Archive for July, 2014

Panther Peak – Newcomb, NY

Posted on: July 27th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Panther_Peak_seen_from_Bradley_Pond_leantoA gateway to the Santononi Range, Panther Peak gets its name for the mountain lions which once roamed the Adirondacks.  It is the most climbed peak in the Santanoni Range, and the view it offers is one that shouldn’t be missed!  It is frequently climbed with Couchaschraga Peak or Santanoni Peak.

The primary trailhead can be accessed by taking the Blue Ridge Road exit off of I-87.  Follow this road toward Newcomb for 18 miles.  Turn right on Tahawus Road and take a left at the sign for Mt. Marcy and the High Peaks Trails.  Parking is about 2 miles from the sign.

A warning: this trail is known as the wettest train in the Adirondacks, and for good reason! You will need to wade through water, and you will come across many slippery surfaces.

 Follow the gravel road and then take a sharp right on the foot trail for this 12.5 mile (round trip) hike.   You will come to a brook which you will need to ford because the bridge is out.  The next bridge is not well maintained but can be crossed, however be cautious as it is quite high up and very slippery.

You will pass some beautiful cascades at around 3.5 miles.  A few yards beyond you will find a cairn which marks the beginning of the path to Santanoni. About a mile further along, another cairn marks the path to Panther.  This herd path remains relatively flat until you pass Bradly Pond and then begins a very steep climb above the pond, where it becomes a more moderate ascent.  You will come across Panther Brook and follow it to the top of the ridge.  Here you will come to a junction.  If you go to the right you will go to the summit of Panther (about .5 miles).  If you go left you can head to Couchsachraga and Santanoni.

While this path is wet and slippery it offers beautiful views, not only from its summit but along its path.  You’re treated to brooks darting through forests, and cascades spilling over rocks as you make your way up to the summit.  It is a must see!

Saddleback Mountain – Keene, NY

Posted on: July 26th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Saddleback_MountainOften climbed with several other peaks, Saddleback Mountain offers astounding views from its summit.  The route to the top is demanding as the terrain is quite untamed, but the view from the summit is almost completely unobscured.

Saddleback is frequently climbed along the Great Range Trail with Lower Wolfjaw and Upper Wolfjaw, with Gothics and Armstrong, or with Haystack and Basin.  To reach this trail you can park at The Garden or in overflow parking at Marcy Field.

Hike toward Johns Brook Lodge.  There you can take the Ore Bed Trail which leads to the Great Range Trail.  The Ore Bed Trail is quite demanding.  You will reach a steep area that looks like a slide.  It is not a slide, however, and steps and ladders have been put in place to make climbing it more accessible.  This approach is about 7 miles round trip.

While the trip to the summit is very challenging and requires a certain daredevil attitude in some spots (or at least a willingness to be exposed to the elements along the rock face) the climb is rewarded with some truly amazing views.  Offering almost 360 degrees of unobscured views, Saddleback allows you to see far and wide over the Great Range and Keene Valley.


Basin Mountain – Keene Valley, NY

Posted on: July 25th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Basin_Mountain_(NY)Number nine of the Adirondacks High Peaks is Basin Mountain.  The route to the top is marked by narrow ledges and steep climbs, but the summit boasts some of the finest views of any of the peaks.

This trail contains a piece of Adirondack history! Keep an eye out of a large bolt place in a rock near the East side of the summit.  It was placed there by Verplanck Colvin during is 1876 survey of the Adirondacks.  This peak was named by Colvin for the many basins that form on its slopes.

The trail crosses many sections of steep rock, large amounts of open ground, and has some areas that are very dangerous when wet or when covered in ice or snow.  In winter cornices can form along the ridge.  Some sections of the trail pass over exposed ridges and must be traversed with extreme caution as any fall would be fatal.  However, this trail is considered one of the most spectacular in the area.

Because this trail can be tricky it is not recommended you do it with back packs.  It’s better to take a different trail around this section and hike this as a day trip, or hike it from Haystack to Gothics with packs.

While the summit can be reached from my different trailheads, the shortest route is from The Gardens in Keene Valley.  It is about 14 miles round trip.  Remember that the parking lot at the Gardens fills up quickly, but there is a shuttle that runs in summer for overflow parking.

Take the Phelps Trail to the Interior Outpost.  From there you can go straight to the East start of the trail via the Ore Bed Trail.  You can also go around to the West by continuing on the Phelps trail.  You can also walk these as a loop.

Another popular trailhead is at Adirondack Loj.   Take the Van Hoevenberg Trail and then the cutoff for Haystack.

The South side of the summit is tree covered and doesn’t offer many views, however the West side is bare and offers stunning views of Gothics, Marcy, and Haystack.


Mount Haystack – Keene Valley,NY

Posted on: July 18th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments


Number 3 on the list of High Peaks, Mount Haystack is considered one of the most difficult peaks to ascend.  Its long distance and harsh landscape make it an especially demanding hike.  It is also typically climbed with Little Haystack, which adds to the total change in elevation for the day.

The mountain gets its name from its bald summit.  The smooth dome shaped top is thought to resemble a hay stack.

At around 18 miles round trip, this is a very long hike which may require you to be prepared to stay overnight. It is recommended that you attempt this hike only in good weather.

The primary trailhead begins at The Garden at Keene Valley.  If the lot is full, overflow parking is available at Marcy Field, with a a shuttle running between the Garden and Marcy Field.  However, be aware that the walk back to Marcy Field is quite long  and you may come back down the mountain after the last shuttle has run.

The terrain at the beginning of the trail is quite easy.  You’ll pass over pretty rolling hills until a steep drop at Johns Brook Lodge.  Continue on toward Bushnell Falls.  These falls are small, but very pretty.  Along this path you will also pass Bear Brook and Deer Brook and their respective lean-tos.

Once you pass the Bushnell Falls lean-to, the climb becomes a bit more moderate, but more constant.  You will reach Slant Rock which gives way to a very steep climb up to the Marcy Trail.  Keep left and continue up the steep climb where you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Little Haystack and Haystack.

From here, there will be a short descent to the base of the tree line.  Then you will begin the climb up Little Haystack, where there is no further protection from the elements.  From here on it can be quite windy.  After another short descent you’ll start the final climb to the summit of Haystack.  While the climb is exposed and steep, the view from the bald top is unobstructed and well worth the effort.

Upper Wolfjaw Mountain – Keene Valley, NY

Posted on: July 17th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Upper_Wolfjaw_MountainCommonly completed on conjunction with Lower Wolfjaw, Upper Wolfjaw Mountain is number 29 on the list of high peaks and is a great place to stop for a snack or lunch while you’re on the trail.

The summit itself provides beautiful views, but you may find that the views on the way up are even more enjoyable! Don’t be fooled by the false summit, which offers stunning views.  The actual peak is another 500 yards or so down the trail and a few yards off the path.

The hike itself quite difficult in parts.  Total ascent is about 4100 ft, but involves climbing over rocks and boulders, and some very steep climbs.

The shortest trip to the summit beings at the Ausable Club, though there is also a trailhead at Adirondack Loj. Beginning at the Ausable Club, make a right just before the clubhouse onto Lake Road.  You’ll reach the trail register and the gate to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. The trail begins through the gate about a mile down the road.  You will cross a small bridge and find the marked trail.

Follow the East River Trail along the South side of the Ausable River.  After a short time you will come to another bridge, which will cross over the river and lead to the West Side Trail.

From here you will begin a gentle ascent along the river.  It will quickly fall away below you.  Depending on the season you may see some very lovely foliage.  You will come to the Cathedral Rocks area which has a beautiful waterfall.

For the next 2 miles the trail is very moderate with occasional steep sections.  It is a pleasant walk through wooded paths with some charming views.  You’ll come to a steep section at the ascent to Woljaw Notch.  Through the trees you’ll be able to see the tall cliffs of Lower Wolfjaw.

Continuing along the trail you’ll find some great lookout spots to see the slides on Upper Wolfjaw.   You’ll come to an intersection where you should go left on the Range Trail.  Follow the signs for Upper Wolfjaw.

The trail at this section becomes markedly steeper. In spring you may find snow patches make it difficult to navigate, but it is manageable. The false summit has a rock perch which provides very pretty views to the South and East.  There is a short descent and then another climb to the true summit.  The rock is 10 yards or so from the path and has beautiful views to the South and partially obscured views to the West and North.

From here you can turn around and return to the Ausable Club or continue on and hike Armstrong and Gothics.  If you hike only Upper Wolfjaw it is about 6.5 miles round trip.



Big Slide – Keene Valley, NY

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Big_Slide_Mt_from_The_Brothers_TrailNumber 27 on the list of High Peaks, Big Slide is one of the best of the 46 Peaks.  Of all the peaks this may turn out to be your favorite.

Many peaks offer lovely views along the route, however the views along the route to the summit of Big Slide are so spectacular that you’ll want to climb it again!

The most popular trail requires climbers to ascend three other summits (called the Three Brothers) before making it to Big Slide and is 4.0 miles one way.   The trailhead is at the Garden Parking Area near the Ausable Inn.  Overflow parking is available at Marcy Field, with a shuttle running to the trailhead.

The climb begins almost immediately from the parking lot toward a brook crossing.  From there, there will be a steep climb to the summit of the 1st Brother, where you will find some very beautiful views.  The first ledge you come to faces east where you’ll find a gorgeous view of Giant and Keene Valley.

After a short descent you will begin a second climb toward the summit of the 2nd Brother for even more better views!  Along this path you’ll find many other ledges which afford many more beautiful views to the west. This portion of the trail is so beautiful that you may find you take more pictures here than you do at the summit!

Past the 2nd Brother you will descend into an open valley.  From there you will come to a steady climb to the wooded summit of the 3rd Brother.  You’ll get a closer view of the Great Range, and the woods will shade you from sun or cold.

After a descent there will be a moderate climb to an intersection.  From here there are two routes to the summit of Big Slide.   At this point the trail becomes especially steep as you get to the base of the summit.   At the summit some astounding views can be seen to the North East.  A better view on the North side of the Great Range is hard to find!  There are beautiful views of the Great Range across Johns Brook Valley which are awe inspiring.  You might find that it’s the perfect place for you to stop and have some lunch.

While the trail continues on to Yard Mountain, it is most common for people to stop at this summit and loop back.  While you can return over the Brothers, it is also possible to take the split, continuing straight over a path which crosses Slide Mountain Brook several times.  Turn left at Johns Brook Trail, and then left again at the Trail Register, where there is a short descent to the Garden parking area.  This return path is 1.5 miles longer than the trail over the Brothers.

The route to Big Slide and the summit itself provide some of the most beautiful views in the park.  While the view from the summit is not 180 degrees it does have some spectacular views, and the scenery along the route will keep you in such awe that you might not even realize how far you’ve gone on the hike.  Just make sure you don’t walk off the mountain!

Lower Wolfjaw Mountain – Keene Valley, NY

Posted on: July 12th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Lower_Wolfjaw_from_NoonmarkFor many, Lower Wolfjaw is either of the first or the last 46er completed along the Great Range, depending on which direction you decide to travel.  It is also the thirtieth highest peak in the Adirondacks!

The summit is wooded, but there are several clearings allowing for beautiful views.  The mountain was named by landscape artist Alexander Helwig Wyant, along with Upper Wolfjaw.

There are five distinct trails to the summit for this peak.   This hike is shorter than some of the other high peaks, and if you’re up for a long and challenging day, can be done in conjunction with Upper Wolfjaw.

If you’re coming from the Keene Valley Trailhead, it’s best to park at the Rooster Comb lot on Route 73.  Street parking is not permitted and your car will be towed.

From the St Huberts trailhead  it is a 4.8 mile hike one way, with a moderate to steep climb.  You will cross the Ausable River, and on the opposite side you’ll come to the Wedge Brook Trail.  The trail here becomes a little more challenging, with some steeper areas.  The base of the summit is very steep in areas and can be quite slippery, especially while making your descent.

For a slightly longer hike, you can begin at the same trailhead.  Once you cross the river follow the W.A White Trail instead of Wedge Brook.  This trail offers more moderate terrain over beautiful rolling hills, and then begins a steep ascent to the summit.  It also gives you the chance to take a slightly more scenic route.  The path will join up with the Range Trail which will take you to the summit. This hike is 5.1 miles one way and can be combined with the first hike to make a loop.

From Rooster Comb it is a 5.0 mile hike one way.  Cross the bridge over the beaver dam, and make your way past a small pond.  The climb begins here, remaining at a moderate incline until the junction to the summit of Roostercomb.  Past this point the climb becomes steeper at the summit of Hedgehog Mountain.  When you descend Hedgehog you’ll come to the W.A. White Trail, which will allow you to make it to the summit of Wolf’s Chin and Little Wolfjaw.

Each trail offers its own unique views and experiences, from peaceful ponds, to beautiful waterfalls and wooded areas.  The mountain is inside the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, which means there may be a great opportunity to encounter some local wildlife as well! Little Wolfjaw is one of the shorter hikes of the 46 peaks.  While it certainly isn’t one of the easiest, if you aren’t planning to join the 46ers but want to get a high peak under your belt, this one could be the one!

Seymour Mountain – Tupper Lake, NY

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Seymour_Mt_seen_from_Mt_Donaldson_NYNumber 34 on the list of the 46 High Peaks, Seymour Mountain is the fourth peak of the Seward Range.  It is typically climbed separately from the other three peaks in this range, Seward, Donaldson, and Emmons.  An open rock ledge at the summit provides breathtaking views of Ouluska Pass, Long Lake, and the ridge.

There are multiple trailheads, but many of the trails are quite difficult.  Whichever path you choose, be sure you’re up for the challenge!

Climbing Seymour Mountain is an all day excursion.  You should plan 8-10 hours round trip.

The first six miles of the trail from the Corey’s Rd trailhead is the same as the secondary path to Seward, until Ward Brook Truck Trail.   Here the trails split and the terrain becomes more difficult.  The scenery changes quickly from wooded trails to rocky slabs and back again.  It makes for an entertaining climb and provides very interesting things to see along the way.

As you ascend you’ll find plenty of  breaks in the trees allowing you to see some very beautiful views.  At the summit you’ll find a few viewing platforms allowing some stellar views Ampersand Lake, the Sewards and much more.

Overall this is a 14+ mile hike, with moderate terrain but a steep climb to the summit.

Allen Mountain – Newcomb, NY

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Mt_Allen_summit_ridge_NYSome say Allen Mountain is the most difficult of the 46 peaks.  Whether that is true or not, it certainly offers a challenging climb to the top that is well worth the effort.

Number 26 on the list of the 46 High Peaks, this trail is recommended only for experienced hikers.  Nearly 20 miles round trip, this strenuous trip is a full day’s hike.

It is considered the most difficult peak of them all because it is a 9 mile hike each way over forest and logging roads, just to the base of the peak.  Heading to the top is heavily wooded and can be quite confusing.  The summit is heavily wooded and views are less spectacular than other peaks because of this.  Some may consider the hike unrewarding because of this.

Much the this hike is on unmarked trails, making it difficult and confusing. Though the summit is heavily wooded the views can be quite good and the final climb is quite enjoyable.

You’ll find free parking near the primary trailhead.  From there you’ll descend to a crossing over the Hudson River.  The bridge has not been rebuilt and you will have to wade through the river.  In spring this may not be safe.   After a short walk you’ll come to a vantage point over Jimmy Lake, offering great views.

Several miles ahead, there is another water crossing at Opalescent River.   There is no bridge and you will need to wade through the river.  From this point you can follow the herd path, which is quite pleasant and beautiful.  When you get to the base of the summit you can climb the exposed rock or continue along the herd path for easier ascent.

Though the summit is heavily wooded there are several clearings which provide beautiful views.

Allen Mountain is a long, strenuous hike and is recommended only for the experienced.  However, if you’re looking to experience many of the 46 High Peaks, or are an experienced hiker and up for the challenge, it is an excellent way to spend your day and to experience the Adirondacks!