Iroquois is the third peak along the MacIntyre Mountain Range and is most often climbed with Algonquin Peak and Wright Peak. The primary route as you see ascends most of Wright and all of Algonquin on the way. Iroquois is one of the High Peaks with rare and endangered alpine vegetation; please tread lightly and stay on bare rock. Iroquois is blessed with a 360 degree view from its bald summit with amazing views, as you can imagine, with the best views of Wallface.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 8 on the list.
Primary Trailhead: Leave Lake Placid on Rte 73, follow Rte 73 toward Keene. Take your first right after the ski jumps onto Adirondack Loj Road. Follow this road to its end and park at the hiker trailhead. ($10 parking fee as of 2013)
This is a 5.0 mile hike, one way with mixed terrain. This route starts out along a very busy and popular hiking trail that leads to Marcy Dam. At about 0.9 miles you will come to a major intersection that you need to go straight through and head up Algonquin. From here the terrain gets slowly steeper and much steadier. As you reach 3900’ in elevation the grade eases off a bit, you will notice the rock face of Rong Peak to your right. The intersection for Wright Peak is just a bit further and there will be a rather large congregation area.
From here it is less than a mile to the summit of Algonquin, which you will be required to climb to get to Iroquois. The final ascent up Algonquin is a very steep climb that will get you to tree line. Above tree line you are totally exposed to the elements for over 1-mile to the summit of Iroquois and over 1-mile back to tree line. From the summit of Algonquin you will descend quite steeply over open rock to the intersection with the secondary route and the herd-path to Iroquois.
The herd-path is very narrow and goes through highest bog in the Eastern United States, this is a very fragile ecosystem and care should be taken going through. Along the herd-path you will also have to climb over the two Boundary Peaks. Boundary Peak was the land boundary between the Iroquois and Algonquin Indians, hence the names of the peaks. The final climb up Iroquois is not as demanding as Algonquin.
Secondary Trailhead: Leave Lake Placid on Rte 73, follow Rte 73 toward Keene. Take you first right after the ski jumps onto Adirondack Loj Road. Follow this road to its end and park at the hiker trailhead.
This is an 8.0 mile hike, one way with a moderate to steep terrain. Follow the primary trail to Avalanche Camps and instead of heading toward Lake Arnold head toward Avalanche Pass. This next mile is referred to as “Misery Mile”; it’s a bit steep, but not too bad. You will pass through Avalanche Pass where the temperatures are much cooler and make your way along Avalanche Lake. This trail along the lake is very demanding and consists of scrambling, boulders and numerous ladders.
Once past the lake the trail drops a bit to a junction at a trail register. Go right for 0.4 miles past an inlet of Lake Colden to the trail for Algonquin on your right. This trail is one of the steepest in the park, be prepared to get a serious workout. From Lake Colden you will be climbing directly up the fall-line of a tributary of Lake Colden. The trail is typically wet and slippery with several large steps and serious erosion. This trail will exit in the col between Iroquois and Algonquin where you will pick up the herd-path along the primary route.
It is highly recommended that you use the two trails (primary to secondary) to make for a very rewarding loop.
5-13 mile RT, challenging, Elevation: 4840’, Ascent: 2936'(Algonquin)
Family with Young Kids: Primary trail – Not Recommended, Secondary trail – Not recommended
Experienced Hiker: Primary trail – 4 to 4.5 hours to summit, Secondary trail – 5 to 6 hours to summit
Out of Shape Hiker: Primary trail – Not Recommended, Secondary trail – Not Recommended
Most Popular Winter Trailhead
Round Trip Distance
Average Round-trip Time
8 to 10 hours
Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of
Heavy winds above tree line, ice conditions along the ridge, white-outs, obscured trail due to snow drifts, and spruce traps. All of these conditions can be witnessed and should be prepared for. Iroquois on one day can be an easy snowshoe if the conditions are great; in ill conditions the ridge can be very hazardous with artic conditions.
This trail is by far the most popular winter route to the summit of Iroquois; the only other option would be a very long and difficult climb up from Lake Colden. From the Loj start your hike along the main route into the High Peaks that leads to Marcy Dam. This 0.9 mile portion of the trail will be very solid nearing the consistency of concrete. After 0.9 miles you will come to an interception; continue straight toward Algonquin Peak.
The grade remains moderate but eventually gets much steeper as you start to climb the shoulder of Wright Peak. Once in the col with Rong Peak, which is rock wall on your right, you will start climbing much steeper. A sign warns climbers of the risks of winter climbing. Soon you will pass by the Wright Peak Tail on the left and start a much harder and steeper climb that will bring you over Algonquin Peak.
At tree line for Algonquin Peaks it is good to be prepared for arctic conditions. You will have no shelter or protection from the elements until you climb Algonquin and Iroquois and get back to this location. That is around 3-miles of difficult terrain and exposure. Once over Algonquin you will descend to the intersection with the herd-path for Iroquois Peak and the Lake Colden Trail.
Follow the herd-path which is easy to locate, but very hard to stay on. Snow drifts and a windblown trail cover most of the course of the herd path. When off the trail you will notice the softness of the snow and the potential for spruce traps are high.
A spruce trap is where snow covers the branches of the spruce and balsam trees but does not get under the branches. This void causes the snow to collapse under your weight causing you to fall to the depth of the snow which can be upwards of 6-feet. The traps are very hard to get out of and the aid of your fellow climbers is sometimes essential, another reason to not hike the 46 High Peaks in winter alone.
The ridge will bring you over Boundary Peak to the open rock summit of Iroquois. Returning back to Algonquin is much easier as you now have a trail to follow, but conditions remain the same. Many winter climbers will tackle Wright Peak on the Way out to add a third High Peak to the days adventure.
Crampons for climbing over Algonquin could be needed; you should have them just in case. Wind and cold protection, balaclava, mittens are preferred for added hand warmth; goggles would be good to have just in case you need additional wind protection.