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Best Loop for Gothics? Resource/Advice?

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  • Best Loop for Gothics? Resource/Advice?

    Hello all,

    I live in Vermont and am well versed in the Green Mountains, but I have only hiked in the Adirondacks a few times, close to 20 years ago.

    I am looking at making a trip to do a nice loop to take in Gothics, which I have never been to, out of the St Hubert parking area, which I used years ago.

    That being said, there are a LOT of ways to loop around to Gothics. I have spent an hour now trying to find an article that compares them and weighs pros/cons but I have come up empty. Does anyone know of a resource that would help me sort through the following options?

    Should I:
    • Do the WA White trail to Wolf's Chin / Wolf Jaw / Armstrong / Gothics / Sawteeth route?
    • Is it just plain smarter to leave off the beginning, and head up Wedge Brook and take in Wolf Jaw / Armstrong / Gothics / Sawteeth?
    • Is going up Beaver Meadow better, even if I do an out and back to catch Armstrong?
    • If Sawteeth is in, which route down is the preferable route to get back to the West River Trail?
    • And maybe a silly question - is East vs West River trail particularly nicer? My hunch is that it doesn't much matter.
    For any of those, is the clockwise or counterclockwise route preferable?

    I know that's a lot. I'm hoping there is already a summary written somewhere that goes through this and I simply missed it, or perhaps someone on here will share your insight.

    I'm in good hiking shape and being out for a full day is fine.

    Thank you in advance,

  • #2
    My preference has been to approach Gothics clockwise from Lower Ausable Trail via the Weld Trail going over Pyramid with Sawteeth as an optional side trip. I just think the Weld Trail is a better climb though some will say the climb is pretty steep to Pyramid. When people ask my favorites one is Lake Road, Beaver Meadow Falls, Rainbow Falls to Gothics and etc.

    The descent via traverse to Armstrong is pretty easy and to get to Upper Wolf Jay not as steep as it looks as you approach. You'll have to go down the cliffs to a tall ladder but if your good with Rock Scrambling and take care it'll be OK. If your strong tacking on Sawteeth and LWJ is in reach.

    As of my last info going this way you have to take the connector trail from Lake Road to Beaver Meadow Falls and follow the West River trail. Reason for this is the bridge at the Lower Ausable Lake was taken down for repairs...though check and see if that's done. You'll pass by Beaver Meadow Falls, have the opportunity to go to Rainbow Falls and there's also a nice Waterfall in the river at the entrance to the Canyon by this route all while your legs are fresh.

    East v West. Right now you have to take West River between Beaver Meadow falls and Lower Ausable Lake.

    Sawteeth. I think there'll be multiple preferences. I prefer ascending the Scenic Trail. It makes use of the overlooks for resting. I avoid Marble Point as once was enough for me. Not big enough reword for the side trip. Descending Sawteeth via the Weld Trail is better.


    • Hear the Footsteps
      Hear the Footsteps commented
      Editing a comment
      To see the Waterfall at entrance to the Canyon you’d have to start to Wedge Brook or over Canyon Bridge. My bad.

  • #3
    Keep in mind the St. Huberts parking areas have been heavily used daily this year. Getting there before 7am is a must.


    • #4
      Thank you for the feedback! Much appreciated.

      Per the parking area, is that true on weekdays as well?

      If it's full, is there any other viable option?



      • #5
        Originally posted by Hear the Footsteps View Post
        ....Reason for this is the bridge at the Lower Ausable Lake was taken down for repairs...
        As of 7/25 it was still under construction, though a dry foot rock hop just below is possible with a little care...


        • FoulHooked
          FoulHooked commented
          Editing a comment
          Is this technically allowed by the club rules?

      • #6
        The Ausable Club Parking Lot only allows 50% of previous parking this year (28 cars). It and the parking lot across the street (Roaring Brook Falls) fill up both weekends and nice weather-predicted weekdays very early as we have more hikers than ever this year escaping to this area. This will increase as we get to and approach August. But there are pull-overs up the hill (south on rt. 73) that so far have had availability for parking on weekdays and will require a 5 minute hike down rt. 73 to the Ausable Club lot. With your full day, you'll need to arrive early anyway so those pull-overs will bail you out if needed...


        • #7
          Originally posted by Vermont View Post
          Thank you for the feedback! Much appreciated.

          Per the parking area, is that true on weekdays as well?

          If it's full, is there any other viable option?

          DAILY... as in 7 days a week.


          • #8
            I would follow Hear The Footsteps advice. The trail over Armstrong and Upper Wolfjaw is some rough rock scrambling in places (think Cliff Trail on Mansfield) and can be slow going. If you do go that way, make sure to allow time.


            • #9
              I agree with TCD and second Hear the Footsteps advice; I'm not a particularly ambitious hiker, but have done Gothics many times. My usual route is Lake Road to the Weld trail, over the Range to Wolf Jaw Gap. At that point, you can go down Wedge Brook, or continue over LWJ and take the WA White trail, which seems to be not well used. You can ask the caretaker at the Lake Road Gate about the crossing below the dam. I would skip Sawteeth and LWJ, unless you're very confident of your energy level, because each of them are rather easy to do as singletons, especially LWJ. In fact, LWJ from the Johns Brook valley, up Bennies Brook Slide and down from WJ Gap.

              HOWEVER, parking will be the issue. A couple of weeks ago, on a Wednesday, we explored the area along 73 for a short, afternoon hike. Everything along the road, from the Roostercomb PA to Chapel Pond was either full or illegal. We pulled into the AMR lot and the caretaker there said it was full at 6:00 AM - on a Wednesday! On a weekend, even earlier. There was one pull-off space at the Giant trailhead, and plenty south of the Round Pond PA (for the Dix trail), which is what we did.

              Another thing, you mention the St. Huberts PA. Unless you mean the AMR one, I think the trail up TO the WA White trail from St. Huberts is closed, and I don't think there's a PA there. (I've done the Wedge Brook - WA White loop over LWJ several times).

              ADK 46r #8003; 6W
              2nd round: 16
              SL6r #596
              Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W


              • #10
                Agree with everything said here. There's no "bad" way to do Gothics that I'm aware of, but clockwise loop up the Weld trail gives the most options, and the climb of and views from Pyramid are classic high-peaks fare.

                My preferred route to Gothics these days is up Bennies Brook Slide and on down the range, but obviously that's more of a commitment, and also probably at my limit right now given my fitness level.


                • #11
                  The view from Pyramid is the star of the show.
                  Leave No Trace!


                  • #12
                    I really appreciate all the feedback and suggestions! I am very impressed with this community.