DEC Encourages Hikers to be Prepared and Try New Peaks Other than the High Peaks this Autumn
This autumn hikers should properly prepare for hikes in the Adirondacks and hike on trails less populated than those in the High Peaks Wilderness, an opportunity that offers fantastic scenes of fall foliage for a more enjoyable backcountry experience, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos urged.
"Autumn is a great time to enjoy the Adirondacks," Commissioner Seggos said. "As more people continue to enjoy the incredible outdoor excursions offered throughout the Adirondack Park, we encourage visitors to explore the hundreds of lesser known trails that offer the same high quality natural experiences as the more popular trails, and to be prepared to safely enjoy the Park's changing conditions."
DEC reminds all hikers to wear shoes or boots when hiking, which provide ankle support and have a tread designed for hiking. This will help to prevent lower leg injuries. Hikers should wear clothing made of material designed to wick moisture away from your body - not cotton. Hikers should have at least one member of their group carrying a map and compass and flashlight or headlamp. Each person should have plenty of water and snacks. Remember to rest often, drink often and snack occasionally to keep up your energy.
DEC's Hiking Safety web page contains more information on preparation and safety on the trail to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike this fall. Through Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, an effort to improve recreational opportunities and boost tourism activities throughout the state, the state has invested $10 million in NY Works funding to infrastructure repairs at fish hatcheries and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, hiking trails and parking areas.
Trails in the eastern High Peaks to the Dix Mountains and to Giant Mountain are extremely crowded on fall weekends. The following dozen hikes are recommended for those who want to have a hiking experience similar to a High Peaks hike, including great scenic views, with much fewer people. All coordinates are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
Rocky Peak: The East Trail in the Giant Mountain Wilderness ascends 6.7 miles and 3,600 feet from the trailhead on Route 9N to the 4,420-foot summit of Rocky Peak Ridge and its 360 degree view. Much of the trail is along an open rocky ridge with constant views of the mountains, forests and waters to the north, east and southeast. There are several renowned points along the way to stop and enjoy the magnificent surrounding scenery including Blueberry Cobbles, at the 1.9 mile mark; Bald Mountain at the 3.9 mile mark; the remote and picturesque Marie Louis Pond at the 6.1 mile mark. The summit provides views of the Sentinel Range, Hurricane Mountain, Lake Champlain and the surrounding valley, the Green Mountains of Vermont, Dix Mountains, the Great Range, eastern High Peaks, and nearby Giant Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.1499°N, 73.6268°W
Baxter Mountain: This trail in the Hammond Pond Wild Forest ascends 1.0 mile and 725 feet from the trailhead on the State Route 9N to the 2,400-foot summit with 360 degree views which includes the Sentinel Range, Hurricane Mountain, Giant Mountain, the Dix Mountains, eastern High Peaks, and nearby Giant Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.2205°N, 73.7492°W
Owl's Head Lookout: The North Trail in the Giant Mountain Wilderness ascends 2.5 miles and 1,110 feet from the trailhead on State Route 9N to a 0.1-mile spur trail that ascends 150 feet to the 2,530 feet lookout point. The lookout provides scenic views of Hurricane Mountain, the Boquet River Valley, Lake Champlain and the surrounding valley, the Green Mountains of Vermont and nearby Giant Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.2119°N, 73.6788°W
The Crows: This trail in the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness ascends 0.9 mile and 845 feet and 0.9 mile from the Hurricane Road Trailhead to the 2,535-foot summit of Little Crow Mountain. The summit of 2,815-foot summit of Big Crow Mountain is located 0.6 mile and 280 feet further up the trail. There are numerous scenic views from ledges along the way and the summit. Hikers can descend 0.5 mile from Big Crow Mountain to the Crow's Clearing Trailhead to a vehicle or hike O'Toole Road and Hurricane Mountain Road for a 3.5 mile loop hike back to that trailhead. Trailhead Coordinates: (Hurricane Road: 44.2583°N, 73.7529°W) (Crow's Clearing: 44.2609°N, 73.7330°W)
Whiteface Mountain: The Whiteface Landing Trail in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness ascends 6.0 miles and 3,320 feet from the trailhead on State Route 86 to the 4,867-foot summit and its 360 degree views. The first 2.5 miles from the trailhead to the Whiteface Landing on the shores of Lake Placid ascends only 310 feet. The summit provides views of Lake Champlain, Lake Placid, the Green Mountains of Vermont, the High Peaks region, and a large portion of the northeastern Adirondacks. Those seeking a much shorter hike to the summit can drive the recently renovated Whiteface Mountain Veteran's Memorial Highway (fee required) to a parking area near the summit and hike the 0.15 mile trail ascending 200 feet to the summit. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.3002°N, 73.9302°W
Scarface Mountain: This trail in the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest ascends 3.3 miles and 1,400 feet from a trailhead on the Old Ray Brook Road to an open area .35 mile and 80 feet below the summit. The open area provides views of the western High Peaks, the Saranac Lake Chain of Lakes, McKenzie Mountain and more. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.2981°N, 74.0835°W
Copperas & Owen Ponds: This trail in the Sentinel Range Wilderness extends 1.7 miles between two trailheads located on State Route 86. The trail ascends 450 feet for 0.5 mile to shore and clear waters of Copperas Pond and then continues 0.7 miles to the shores of Owen Pond. The trail provides views of the scenic wilderness ponds, their picturesque shorelines and 3,616-foot Stewart Mountain and 3,892-foot Kilburn Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.3349°N, 73.9003°W
Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain: The Observer's Trail in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest ascends 1.9 miles and 1,280 feet from the trailhead off State Route 9 to the 2,162-foot summit with 360 degree views and a fire tower. Views from the summit include the Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and much of the northeastern Adirondacks. The trailhead is just 5 miles south of Exit 33 of the Northway (I-87). Trailhead Coordinates: 44.4019°N, 73.5029°W
Catamount Mountain: This trail in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest ascends 1.8 miles and 1,540 feet from the trailhead on Forestdale Road to 3,168 feet bedrock summit. The hike includes one steep and exposed scramble. The view from summit includes Taylor Pond, Silver Lake, Union Falls Pond, the Wilmington Range, the Stephenson Range and Whiteface Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.4431°N, 73.8799°W
Silver Lake Mountain: This trail in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest ascends 0.9 mile and 900 feet from the trailhead on the Silver Lake Road. The summit offers views of Silver Lake, McKenzie Mountain, Moose Mountain, Taylor Pond, Catamount Mountain, Whiteface Mountain and the Wilmington Range. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.5110°N, 73.8483°W
Bear Den Mountain: This trail in the Whiteface Mountain Intensive Use Area ascends 1.6 miles and 1,160 feet from a trailhead near the parking area for Kid Campus of the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area to the 2,400-foot summit of Bear Den Mountain. The trail is part of the Flume Trail Network and is open to the public for day use free of charge. Bikes are allowed on the first 0.4 mile of the trail. The summit provides views of the West Branch Ausable River Valley, the Sentinel Range and the Stephenson Range. Parking at Kids Campus is free. Overnight parking is prohibited. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.3595°N, 73.8576°W
Cobble Lookout: This trail in the Wilmington Wild Forest extends 1.3 miles with little change in elevation from a trailhead on Gillespie Drive (aka Franklin Falls Road) to a large rocky ledge with views of nearby Whiteface Mountain, and across the Ausable River drainage to Jay Mountain, Hurricane Mountain, and many other peaks. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.4040°N, 73.8789°W
Clements Pond: This trail in the Wilmington Wild Forest ascends 1.5 miles and 650 feet from a trailhead on Styles Brook Road to the shores of Clement Pond where hikers can enjoy views of the scenic pond, shoreline and nearby 2,550-foot Clement Mountain. The trailhead is across the road from the parking area. Trailhead Parking Area: 44.3001N°, 73.7672°W
More hikes and links to more information and maps can be found on the Hikes Outside the Adirondack High Peaks web page on DEC's website.