Grace Peak (East Dix Mountain)
Most Popular Winter Trailhead
Dix Mountain Trail (Elk Lake)
Round Trip Distance
Average Round-trip Time
10 to 12 hours
Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of
Deep snow, narrow paths, wet snow on overhanging trees; and the road to Elk lake is closed requiring an additional 2-miles of road walking, winter parking is at Clear Pond.
The five mountains that make up the Dix Range are typically broken into two sections, but determined and experienced mountain climbers do summit all five in a day if conditions supply the perfect day. Grace Peak is often climbed with Macomb and South Dix for a longer, demanding day. There are two other trails that can be utilized and often do in the winter, especially if a complete traverse of all five peaks is attempted. There is the Round Pond Trail and the Bouquet River Herd Path from Route 73 as well.
From the summit of South Dix (please see the page for South Dix for details)
Grace Peak is the new name for East Dix after a long battle with USGS to have the summit renamed in honor of the founder of the 46ers. Follow the designated herd path from South Dix as it drop slightly to a high Col. The trail along this portion of the ridge is very open and often snow drifts cover the path. The ridge is fairly long and easy to the base of Grace Peak.
The climb up Grace Peak is not a demanding one, but at the end of a long day is quite tiring. Once on the summit you can enjoy the outstanding views it does offer, and to many they are considered to be the best of the Dix Range.
A herd path does continue over the summit and steeply down to the Great Slide which is part of the Bouquet River Herd Path. This herd path in winter gets used much less but does make for a nice alternative for a traverse if you so wish too and know the route well enough. The Bouquet River Herd Path is not recommended if it is not broken out or if you have never done it in the winter before. The route is very difficult to follow and demanding and several river crossings make it even harder to remain on. Crampons and an ice axe are recommended on the slide itself, but the slide can be avoided in the trees. It is around 6-miles to Route 3 from the summit of Grace Peak.
Protection from falling snow on overhanging trees; this snow will then melt and get the climber wet, a waterproof/breathable shell is the best remedy. It is also important to have a dry pair of gloves for that reason as well. Map and Compass and GPS are a very important part of this trip. While the Herd Paths are easy to follow when they are used, they may not be broken out at times and you will need to know how to proceed throughout the mountainous terrain to reach the other summits where marked trails are developed.
Please refer to our basic list of winter gear recommendations for day trips and remember this list is only a recommendation and you should take into light your experience, group size, length of trip, conditions, weather forecast, and any unforeseen incidences.