An ascent of Allen is a major undertaking since it is a nearly 20 mile roundtrip, nearly half of which is on unmarked trails. The views from Allen are quite good and the final climb is rather enjoyable with outstanding views that progress as you get higher, but this hike is only for the most experienced.
How to get there
Leave Lake Placid on Rte 73, follow Rte 73 toward Keene. Drive through Keene and Keene Valley and proceed back to I87. Head south on I-87 and get off exit 29 and follow the Blue Ridge Road (CR 84) toward Newcomb. Continue for roughly 18-miles to the Tahawus Road (CR25) on the right. Follow this road for 6.3 miles and then left at a junction for another 3 miles to a trailhead on the right.
By the numbers
- Elevation: 4,340-feet
- Elevation gain: approximately 2,540-feet
- Distance: approximately 18-miles, roundtrip
- Allen is High Peak #26
- Follow Leave No Trace principles
From the trailhead you will descend a bit to a bridge crossing of the Hudson River. After a short walk through an attractive forest you will come to Lake Jimmy and a sharp left turn for a new bypass that avoids the not-so-good floating bridge. Much of the hike will bring you along a state trail that follows not only foot trails but old woods roads and even a gravel road or two. The bridge over the Opalescent River was destroyed in a storm in October 2019. At this time, there is no plan to replace it.
At 5 miles go right on a plain but unmarked trail, often referred to as a "herd path." The herd path is very apparent and is the most attractive portion of the route. As you approach the top and start following Allen Brook the terrain gets much steeper. Along Allen Brook there is a slide that can be climbed, but care is needed as it is very slippery – a rough herd path on the side will avoid the exposed rock. The summit is treed but off to the side there is an opening or two to take in excellent views of the area.
Due to the length of the trip, it is recommended that the party bring winter camping gear and supplies. Always bring a headlamp. The slide at the top is very steep and can be very slippery in the snow. Be sure to wear traction devices and snowshoes.