Macomb is one of the most exciting climbs in the Dix Range and is often climbed by itself, but it can also be combined with other parts of the range for a longer outing. The Dix Range also includes South Dix (Carson Peak), Hough Peak, and Grace Peak. There are nice views from the summit, but the climb up the slide is definitely a high point to the day.
Macomb is approached from Elk Lake using the Slide Brook herd-path that leads to the base of the slide. The summit is mostly wooded but a rather large viewing platform offers outstanding views.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 21 on the list.
This is roughly a 8 mile round trip when doing Macomb alone. You will start along the trail to Dix Mountain and follow a very well used trail to the Slide Brook campsites and lean-to. After crossing Slide Brook, go right and up through a campsite to access the very plain herd-path that proceeds high above the brook through a peaceful forest before descending slightly to the base of the slide. The slide is mostly rubble, scree and loose sand, not at all like most slides in the region. The slide is very steep making for even harder footing, especially on the descent. The upper portion of the slide is a bit tough to exit but once you do you will be back in the trees for a bit further to the summit.
From the intersection of Route 86 and Route 73 in Lake Placid follow Route 73 through Keene and Keene Valley and get on I-87 heading south. Get off Exit 29 and follow the Blue Ridge Road to the left toward Newcomb. Continue for 4 miles to Elk Lake Road on the right. Follow this road to the hiker parking, near its end.
4 miles one way
Peak NameMacomb Mountain
Most Popular Winter Trailhead
Dix Mountain Trail (Elk Lake)
Round Trip Distance
Average Round-trip Time
7 to 8 hours
Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of
Deep snow, narrow paths, wet snow on overhanging trees, icy conditions on the slide; and the road to Elk lake is closed requiring an additional 2-miles of road walking, winter parking is at Clear Pond.
The five mountains that make up the Dix Range are typically broken into two sections, but determined and experienced mountain climbers do summit all five in a day if conditions supply the perfect day. Macomb is often climbed with South Dix and Grace Peak for a longer, demanding day. There are two other trails that can be utilized and often do in the winter, especially if a complete traverse of all five peaks is attempted. There is the Round Pond Trail and the Bouquet River Herd Path from Route 73 as well.
From the Clear Pond Parking area start you easy warmup along the Elk Lake Road. These initial 2-miles or so are quite easy and snowshoes are usually not needed. Once at the trailhead put on your snowshoes and start an easy to moderate snowshoe excursion toward the Slide Brook Lean-to. At the lean-to is where the herd path for Macomb starts.
Following the herd path you will be on a moderate course to the base of the Macomb Slide. The slide in the summit is sandy with rock rubble, these conditions allow for snow build rather than running water on open slab, making the climb in the winter an easier snowshoe where crampons are not necessarily needed. The top of the slide is a bit tough and steep though. A herdpath will lead you around the steep rock shelves to the woods for an easier route up and around. However, if you plan to try and go over the rock be prepared for ice and poor footing. Once above the slide the summit is still a steep climb through the forest, but not all that far away. The views from Macomb are quite nice, but only in one direction back toward and over Elk Lake. The herd path to South Dix heads over the summit area and down the ridge.
Protection from falling snow on overhanging trees; this snow will then melt and get the climber wet, a waterproof/breathable shell is the best remedy. It is also important to have a dry pair of gloves for that reason as well.
Map and Compass and GPS are a very important part of this trip. While the Herd Paths are easy to follow when they are used, they may not be broken out at times and you will need to know how to proceed throughout the mountainous terrain to reach the other summits where marked trails are developed.