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Fun, interesting, "can't miss" hikes in the Lake Placid Region

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  • Fun, interesting, "can't miss" hikes in the Lake Placid Region

    Hi everyone! I am a new poster here but have been combing the site for a couple of years now. I've never had trouble planning a trip before, but this time we are doing the High Peaks area and I'm incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of options. I have to "hit the highlights" and was hoping for some guidance. You all give great advice.

    My fiance and I are relatively daring and like a challenge, but we're not very experienced, so for example, the sustained, no-place-to-take-a-break climb to Mt. Colden is probably too much for us (just as an idea of what we're capable of). We're not overweight/couch potatoes but also not in totally peak shape, but what we lack in fitness we make up for in persistence.

    My favorite hikes have always been ones that have scenic stops along the way or are kind of like an obstacle course. Moxham Mountain, Bald Mountain, and Peaked Mountain have probably been my top 3 most memorable hikes so far; swimming at Blue Ledges was easily one of the best times I've ever had in my entire life.

    So, here's the kind of information I'm looking for:
    • Within an hour's drive of Buck Pond (Onchiota): Tupper Lake to Keene (short of Keene Valley - that's next year's trip) to Jay-ish
    • Max ~11 miles so we can do it in one day at a leisurely pace (very short hikes are fine too)
    • Hikes with fun terrain challenges - ladders, bridges, cables, boulder-hopping or -climbing, rock hopping across creeks/rivers, root-grabbing, log-crossing, etc
    • Hikes with areas to explore on the way to our destination - creeks, fields, waterfalls, marshes, rivers, landslide/boulder gardens, etc
    • If you had to choose your favorite mountains in the area with your most absolutely favorite views, what would they be?
    • What's the most fun hike you've ever done in the area from beginning to end? What are we going to regret not doing if we don't do it?
    • Swimming holes to cool off in the middle or the end of a hike?
    Right now I have Indian Pass to Summit Rock, the trail to Avalanche Lake (is doing the loop through Wright Mountain too treacherous? I can't tell from pictures. As long as we can sit and take a break if we need to, that's fine), and Cascade Mountain. I've got a list of a million others, including Rooster Comb/Snow Mountain loop, Cobble Hill, Haystack Mountain (the 6er), Baxter Mountain, Baker Mountain, Balanced Rock/Pitchoff Mountain, Mt. Van Hoevenberg, Mt. Jo, Catamount Mountain, Stag Brook Falls, St. Regis Mountain, Debar Mountain, Lyon Mountain, and Jay Mountain - I'm sure there's others, too, that aren't on my list.

    Sorry so long with so many questions - I'm feeling very overwhelmed and can't narrow my list down.

  • #2
    This thread can be helpful:

    https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...es-in-the-adks

    This site can be helpful:

    http://www.swimmingholes.org/ny.html

    (Note that some of the swimming info on that site is out-of-date. For example, swimming at Hulls Falls is currently closed, and swimming at Split Rock Falls is currently open, and has never been "closed." Split Rock Falls is perfectly safe unless you are cliff jumping or going in the upper falls at extremely high water. For common sense swimming, it's perfectly safe and very beautiful.)

    For some specifics (these are just my opinion):

    Add: Hurricane, the Crows, Nundagao Ridge.

    Drop: St. Regis, Debar, Van Ho, Indian Pass to summit rock. All of these are basically a boring trudge until the final viewpoint.

    Plan for weekdays at the most crowded locations: Cascade, Pitchoff, Anything from ADK Loj.


    Comment


    • sugar_magnolia
      sugar_magnolia commented
      Editing a comment
      I replied in a separate post reply before I realized I could comment - sorry about that! Do you recommend the southern or northern approach for Hurricane, or can't go wrong either way? Thank you so much!

  • #3
    Off your list I'd recommend Catamount or Jay.

    Agree with tcd ... check out the thread on short hikes. There's a couple hundred to choose from. Disagree somewhat re: St Regis or Van Ho. Not the most exciting of trails but St. Regis has the payoff of a fire tower and depending on which way you get to Van Ho your either have the beaver pond or the bobsled run to explore a bit. And with Van Ho you could do the quick up/down then go hike something else in the same day. St Regis has Shingle Mills Falls nearby (~2 miles east) and the Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center just around the corner and a mile north of the Falls.

    And I'd throw Hopkins on your list. Fits your criteria. Mossy Casacde Brook has some falls that are very pretty and the view from the summit is one of the best in the Adirondacks in my opinion.

    Your "problem" is there's too much to see. All of us here could lobby for our favorites and it'd take you years of visits to get to them all. You have a good short list to work from. Good luck and have fun. Oh... and welcome to the forum. And be sure to post a trip report and share your experiences with us once you've completed your trip.






    Comment


    • gebby
      gebby commented
      Editing a comment
      I know Van Ho will be closed from the complex and only accessible from South Meadows for a good part of the summer. They are doing some blasting in there to re-route the trails.

  • #4
    Originally posted by tcd View Post
    This thread can be helpful:

    https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...es-in-the-adks

    This site can be helpful:

    http://www.swimmingholes.org/ny.html

    (Note that some of the swimming info on that site is out-of-date. For example, swimming at Hulls Falls is currently closed, and swimming at Split Rock Falls is currently open, and has never been "closed." Split Rock Falls is perfectly safe unless you are cliff jumping or going in the upper falls at extremely high water. For common sense swimming, it's perfectly safe and very beautiful.)

    For some specifics (these are just my opinion):

    Add: Hurricane, the Crows, Nundagao Ridge.

    Drop: St. Regis, Debar, Van Ho, Indian Pass to summit rock. All of these are basically a boring trudge until the final viewpoint.

    Plan for weekdays at the most crowded locations: Cascade, Pitchoff, Anything from ADK Loj.

    Thanks! I actually use that swimming holes website all the time - it's the first place I usually check, but sometimes it hasn't been updated in years. I'll take a look at the hikes you suggested. And really, Indian Pass is boring? :( I was mostly interested in it because I saw that people swim at Rocky Falls. We always plan our vacations to arrive on Sunday and leave on Saturday, which has worked out really well so far. We'll probably try to hit the Loj areas on Tuesday and Wednesday. Do you have an opinion on Mt. Colden? I really want to try it, but I'm also terrified of falling/rolling half a mile to my death which is what the photos make it look like. If we got tired, is there anywhere to rest?

    Comment


    • #5
      Originally posted by Makwa View Post
      Off your list I'd recommend Catamount or Jay.

      Agree with tcd ... check out the thread on short hikes. There's a couple hundred to choose from. Disagree somewhat re: St Regis or Van Ho. Not the most exciting of trails but St. Regis has the payoff of a fire tower and depending on which way you get to Van Ho your either have the beaver pond or the bobsled run to explore a bit. And with Van Ho you could do the quick up/down then go hike something else in the same day. St Regis has Shingle Mills Falls nearby (~2 miles east) and the Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center just around the corner and a mile north of the Falls.

      And I'd throw Hopkins on your list. Fits your criteria. Mossy Casacde Brook has some falls that are very pretty and the view from the summit is one of the best in the Adirondacks in my opinion.

      Your "problem" is there's too much to see. All of us here could lobby for our favorites and it'd take you years of visits to get to them all. You have a good short list to work from. Good luck and have fun. Oh... and welcome to the forum. And be sure to post a trip report and share your experiences with us once you've completed your trip.




      Yes, I'll look at that list - glanced at it briefly at work. Do you have any recommendations for trail guidebooks/sites? AllTrails is hit-or-miss, CNYHiking doesn't cover very many of the options I'm looking at. Google search hasn't been as helpful as I had initially expected. Do you agree with tcd about any of his suggestions to remove/add trails? Hopkins looks great, but it's a little too far south. We have enough ground to cover just from Lake Placid/Wilmington to Keene! I am already making a list for next year's trip when we'll be staying at Paradox Lake and have added it to the list! You might see me back here next year... St. Huberts area seems to have a bunch of top-notch trails as well.

      I totally agree that there's too much to see. When we've stayed in other areas, it was pretty obvious which trails were "must do" trails or we'd be sorry! That is not the case here, as basically all of them seem to be must-do. Really, the only ones that I've been able to cross off are the 13+ mile ones. I'll definitely post a trip report. I absolutely adore the Adirondacks. I'm either planning our trip there, hiking there, or thinking about getting back there!

      Comment


      • sugar_magnolia
        sugar_magnolia commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh, sorry - I'm still learning how to use the site. Didn't realize I could comment! I'm mainly excluding Keene Valley this year due to the parking - have to shuttle and it's $10 per person. I figured there's always next year, and we could do the area closer to Lake Placid a bit more thoroughly. I guess I am asking for a lot of detail - that's mostly just anxiety/fear of missing out talking. Once we get there, I'm sure I'll enjoy myself no matter where we end up. We always do! I'll take a look at the trail reports, thanks for the suggestion!

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        The shuttle is only needed to get to the Garden, and as far as I know that's its only destination/ drop-off point. All of the other parking lots/ pull-offs are open and free to park in. Given you'll be there mid-week you shouldn't have a problem finding parking. Don't rule those out just yet.

      • sugar_magnolia
        sugar_magnolia commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh, okay, thanks for clarifying!

    • #6
      Of what you have listed, I will second Makwa and say Catamount. It has the elements of a big exciting climb, 1500' of gain, the chimney is awesome and a lot of open rock climbing.

      St. Regis is right near Buck Pond. Agree with what Makwa said it's a basic trail but the Summit is one of my personal favorites.

      To answer your questions on Colden, there are multiple trails. I'm assuming you were looking at photos of the trap dike which you would want a guide to lead you... The LM Porter trail is the "easiest" approach to Colden.
      Colden via Lake Colden is strenuous but you would have to be extremely careless to fall to your death.

      Comment


      • sugar_magnolia
        sugar_magnolia commented
        Editing a comment
        I think I literally just watched the video of you and your sweet girl climbing Mt. Colden on YouTube! I have already written off the Trap Dike; I was talking about the Lake Colden route. Your video made me feel a little bit better. It's more like stairs than ladders, I think? We might go for it! We also might do Indian Pass anyway. If it's a plain trail for a good portion of the way, we might be able to pick up the pace a little bit and try to knock it out to get to Summit Rock. I mostly love those mountainside swims, and figured we should just do Summit Rock while we're at it!

      • gebby
        gebby commented
        Editing a comment
        sugar_magnolia definitely more stairs/steps than ladders for Colden.

      • Learning The Trails
        Editing a comment
        Yes, that's us. The trail has a bot of everything.
        I haven't seen any reports for Avalanche Pass lately. I know Colden still had quite a bit of Winter conditions as of recently... It may be best to hold off on it for a few weeks.

        Also, as a result of a monumental winter, the water at Indian Pass may be very high. I have not seen a report from there this year.

    • #7
      Hurricane is a great hike, Noonmark is another, although it's from St Huberts, a few miles past Keene Valley. The Jay Range is excellent but probably on the upper end of your strenuous level. Baxter is nice, and another excellent hike from St Huberts for you would be one of the trails along the Ausable river up to the lower lake, then Indian Head, and back down along Gill brook.

      Comment


      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Ooooo... I like @halocline's idea for walking through the AMR... you could do one huge loop with Cathedral Rocks/ Bear Run/ Pyramid Brook Falls, Wedge Brook Cascades, Beaver Meadow Falls, Lost Lookout, Rainbow Falls, Indian Head (and maybe even Fish Hawk Cliffs) then down Gill Brook to Lake Road. LOTS of stuff to see there. That entire loop is actually a decent amount of mileage and cumulative elevation gain so you could chop it up into two trips or pare that list down to one trip. If you were to pare it down the highlights would be Rainbow Falls, Indian Head, and down Gill Brook. Save Cathedral Rocks, Wedge Brook Cascades, and Beaver Meadow Falls for another trip. Any hike in there is loaded with great little places to see that aren't summits (though Indian Head has one of the classic ADK views).

      • sugar_magnolia
        sugar_magnolia commented
        Editing a comment
        You guys seriously rock! I am so excited and feeling less overwhelmed!

      • Eddie Fournier
        Eddie Fournier commented
        Editing a comment
        All great suggestions. I'll only add this - if you're going on a weekend, try to get there early (like 7am) and have a back-up hike in case parking is full. Parking situation was bad last year and will be worse this year.
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