Redfield was named for Professor William C. Redfield: meteorologist, organizer of, and participant in, the first recorded ascent of Mount Marcy. If the going gets tough, remember Redfield did stuff like this in 1837. While wearing a wool wardrobe.
Mount Redfield is often climbed with Cliff Mountain, and is a much more pleasant ascent with a good summit view as a reward. Below is brief description of the shortest approach via Lake Arnold. Redfield can also be approached via Lake Colden or from the south via Flowed Lands.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 15 on the list.
Primary Trailhead: Leave Lake Placid on Route 73, follow Route 73 toward Keene. Continue for about 3 miles to Adirondack Loj Road on the right. Follow Adirondack Loj Road for to its end at Heart Lake and park in the main parking lot. Small parking fees will be required. (($12 as of 2020)
This is an approximate 9 mile hike, one way. From the Loj follow the hikers approach trail to the High Peaks that leads to Marcy Dam. From Marcy Dam you will need to follow the trail to Avalanche Pass. You will pass by Avalanche Camps, where you begin to climb. Take a left and head toward Lake Arnold. You will climb steeply up the shoulder of Mount Colden and eventually be at Lake Arnold. At Lake Arnold you will stay left and continue to climb to the top of the pass and descend for a bit into the valley. After a sometimes wet hike through the valley over log bridges and around beaver activity you will pass by Feldspar Lean-to. 0.1 miles past the lean-to is a major T-intersection. Left leads up to Four-Corners, south of Mount Marcy. Right leads to Uphill, the start of the herd-path.
Heading right you will have a moderate, but often wet hike to the Uphill Lean-to. The herd-path is directly across the trail from the lean-to, marked by a cairn. This herd-path is also the start of the Cliff Route. The Redfield Route is the main one and continues straight after the Cliff turn-off. From here you will hike along a gorgeous brook and at times in it. Be sure to take time to look back every now and then to enjoy the views as they open up. There are many attractive small waterfalls along the way as well. The summit of Redfield is a large boulder, offering nice views.
18 mile RT, moderate to steep terrain, Elevation: 4606’ Ascent: 3225'
Family with Young Kids: Not recommended
Experienced Hiker: Primary trail – 4 to 5 hours to summit.
Out of Shape Hiker: Not Recommended
A popular trailhead for the hike to Redfield is the Upper Works trailhead, using the trail along Calamity Brook to the Flowed Lands. This long hike is over 16 miles, so there are plenty of lean to shelters to camp in along this section.
Most Popular Winter Trailhead
Upper Works to Uphill Brook Herd Path
Round Trip Distance
18.0 miles, ~20.0 miles with Cliff
Average Round-trip Time
11 to 12 Hours, 12 to 14 hours with Cliff
Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of
Do not attempt to cross Flowed Lands unless the conditions warrant. The herd path is tough to follow in areas if the route has not been broken out. Moving water in the brook can be hazardous and not allow ice to get thick; you could break through if not careful. Tread lightly.
Redfield is most often climbed with Cliff for an extended day, but it can also be a very tiring day and should not be attempted unless you are prepared.
From Upper Works follow the trail to Flowed Lands and Lake Colden which isn’t all that demanding and can be accomplished relatively fast. Once at Flowed Lands depending on ice conditions it is common practice to hike over the Flowed Lands to access the trail near Lake Colden. If you don’t like the idea of hiking over the frozen waters you can also opt to use the trail, which goes up and over several rolling hills, requiring additional elevation gain and loss.
From the dam hike along the Opalescent River and at the Uphill lean-to locate the herdpath which will be on your right. A rock cairn marks the spot. Once at the herd path continue for about a 0.1 miles to another small cairn and continue along Uphill Brook. If you take the right here you will be heading up Cliff Mountain. The herd path remains following the brook for quite some time and eventually ends up in the brook for short periods. It is much easier to hike in the brook, but be very aware that the brook does not freeze over with thick ice because of moving water; the deep pools could be a hazard. Eventually you will leave the brook and climb steadily to the summit. The summit is very good in the winter, with outstanding views as you stand atop many feet of snow.
Since part of this hike is a herd path, bringing a map and compass and knowing how to use them is an important skill to have.