Ampersand is one of the most popular hikes in the region, and it's also designated as one of the Saranac Lake 6ers. From the trailhead you will descend slightly to a brook crossing before starting an easy hike over a heavy traveled trail to a second brook crossing. Soon the trail will begin a slow ascent and get steeper as it comes to the location of the old fire observer’s cabin on the right – rubble is all that remains.
Past the old site the climb gets much steeper and then very steep as the rock staircase is introduced, and the footing becomes a bit slippery. This stone staircase was built to alleviate the high amount of erosion that was created from water run-off and heavy foot traffic. As you ascend higher you will come to open rock slab where the footing is a bit tricky and then a split in the trail. A right will lead over more open rock and left is mellower path through the trees, both reconnect in a short distance.
Past this point the trail levels out and goes through a flat area before swinging through a section of jumbled boulders the size of small houses and climbs the last bit to the summit over open rock. Outstanding views are had from the rock summit and the top should be visited for a while and many pictures taken.
Trailhead Location: From Lake Placid, take Route 86 west toward Saranac Lake. At the second stoplight in Saranac Lake, continue straight onto Route 3. The parking area is on the right after about 8 miles. The trailhead is across the road — be very careful crossing the main highway.
Distance Round Trip: 5.4 miles
Elevation: 3,352 feet
Elevation Gain: 1,800 feet