Wilderness Backcountry Trails in Keene and Keene Valley
Access to trails in the High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness, Dix Mountain Wilderness, and the Ausable Lakes area.
These backcountry trails are not packed or groomed; they are, however, marked routes which can be explored using either skis or snowshoes. Most summer hiking trails can be negotiated using snowshoes during the winter. During the winter it is especially important to be prepared, with the gear and clothing you carry, for the possibility of spending an unexpected night out and for minor equipment repairs. Plan ahead, carry a map and compass, and be sure to let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
Snowshoes or skis are required on all trails in the High Peaks Wilderness Area when there is more than 8 inches of snow on the ground.
Distance: 10 miles one way, two cars needed.
Trailhead: The High Peaks trailhead at the Garden Parking Area, 1.6 miles from Route 73 in Keene Valley. The turnoff at the Ausable Inn Restaurant is marked with a large DEC sign. Parking is limited, so you may need to park in town and walk up. The climb to John Brooks Lodge is gradual with several short steeper sections — both up and down — and stream crossings. The steady climb up to Klondike Notch is followed by a long descent to South Meadows trailhead.
Lower Ausable Lake Road
Distance: 8.2 miles round trip
Trailhead: Route 73, 3.3 miles south of Keene Valley near the Giant Mountain trailhead. Walk up toward the Ausable Club, along the golf course, and turn left and down on Lake Road Way just before reaching the large hotel. Pass under the elaborate gate where the unplowed Lake Road begins its gradual climb up to Lower Ausable Lake. Multiple side trails radiate from the road. Dogs are not permitted in this area.