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.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 26 on the list.
This is an approximate 9-mile hike, one way to the summit of Allen. 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. There is now a bridge over the Opalescent River, ending the need to wade.
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.
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.
18 miles round trip
Due to the length of the trip, it is recommended that the party bring winter camping gear and supplies. Always bring a headlamp.
Most Popular Winter Trailhead
Adams/Flowed Lands Trailhead to Allen Herd Path
Average Round-trip Time
9 to 11 hours
Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of
The slide at the top is very steep and can be very slippery
From the trailhead quickly come to the crossing of the Hudson River and then shortly beyond that is Lake Jimmy. Slight climbs will then bring you to the Adams Trail on the left, continue straight along old road. You will remain on the old access road for quite some time, but leave it now and again to a foot trail.
The herd path is marked with a large Allen arrow on a tree, where the trail continues off to the left toward Flowed Lands and Hanging Spear Falls. From here the herd path remains on old roads for short periods and eventually to more of a foot trail. Once you cross Skylight Brook the trail makes a hard left and then a right up Allen Brook. This is when the climb really begins and makes way up the brook to the base of the slide. The slide is steep but holds snow well. The climb above the slide is equally steep, but trees aid in leverage. The summit has very limited views, but if you poke around a short herd path will lead down to a decent view
Some climbers choose to use crampons or microspikes for the slide. Since conditions can't be predicted, bring them.