive signage system.  One short spur trail provides a scenic overlook of Lake Champlain, including Mount Defiance, the outlet of Lake George, and Fort Ticonderoga.  A second spur trail goes to an American blockhouse, and a third showcases the southern defenses, with a view of the south lake.   You can see various foundations, including the location of the general hospital, the largest hospital built by the Americans during the Revolution.

Why is this site remote?

Mount Independence is the actual location of a nationally significant Revolutionary War site.  During the American Revolution, this site was chosen for its strategic location on Lake Champlain to defend America against their British enemies located to the north in Canada. The lake was the main thoroughfare of the time, and travel was much easier and faster on water or ice than overland, much of which was wooded or very rocky.  In the fall of 1776, over 12,000 men were stationed at Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga, making it one of the largest population centers in the United States. 

Was there ever a battle here?

No actual battle was fought at Mount Independence yet it was an important defense. In October 1776, British Gen. Guy Carleton turned back to Canada for the winter rather than attempt a fight here as Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga were so well manned with cannons.  This retreat kept the British at bay for the winter, and ceased their immediate push southward.  When the Americans withdrew from Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga on the nights of July 5 and 6, 1777, the Americans actually fired cannons to mask the noise of their retreat. No battle occurred as the British and their German allies prevailed under Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne.  In September 1777, the Americans tried to recoup Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga from the British. A number of skirmishes occurred, including firing on the southern battery area, but not a full-fledged battle.

Why did the Americans leave? 

In the spring of 1777, the Americans knew the British were going to try again.  Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne had a plan to split New England off from the rest of the American states, traveling down Lake Champlain and the Hudson River to meet other British officers heading up the Hudson from the south or east along the Mohawk River to meet in Albany, New York.   The Americans worked hard to beef up their defenses and call in more troops, but there was such a large area to defend that they did not have enough troops.   The officers decided the best course of action was to retreat, saving themselves for successful engagements later that summer and fall, which led to Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga in New York.