Nippletop is luck number 13 on the 46er list! Though its summit is far from bald, it offers one of the prettiest views of the high peaks, overlooking Elk Pass and offering a great view of Mt. Clovin and the rest of the great range. It is commonly climbed with Dial Mountain because they are along the same ridge.
The primary trailhead, which takes you directly to Nippletop, is known for being one of the wetter trails of the 46 peaks. It can be quite muddy. The secondary trail, over Bear Den and Dial, is much dryer, but has a much longer ascent.
To reach the primary trailhead, you can find the designated hikers parking lot of Rt 73. It is located across the road from the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead for Giant Mountain. There is room for about 30 cars, and this lot can fill up quickly on weekends. Be aware that hikers can park in designated areas only, and parking is checked frequently. Don’t let your car get towed!
As this trail is located within the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, there is no camping, hunting, or off trail travel, and no dogs or other pets allowed. You must fill out and carry with you a “trip ticket” at the trailhead. If you don’t, you may be fined, and a park ranger will not allow you to continue your hike.
The trailhead is along the road. You will have to walk until you come to a wooden gate, which leads to a dirt road. Follow this for 2.5 miles until you reach a foot trail. The foot trail begins as a moderate climb, but gradually becomes stepper in places. Pass the trail for Indian Head and for Fish Hawk Cliffs. When you reach the trail for Clovin and Blake you will begin a relaxed climb to Elk Pass. Elk Pass offers beautiful views in its own right. However, this is a very wet section of the trail!
You will pass through three beaver ponds and then the climb will become very steep. This will even out and leave you 0.1 miles from the summit. It is another very steep climb to the top, and the trail can be quite narrow in spots, but views are continuous, and are some of the best of all the 46 peaks! You will be able to see Elk Pass below, and you may be surprised that it is only about 500m below!