Snow Mountain and Deer Brook Falls
Snow is an excellent family destination with outstanding views and many hiking options to create an excellent day in the woods. From difficult to easy terrain, depending on your choice of approach, you can make the hike what you want and even create a nice 2-car loop by combining the Deer Brook and Rooster Comb approaches. Deer Brook Falls is a worthy shorter destination and is a 1.9 mi. roundtrip from the Deer Brook trailhead.
Deer Brook Trail: From the intersection of Route 86 and Route 73 in Lake Placid, follow Route 73 toward Keene. Continue through Keene Valley. The trailhead is on the right 1.9 mi. south of the High Peaks sign in the center of Keene Valley and just north of a steel-sided bridge over the Ausable River. The trailhead is marked only by a small green sign with parking on the shoulder or at a wider turnout across the bridge
From the trailhead you will enter the woods on the left of the brook with rocky terrain. In a short distance you come to a private road. Here you have the choice of continuing straight ahead (as described below) along the brook or turning left for the "High Water Route" which follows private driveways. The distance is the same, but the route along the brook involves four brook crossings and some very rough footing as you climb through a beautiful flume. The scenery through this section is fantastic.
Part of the trail has been rerouted after severe flooding and slowly brings you along the left side of Deer Brook before sweeping left and up to the junction with the High Water Route. At this point you are on an old road with a junction just up and to the right. Going straight at this junction, after a few more minutes you will come to a two log bridge over Deer Brook, just before the bridge is the 200 yard spur trail to the base of Deer Brook Falls. The spur trail is a bit slippery, so take your time.
Cross the bridge and continue along a wide path that moves along a side hill and eventually flattens out as you meet up with a trail on the left that leads to St. Huberts. Going right, it is a short distance from this point to another junction. (Straight ahead is the trail to Rooster Comb and the alternate start.) Going right toward Snow Mountain is a short but steep and rocky climb. While fun on the ascent and fun for the kids, it makes for a slow descent if the conditions are slippery.
The final distance is along a semi-open flat topped peak with views in every direction. Exploring will gain you several unique views.
Distance: 1.7 mi. to summit
Time in hours:
Families with small children: 1.5 - 2 hours.
Experienced hiker: .75 hour
Out of shape hiker: 1.5 hours
Rooster Comb trailhead approach: Trailhead parking is on the right 0.4 mi. south of the High Peaks sign in the Center of Keene Valley.
This 2.6 mile, one way, trail is over easy to moderate terrain. Starting from the trailhead in Keene Valley you will hike over a long wooden bridge to the trail register before hiking past a small pond to your right which is located behind the Keene Central School. As you move away from the pond the trail climb steadily to the Snow Mountain Trail on the left at 0.7 mi.. Follow here as it passes through an open forest nearly on the level to a brook crossing at 1.1 mi. after which it climbs steadily to a junction at 1.8 mi. where you will head left. (Straight ahead leads to Rooster Comb) Following left you will descend a bit to cross one brook after which the trail is mostly level to the junction with the trail to Snow Mt. on the left at 2.2 mi. from the parking area.
5.2 miles RT, Moderate Climb, Elevation: 2370' Ascent: 2106'
Time in hours:
Family with Young Kids: 2-2.5 hours
Experienced Hiker: 1.0 hour
Out of Shape Hiker: 2 hours