Gothics is truly one of the greatest peaks in the NE, hands down.
The views are outstanding, the climbs are packed with memories and the routes are so rugged and demanding, that you can’t help but have a great time. This bald summit offers 360 degree views.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 10 on the list.
Primary Trailhead: This is part of the St Huberts parking area/trailhead. 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. This approach is on private land of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). Dogs are absolutely prohibited in this game preserve. (If you do want to take your dog, use the secondary trailhead from the Garden.
This is 6.2 miles, one way with a moderate to steep ascent. From the parking lot you will initially have to follow a dirt road to a paved road. At 1/2 mile from the parking area and just before reaching the main club house, 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 2 miles to the Gothics 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 via a ladder before easing off to a steady climb with a few steeper sections. After crossing a slide 2 miles from the Lake Road, the climb becomes very steep before four small ladders allow a descent to a junction with the Range Trail. Armstrong is to your right and Gothics to the left. Follow left up the spine of the ridge and enjoy the amazing views as they unfold. Climbing Gothics from the AMR has the advantage of a possible loop trip with a return via Pyramid Peak, which some consider to have the best single view in the mountains. This slightly longer return is found by continuing 200 yards past the summit and going left. The trail descends steeply, climbs to Pyramid and then descends steeply to a junction at 1 mile from the summit of Gothics. Turn left and descend at a more moderate grade past Rainbow Falls to the bridge below the dam at the Lower Ausable Lake. The Lake Road is across the bridge and up 100 yards.
Second Trailhead: This route leaves from The Garden in Keene Valley; there is a small parking fee ($7 as of 2013) at the trailhead. Parking is limited and fills up early most weekend mornings. There is a shuttle bus from the overflow parking at Marcy Field north of Keene Valley, but make sure to plan your return before the shuttle stops running for the evening. Leave Lake Placid on Route 73, continue through Keene and into Keene Valley and turn right at the sign for the High Peaks at the Ausable Inn and follow Adirondack St. to Johns Brook Lane. It is 1.6 miles from Rt. 73 to the Garden with the last 0.2 miles on a narrow dirt road.
This is a 7.1 mile hike, one way with a mixture of terrain. From the Garden parking area, the trail is mostly flat with gentle climbs past an intersection with the Southside Trial at 0.5 miles. Continuing straight you will be hiking along a portion of rolling hills till you drop steeply into Johns Brook Valley with a trail register at the junction. Johns Brook Lodge is to the right, but the most direct route to Gothics goes left past the DEC Interior Outpost to a bridge over Johns Brook. Turn right immediately after the bridge and begin a steady ascent along Orebed Brook.
Going straight through a five-way intersection, the Ore Bed Trail continues at a moderate grade for another mile, but steepens after a second brook crossing. One soon encounters new slides on the right due to Hurricane Irene and then a long series of wooden stairs. The top of the Ore Bed Trail leaves you between Gothics (left) and Saddleback (right). Head left up the Cable Route. The Cable Route is a very steep and exposed climb where a coated cable has been run aid ones ascent. If you have issues with exposure, you might want to choose an alternate route. This route will bring you first to the west summit of Gothics and then to the true summit slightly further away. p> 12-15 miles RT, depending on route, Elevation: 4734' Ascent: 3,050'
Family with Young Kids: Primary trail – Not recommended, Secondary trail – Not recommended, Experienced Hiker: Primary trail – 3.0 to 3.5 hours to summit, Secondary trail – 4.0 to 5.0 hours to summit, Out of Shape Hiker: Primary trail – Not recommended, Secondary trail – Not Recommended.
Most Popular Winter Trailhead
Round Trip Distance
13.6 miles, Gothics only, 15.2 miles with Armstrong
Average Round-trip Time
8 to 10 hours, 9 to 11 hours with Armstrong
Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of
Heavy windows and deep snowdrift along the ridge and upon the summit, whiteout conditions can exist.
Gothics is quite often climbed with Armstrong as a close second peak for the day using the trail from AMR and Beaver Meadow Falls.
From AMR and Beaver Meadow Falls
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 around 2.0 miles to the trail for Gothics and Beaver Meadow Falls on the right.
This section of trail is easy and leads to the Ausable River and then a bridge over the river to access Beaver Meadow Falls. There is a ladder to the left of the falls where the trail continues up to the Great Range Trail. Just above the ladder it is very steep and at times quite icy. This trail is a steady and at times steep climb. You will pass over 4 additional ladders to access you through step and rocky areas and eventually come to the Range Trail between Gothics and Armstrong.
Take a left here and it is 0.6 miles to the summit of Gothics. The climb from here is much more moderate and quickly you will find yourselves above tree line along a narrow ridge. The trail is often snow loaded from wind creating deep drifts and covering the location of the trail.
The summit is wide open and very windy, but the 360 degree views distract the elements. The trail continues over the top to Sawteeth in one direction and the Orebed Trail to Saddle back on the other. Some persistent climbers will continue over Pyramid to Sawteeth for a long loop, but it is very demanding, steep, and lightly used, so be prepared for a very aggressive and tiring continuation if you decide to go for it.
From Armstrong it is an easy descent to the trail from AMR in the col with Gothics. This direction would also require the ascent of Upper Wolf Jaw as a traverse along the Great Range. Please see the Armstrong and Upper Wolf Jaw pages for additional details.
Wind protection is a must
Please refer to our basic list of winter gear recommendations for day trips and remember this list is only a recommendation and you should take into light your experience, group size, length of trip, conditions, weather forecast, and any unforeseen incidences.