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Allen Mountain

Allen Mountain

Elevation4,340 feet (1,323 meters)
Prominence640 feet (195 meters)
Coordinates44°04′15″N 73°56′23″W
First Ascent
Allen Mountain is one of the more distant trail-less peaks. Although its summit is wooded, a lookout at its northern end provides a unique view of Marcy, Panther Gorge, and Haystack.


The most popular route to Allen begins at the East River trail-head and follows the East River trail to a marked junction whereupon it continues along an unmarked trail to Allen's summit. A return trip represents 18.4 miles of distance and 3500 feet of elevation gain.

This route features two major water-crossings and both are bridged.

Hudson River crossing.
A five minute walk from the trail-head leads you to a 50-foot metal suspension bridge spanning the Hudson River. Hurricane Irene had washed it away and, for about a year, hikers had to wade across the Hudson. The bridge has been restored but one should keep in mind that another major storm could damage it again. Depending on weather conditions, fording the Hudson river can involve ankle-deep to waist-deep water.

Opalescent River crossing.
As of late summer 2016, the Opalescent River is spanned by a suspension bridge. One no longer need be concerned with fording the river. Hopefully the river will not rise to the level that contributed to the destruction of the previous bridge.

Opalescent River footbridge
Opalescent River footbridge .

The following instructions are no longer needed but are left in place to inform hikers about fording the Opalescent River:

  • There is no bridge across the Opalescent River. The Opalescent river drains a significant watershed so its water level fluctuates with the weather. In summer one should expect levels anywhere from ankle-deep to mid-thigh. The trail crosses the river at a point where it is broad, shallow, and features a river-bed lined with smooth stones. If you don't want to soak your hiking footwear, a spare set of water-shoes, sandals or other footwear can be handy because the smooth stones can be slippery with bare-feet.
  • The USGS monitors the Hudson River's depth and discharge rate near the town of Newcomb. This location is many miles upstream from where the East Trail crosses the Hudson. Although not a direct measurement of the Opalescent river's condition, it can be inferred from the Hudson's readings. After a heavy rainstorm, one will often see a sharp rise in water-level and discharge rate. The measurements can be used to make an educated guess about the Opalescent river's condition. For example, three days after a major rainstorm, the readings indicated a depth of 4 feet and a discharge-rate of 1000 cubic feet per second. The Opalescent river, at the designated crossing, was knee-deep at its deepest point with a very gentle current.
  • http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?01312000
  • In deep winter, the Opalescent river freezes and can be crossed via a thick mantle of ice. Be advised that spring-thaw conditions can occur outside of spring, notably December and January. Pay attention to unusual warming trends and rain that may cause the river-ice to break up and wash away. You may be able to cross in the morning but find yourself stranded on its eastern shore in the afternoon.

Allen Brook and Slide.
The herd-path follows the course of Allen Brook and leads to a slide featuring a slab of smooth, bare rock. The route along Allen Brook is more often than not within the brook rather than beside it. The cascades and waterfalls are pretty but the route is very rugged and footing can be precarious due to the running water. Another hazard is what is facetiously called "red slime". Iron has been leached out of the rocks and appear as iron oxide deposits (rusty-red stains) on the rocks. When wet, these rust-colored patches are very slippery and should be avoided.

During the ascent, the herd-path follows the right-hand side of the slide then crosses over to the left-hand side at a natural "step" in the slide.

Here is a list of milestones one can expect to encounter along the route to Allen.

Milestones; Marked trail.
  1. Cross Hudson River via a suspension bridge.
  2. Trail crosses the outlet of Lake Jimmy (it used to cross it on a floating bridge whose remnants can still be seen).
  3. Fire-tower observer's cabin(s). Trail becomes a gravel road.
  4. Junction with trail to Mount Adams. Continue along gravel road.
  5. Trail turns left, away from the road, and down a slope to the outlet of Lake Sally.
  6. Notably wet and muddy trail along Lake Sally (visible through the trees).
  7. Trail turns right onto higher ground and a drier trail.
  8. Emerge onto a dirt road and turn left (note cairn for return trip). Road follows the Opalescent river.
  9. Pass a metal road-gate.
  10. Prominent sign; turn right and cross the Opalescent River on suspension bridge.
  11. Walk through an open meadow; see Allen in the distance.
  12. Cross Lower Twin Brook.
  13. Trail junction. Turn right to head to Allen along the unmarked trail.

Milestones; Unmarked trail.
  1. Emerge onto dirt road (Opalescent Road; note cairn for return trip). Turn left.
  2. Sand pit with a trail-register. Turn right, cross the sandpit, and continue past the trail-register.
  3. Cross Lower Twin Brook.
  4. Reach a height-of-land; begin descent to Skylight Brook.
  5. Cross an unnamed brook.
  6. Cross Skylight Brook (via a large fallen tree). Opposite shore has an illegal campsite. Head uphill.
  7. Waterfall on Allen brook. Path now follows Allen Brook and becomes steep, muddy, and slippery. CAUTION: Wet, red rock is very slippery.
  8. Bottom of Allen Slide (a steep slab of bare rock); good views of Redfield and beyond. Cross over to its left hand side and ascend the steep path.
  9. Top of Allen Slide; last good views until the summit. Path becomes relentlessly steep.
  10. Path becomes noticeably less steep; you're close to the summit.
  11. Allen's summit sign (new as of January 2015); no views.
  12. Continue along unmarked trail a few yards to the northern lookout for a superb view of the central High Peaks, especially Panther Gorge.
  13. Return to the summit-sign, turn left (east) and descend to eastern lookout for superb view of Boreas mountain and the Dix Range.

Trail MapMap of route to Allen.

Opalescent River high-water
Opalescent river-crossing; high water (knee/thigh deep) .

Opalescent River low-water
Opalescent river-crossing; low water (ankle deep) .

Allen trail-sign
Start of unmarked trail.

Skylight Brook crossing
Crossing Skylight Brook.

Allen Brook waterfall
Waterfall on Allen Brook.

Allen Slide
Allen Slide.

Allen Lookout
Allen's northern lookout.
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