Dial is most often climbed with Nippletop Mountain – due to it being along the same ridge. Dial is located centrally along a very long ridge which requires the hiker to summit either Nippletop first (primary trail) or the shoulder of Noonmark Mountain and Bears Den Mountain (secondary trail). Dial has amazing views from a large boulder located on the summit, the views are limited to the west, but that’s High Peaks Region, not too shabby.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 41 on the 46er list.
Below are brief descriptions of the two routes, we recommend you pick up a guide book for more in depth detail or hire a local guide to assist you. Consider combining the primary and secondary trails below for a loop - highly recommended. Be sure to read the trailhead information and know that dog are absolutely prohibited in this game preserve.
Primary Trailhead: This is part of the St Huberts parking area/trailhead. Leave Lake Placid on Rte 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.
This is a 10.1 mile RT (counting road walking) if you just go to Dial Mt. and back. Including Nippletop to make a loop is a 13.8 mile hike. From the parking area, the hike starts along a dirt road, which becomes a paved road next to a golf course. At 0.5 miles from the parking area, go left and down between two tennis courts on Lake Road Way to the Gate House and register 0.6 miles from the parking area. A wooden gate is just beyond, where you will continue another 0.7 miles along a dirt to the start of the trail on the left. Immediately you will start a climb from the road and the climb will get continuously steeper to the shoulder of Noonmark. The shoulder of Noonmark was part of a major forest fire a few years back and the scars are still there today.
A sharp descent from the shoulder will quickly get you climbing again, but this time up Bear Den Mountain. Bear Den Mountain is a fully wooded summit. The descent past Bear Den Mountain is very moderate before you make the final approach to the summit of Dial Mountain. The trail continues past the summit of Dial to Nippletop (see below) summit of Dial Mountain is where you can pick up the primary trail above to Nippletop Mountain the Elk Pass.
The trail to Nippletop starts from the same road as the trail to Dial, but at a point 2.5 miles from the gate. The foot trail starts off very moderate but continues to get steeper in sections. You will pass by a trail for Indian Head and then another for Fish Hawk Cliffs before finally reaching the trail for Colvin and Blake. As you pass by this trail you will be on a somewhat mellow climb to Elk Pass. Elk Pass is a gorgeous destination is itself. As you pass through the three beaver ponds you will come to the base of a very steep ascent. This ascent will bring you to within 0.2 miles of the summit of Nippletop to your right. Trail left at this intersection is the trail down the ridge to Dial.
< 10-16 mile RT, depending on route, long hike and challenging summit, Elevation: Dial, 4020’ Ascent: 3020'; Nippletop, 4,620' Ascent 3,420'
Family with Young Kids: Not recommended
Experienced Hiker: Primary trail – 5 to 5.5 hours to summit, Secondary trail – 3 to 4 hours to summit
Out of Shape Hiker: Not recommended – all trails
Summit photo courtesy Kirby Clement.
Most Popular Winter Trailhead
Round Trip Distance
11.2 Miles Dial only, 14.5 miles with Nippletop (loop)
Average Round-trip Time
8 hours, 10+ hours with loop over Nippletop Mountain
Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of
Nothing out of the ordinary
From the parking lot you will need to follow the road to the AMR gate which is 0.7 miles away. Once through the gate you will continue along Lake Road for just over a mile to the trail to Dial and Nippletop on the left. From here the climb is steady and at times steep reaching the shoulder of Noonmark Mountain. There are decent views from this, due to a forest fire, but it is quickly getting overgrown with small trees.
A descent off the shoulder will bring you a steep climb up and over Bear Den Mountain and then a moderate climb from there up to the summit of Dial Mountain. Winter views from here are fantastic, especially on a clear bluebird ski day. The trail continues over the summit to Nippletop Mountain the Elk Pass (please see the page on Nippletop Mountain for details).