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please help me find my dream spot

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  • please help me find my dream spot

    Ok, so I'm mostly new to the highpeaks. I climbed Mt Marcy last year, but this year id like to bring my lady. She is very nervous about a strenuous long hike. I'm hoping some one very familiar with the area can help me find this perfect spot I have in mind for a night of camping. Id like to climb a mountain with her and pitch a tent someplace most of the way up. I'm hoping to pass a waterfall along the way and camp relatively close to a stream. I'm hoping the camping spot can be in a clearing with a nice view of surrounding mountains and a body of water (lake, large pond). Does anyone know of a smaller peak that fits this description w view of water and mountains, waterfall, 4 miles round trip (to the peak, not the camping spot)? I really enjoyed my time there and I want to spend years visiting. Maybe climb a peak each year. I'd like to get her involved by making her first time there very enjoyable. Please help.

  • #2
    4 miles RT and a High Peak is going to be tough. There's a camp site on the way up to Giant from 73 and you get Roaring Brook Falls and the water source, but it's more than a four mile RT to get the peak.


    • #3
      Your options for something that fits your desires exactly are kind of limited in the High Peaks. Camping has been restricted at higher elevations due to the sensitive nature of the ecosystem. The alpine zone of the Adirondack High Peaks does not withstand camping impacts very well, and once those impacts occur, it takes years (or even decades) for the plants and soils that have been affected to recover. In the High Peaks Wilderness, camping is prohibited year-round above 4,000 feet, and and permitted at designated sites only between 3,500 and 4,000 feet. That doesn't really give you a lot of options for being able to camp "most of the way up."

      Your 4 mile round trip requirement also limits you quite a bit. There's only 1 High Peak that is 4 miles or less round trip (Cascade) and there's no campsites along the trail up.

      If you were willing to consider a bit more mileage, Marcy Dam is a 2 mile hike in from the Loj, and has nice views of some of the surrounding mountains. From Marcy Dam, you could climb Phelps for good summit views without a huge amount of difficulty. Off the top of my head, the total round trip distance for this trip would be about 8 miles.

      Another possible option would be to hike in to Johns Brook and camp near the Ranger Station (about 3 miles in), and climb Big Slide. The total round trip distance for this would be about 11 miles. You'd also have the option of staying at Johns Brook Lodge instead (reservations likely required), a backcountry hostel that is a little bit "classier" than camping. Your lady friend may or may not appreciate this (obviously you know her desires best).

      There's sites partway up Giant Mountain at both Giant's Washbowl and Roaring Brook Falls. Giant Mountain is a rugged climb but not too bad if you give yourself a full day and take your time. Giant via the Washbowl is about 5.5 miles round trip. It's a steep 5.5 miles, but if you get an early start it's totally doable at a slow pace so you can take your time. If being able to have a campfire is important to you, you can have them at this location (you can't at either of the locations I listed above).

      A willingness to look outside the High Peaks would give you a few more options. You could hike into Gulf Brook and camp at either the lean-to or tent site there, and from there climb Hurricane Mountain for spectacular views of the High Peaks region. This hike is about 5.5 miles round trip, and is located just north of Keene.

      There's a designated tent site about a mile into to St. Regis Mountain in the northwestern Adirondacks, and the summit is about 2 miles beyond there. The mountain has spectacular views out over the boreal forest of the Northern Adirondacks.

      Near Lake George, you could hike from Dacy Clearing into either Bumps Pond (1 tent site) or Fishbrook Pond (2 lean-tos and 1 or 2 tent sites), and from there climb Sleeping Beauty Mountain for spectacular views. This trip would be about 5 or 7 miles round trip, depending on whether you went the extra distance to Fishbrook Pond or not. Alternatively, you could hike into Lapland or Black Mountain Ponds a bit further north, and from there climb Black Mountain for more spectacular views. This trip would be about 8 miles round trip (or you could do it as a 6.5 mile loop if you were willing to carry full packs up and over the summit).

      Crane Mountain, also in the southeastern Adirondacks, has some designated tent sites on Crane Mountain Pond, located not far from the summit. Crane Mountain is a small but rugged mountain with good views. The round trip for the full loop is just over 4 miles.

      I also think there's a site or two on Peaked Mountain Pond on Peaked Mountain in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness, in the central Adirondacks. I'm not 100% sure on this, but perhaps someone else will chime in. The round trip distance for Peaked Mountain is just over 7 miles.

      Are you willing to consider the Catskills? That would give a bunch more options for somewhat easy backpacking trips with good summit views from mountain tops.

      As you plan your trip, be sure to familiarize yourself with both the DEC's regulations and the Leave No Trace principles. Pay attention to the Eastern High Peaks regulations especially, including the fire ban, and the bear canister requirement. Both of these regulations have become necessary as a result of decades of use and abuse of the area. The fire ban is necessary because a lot of people were cutting down standing trees for firewood when they were still permitted, and some areas were looking more like a timber harvest than a remote backcountry area. The fire ban has done a lot of good, and in the 15+ years since it was instituted, a lot of areas that were ravaged by campers have recovered wonderfully. The bear canister requirement is necessary because the bears in the Eastern High Peaks have lost all of their fear of humans, and are habituated to the point that they can readily identify and bring down bear hangs. Make sure you understand how to property use the canister, as improper use renders them ineffective.

      The LNT principles are also super important. Being able to continue to enjoy the privilege of having unrestricted access to areas like the High Peaks is contingent getting as many people as possible to follow LNT. I'd encourage you to read through the principles if you've never done so before- there's a lot more to minimizing our impact than just carrying our trash out with us. Minimizing your campfire impacts (in areas where they're legal to have) by keeping your fires small in size and/or duration is particularly important so that the DEC isn't forced to expand the fire ban to new areas.

      I hope this helps!


      • #4
        I apologize, I should have mentioned it didn't have to be a high peak. Just in the high peaks region. I understand camping is not allowed high on the peaks. So far Mount Jo looks to fit most of my options, but not all of them. Links below for Mount jo info and view. But, I'm not sure about the nearby creek, waterfall, or camping limitations of it.


        • #5
          Originally posted by yordad View Post
          I apologize, I should have mentioned it didn't have to be a high peak. Just in the high peaks region. I understand camping is not allowed high on the peaks. So far Mount Jo looks to fit most of my options, but not all of them. Links below for Mount jo info and view. But, I'm not sure about the nearby creek, waterfall, or camping limitations of it.
          Mt. Jo has excellent views and isn't a hard climb. It's on private property, though, and the only legal camping is at the campground at Heart Lake. This is more car camping than backcountry camping (there's a few walk in sites but they're only a few hundred feet or so from the parking area). The advantage to staying at the Heart Lake campground is that you have easy access to showers, firewood, etc. If you're looking for not quite a true backpacking experience, this would definitely be a good one. But if you want to actually camp in the backcountry you might be disappointed.


          • #6
            How about Round Pond? About 0.7 miles from the trailhead and with ~270 feet of ascent. The campsites are near water and there are good views of nearby Round Mountain (and Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge).


            It's in the Dix Mountain Wilderness Area (DMWA) so campfires are permitted (burn dead and down wood only). Bear canisters aren't mandatory in the DMWA but I strongly recommend you use one anyway (good for you and the bears).

            From your campsite, you can hike to Noonmark and/or Round. I think this is a very gentle introduction to hiking and primitive camping.

            View of Round Mountain from southern shore of Round Pond.
            Looking for Views!


            • #7
              from a practical standpoint, that is quite a bit to ask for and still be a non-strenuous <4 mile trip. accordingly, a spot as pleasant as what you describe would likely be quite popular and crowded.

              that said, DSettahR's suggestion of crane is what came to mind for me too. TB's round pond idea is great, and if you are deadset on waterfalls roaring brook falls (and split rock i guess) is a short drive and a short hike.

              for your "camping most of the way up a mountain" idea chimney mt comes to mind. it is lacking in the waterfall department but ok slip falls is probably a 15 minute drive away if you wanted a secondary trip. depending on how you would drive in you might pass auger falls which is a very easy walk from the road.

              similar to DSettahR's suggestion of catskills, depending on where you live MA might be worth looking into as well.


              • #8
                I agree with hiking Mt. Jo and camping near the Loj.

                I've found Mt. Jo to be the perfect intro to High Peaks hiking when bringing somebody along who isn't sure if they'll ever want to climb a high peak. Its short, steep from one side and gradual from the other, involves one very short scramble, and offers excellent views. If the person doesn't feel as though they've been challenged enough you can complete the loop around Heart Lake or take a walk out to the dam and back (which is now a rotting eyesore and smells atrocious even in the winter...just tear it down or rebuild it, PLEASE). This also gets them exposed to all the hustle and bustle around the HPIC and in my experience, pulls them into the pre-hike energy and makes them want to do more.

                Also, because its essentially a "car camping" area, it saves you from purchasing or renting a bunch of backpacking gear for somebody who may never want to use it again.
                My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.