Santanoni is most often climbed with Panther Peak and/or Couchsachraga Peak. Consider using the Times Square herd-path and the Santanoni Express Route is you are planning to do a traverse of all three Santanoni Peaks in a day it will save time and distance – but you will need to leave Santanoni for last or do it first.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 14 on the list.
Santanoni is the true gem of the range boasting the best views. Santanoni has an interesting trail along its east flank that used to be used quite often but was on private property, it is now open again to the public and aptly named “The Santanoni Express Route.” It’s steep and eroded but gets you up high and on the ridge really quickly; see the primary route below.
Primary Trailhead: Leave Lake Placid on Rte 73, follow Rte 73 toward Keene. Drive through Keen and Keene Valley and proceed back to I-87. Head south on I-87 and get off exit 29 and follow the Blue Ridge Road (CR84) toward Newcomb. Continue for roughly 18-miles to the Tahawus Road (CR25) on the right. Follow this road 6.3 miles to a left marked by a sign for Mt. Marcy and the High Peaks. At 2.0 miles from this junction there is a parking lot on the left for Santanoni.
This is an approximate 4.8 mile hike, one way, along what is known as the Santanoni Express Route. From the parking area this route follows a gravel road that leads to a private hunting camp. After 1.8 miles, a sharp and somewhat obscure right leads you along a foot trail. The first bridge is out and you will need to ford the branch of Santanoni Brook. The second bridge is in poor shape but can still be crossed. Be very careful as it is slippery and quite high off the ground. The handrail is missing and the stairs on the opposite side up the steep embankment are slightly angled and equally as slippery.
This trail has been notorious for being the wettest trail in the Adirondacks and for good reason. However, work is in progress to remedy this. Several small re-routed sections have been developed, we areas closed off, and stringers have been laid out for easier passage. There is still much work to be done, but this is a wonderful start. At 3.4 miles from the parking area, the trail comes close to the brook and some beautiful cascades. Just beyond the trail flattens out and there is a cairn at the end of the flat area marking this spot where the herd path begins on the left. A tiny way in there is a crossing of Santanoni Brook which can be complicated in wet weather. Past this point you will come to a beaver area where a re-routed path to the left has alleviated much of the wet situations. From here it gets a bit steeper and then very steep over eroded terrain. As you ascent higher, the steeper it seems to get and more eroded under foot. You will pop out on the ridge just north of the summit of Santanoni. On the ridge you will meet a T-intersection which is the ridge trail explained below. Take a left here and hike moderately for about 0.1 miles to the summit. Path right leads to Panther. See that description for information on how to access that peak and Couchsachraga.
Family with Young Kids: Not recommended
Experienced Hiker: Primary trail – 3 to 4 hours to summit, Out of Shape Hiker: Not Recommended