Lower Wolfjaw Mountain
Lower Wolf Jaw is the first High Peak along the Great Range Trail and has five distinct approaches to its summit. LWJ can also be climbed via Bennies Brook Slide which has become a popular route as well. The views are pretty good even though the summit is mostly wooded.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 30 on the list.
Below are three of the several routes to the summit of Lower Wolfjaw Mountain with many possibilities for loop trips.
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 route starts on the property of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve which has granted easements for public foot travel. Be sure to read the link regarding the trailhead and note the dogs are absolutely prohibited in this game preserve.
This is a 4.8 miles, one way hike with a moderate to steep ascent. 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, go left and down between two tennis courts 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 follow the trail that leads behind the small gate house. This trail will bring you to the Ausable River where you will need to cross. On the opposite side of the Ausable follow left along the river’s edge, keeping the river on your left. Continue moderately to the Wedge Brook Trail on the right at 2.0 miles from the gate. The Wedge Brook Trail is a bit steep in areas and steady throughout. At 1.6 miles from the West River Trail, go right for the direct trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. This final approach to the summit is very steep in areas and tends to be quite slippery in spots on the descent.
Second Trailhead: Same as the primary trailhead. Can be combined with the Wedge Brook Trail to make a loop.
This is a 5.1 mile hike to the summit. At the gate follow the trail that leads behind the gate house. This trail will bring you to the Ausable River where you will need to cross. On the opposite side of the Ausable continue straight on the W.A. White Trail.
This trail starts out slowly over rolling hills before making a sharp turn west and climbing steeply toward LWJ. As the trail moves moderately though interesting forest features you will gain a few unexpected views before joining up with the Range Trail at 3.0 miles from the gate house. Continue straight and eventually over the lower "jaw" or "chin" followed by a very steep scramble to the summit at 5.1 miles from the gate house.
Third Trailhead: Leave Lake Placid on Route 73, follow Route 73 toward Keene. Continue through Keene and to the outskirts of Keene Valley and look for the trailhead for Roostercomb on the right.
This is a 5.0 miles, one way hike over varied terrain. From the Roostercomb parking area cross the long bridge over the beaver dam and sign in at the trail register. You will hike past a small pond to your right and start a moderate climb. The climb will remain moderate to the junction with the trail to the summit of Roostercomb at 2.0 miles.
Past this junction, the climbing is steeper to the summit of Hedgehog Mountain, which offers no views. A short descent will bring you to a junction with the W.A. White Trail at 3.5 miles. Turn right to continue the climb up to the summit of the Wolf's Chin. The Wolf's Chin is not a 46er High Peaks but a small knob on LWJ. The descent off the Chin is very steep which brings you into a deep valley where an exceedingly steep climb brings you up LWJ.
10.2 miles RT, Moderate Hike, Elevation 4175’ Ascent: 2825'
Time in hours:
Family with Young Kids: P- Not recommended
Experienced Hiker: 3.0 to 3.5 hours to summit
Out of Shape Hiker: Not Recommended
Lower Wolfjaw Mountain (LWJ)
Most Popular Winter Trailhead
Round Trip Distance
12.0 miles, Upper Wolfjaw only, 13.8 miles with Upper Wolfjaw Mountain (UWJ)
Average Round-trip Time
8 to 10 hours, 9 to 11 hours with Upper Wolfjaw Mountain
Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of
Nothing out of the ordinary
LWJ is often climbed with UWJ and/or the rest of the lower Great Range including Armstrong and Gothics, but please see those pages for additional details. The Garden is the most popular starting location from the Wolfjaw Mountains. The trail from AMR is not as popular even though it does get some winter activity.
From The Garden
From the parking lot start snowshoeing along the Northside Trail for just over 3-miles to the intersection with the Interior Outpost and JBL. Take a left here and pass by the interior outpost and pass over the suspension bridge. A quick left will bring you to the Wolfjaw Trail on the right. Follow here and stay left and pass by the lean-to. This area is quite scenic especially after the new slide cam e down in the not-so-distant past. This trail is a steady climb but not a difficult one. On most days the trail is packed solid by heavy use.
You will come to Wolfjaw Notch where you will follow the trail to the left and start a very steep climb. The first 0.2 miles isn’t too bad as it comes to a rarely used intersection on the right that leads to AMR. Stay left and here is where it gets steep for nearly a half mile. High steps and ice conditions persist; please be very careful on the descent. The trail continues over the summit to AMR and Roostercomb.
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.