Named after Thomas Armstrong, a 19th Century lumberman, this climb features a huge ladder on one approach and several smaller ones on the other approach. There are great views of the upper Great Range and Johns Brook Valley. This peak is often tackled as part of the Gothics, Armstrong, Upper Wolf Jaw Mountain & Lower Wolf Jaw Mountain loop.
*If hiking from AMR (St Huberts), this hike will require a parking reservation from May 1 - October 31. Please plan accordingly. Visit www.HikeAMR.org for more information and to reserve your parking spot.*
Although not described here, Armstrong can also be accessed from The Garden Trailhead. The Town of Keene shuttle from Marcy Field to The Garden will begin to operate on July 17 and continue to operate on Saturdays and Sundays through the fall. The shuttle provides access to The Garden Trailhead when The Garden parking lot is full. The cost is $10 for a round-trip ticket and the shuttle runs continuously from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tickets are cash only. For more information, please visit www.TownOfKeeneNY.com/Hiker-Shuttle-Information.
How to get there
Leave Lake Placid on Route 73, follow Route 73 through Keene and Keene Valley and into Saint Huberts. Parking is across the road from the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead for Giant Mountain. The approach is on the private property of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) and dogs are absolutely prohibited on AMR lands.
By the numbers
- Elevation: 4,440
- Distance: For the loop, 8.6 miles not including distances on Lake Road
- Armstrong is High Peak #22
- Follow Leave No Trace principles
For purposes of this description, we're going to describe the hike approaching from Beaver Meadow Falls and descending on a trail between the Wolfjaws.
From the parking lot you will initially have to follow a dirt road to a paved road next to a golf course. At 0.5 miles from the parking area, turn left and down between two tennis courts on Lake Road Way to get to the gate into the AMR. The AMR is a private property area with recreational easements, special rules apply to use and those are posted at the gate. At the gate you will need to hike the dirt access road for around 2.0 miles to the Gothics access trail on the right. This trail leads through the forest to a bridge over the Ausable River and then to the base of Beaver Meadow Falls.
The trail climbs steeply to the left of the falls over a ladder and slippery conditions to near the top of the falls. From this point the trail becomes a steady climb with a few steep sections and a couple smaller ladders to descend. This trail leads up to the Great Range Trail where Armstrong is to your right and Gothics to the left. From this intersection, it is less than 0.5 miles to Armstrong, but the trail descends steeply into a col before climbing to Armstrong's summit.
From here, you can return the way you came or continue to Upper Wolf Jaw and the final descent. The trail descends very steeply to a large ladder and then continues up and down smaller bumps before reaching the reaching an intersection. Continue straight for Lower Wolf Jaw, but turn right to descent on the Wedge Brook Trail, which leads 2.2 miles to Lake Road, which you can follow back to your vehicle.
Armstrong quite often climbed with Gothics as a close second peak for the day using the trail from AMR and Beaver Meadow Falls. Heavy windows and deep snowdrift along the ridge to Gothics. If you venture that way, whiteout conditions can exist. Between Armstrong and UWJ it is very steep into the saddle along the ridge continued by a steep climb up the other side. Be prepared for challenging, icy conditions here.