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High Peak experience for elderly visitor?

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  • High Peak experience for elderly visitor?

    We're coming down for the w/e and being accompanied by my 85 year old father in law.

    Trying to come up with some activities that would give him that "High Peaks experience". Driving up Whiteface and then walking to the summit would have been a good option but the road won't be open yet. We considered Owls Head off of 73 but quickly decided that would be too much.

    He's in pretty good shape and stubborn enough to finish anything he starts.

    Some things we're considering:
    • Cobble Lookout off of the Whiteface ascent highway (2.6 miles and 233 feet is about as much distance and elevation gain as we're comfortable with)
    • The Orchard Field Loop at Heaven Hill
    • Roaring Brook Falls lower lookout
    • This thread actually suggests the parking lot behind the Crowne Plaza
    Any other ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    -The Whiteface Road may be closed... But, it's a nice walk and open to walkers/hikers (I did it twice this Winter). There's some gorgeous views of W/E and the smaller peaks of the Northern ADK. There's quite a few picnic tables along the way. Road walks are always easier than trails. You can turn around whenever you want.

    -I have not done Cobble Lookout, but have heard it's extremely easy.

    -Belfry mountain is possibly the easiest "hike" in the ADK. 400 yards up a service road. Fire tower. Nice views.

    -Wildway Lookout (CATS Trail) is a very easy hike up logging roads in the Champlain Valley. 2 mile RT.

    -Heart Lake Loop at the Loj is nice with minimal gain and great views of the Macs & Street.

    -Lake Road at AMR great views of Giant, Wolfjaws and Sawteeth. Some potential lower elevation lookouts/waterfall options. Another one where you can turn around when you want.

    These are off the top of my head. There's a number of other easy options out there and I'm sure the folks here will hook you up.

    -Edit - the little park between Cascade Lakes is a great place to picnic with lovely views and a waterfall.


    • gebby
      gebby commented
      Editing a comment
      I just suggested Belfry to one of my 83 year old patients yesterday who was sad that she didn't think she could make it up Hadley one more time. I might suggest a walk on the Lake Road to see Rainbow Falls or Beaver Meadow Falls.

    • Learning The Trails
      Editing a comment
      gebby - I think a lot of us "baggers" have a little disdain for the Lake Road walk... But, when taking the bagging element out of it and taking step back... It's really a nice place to just take a stroll and enjoy the scenery.

    • AvalanchePass
      AvalanchePass commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the Heart Lake suggestion, been there a bunch of times but never considered that.

  • #3
    Re the Crowne Plaza view. From inside the 1980 Arena there's the same view. Just an FYI. The 1980 arena has the Miracle on Ice history, otherwise just a building.

    At the junction of Rt 73 and Adirondak Loj road is a great road side view. You see the highest peaks (Marcy, Algonquin) and many others.


    • AvalanchePass
      AvalanchePass commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, 73/Loj is right on the way to the campsite. Great idea to stop there for a few minutes.

  • #4
    If he's in good shape, then I don't think it would be impossible to get up Mt. Jo from the long trail (short trail is steep the whole way, rock garden trail doesn't really buy you much and is still steep at the end). It's super short and the views of the Macs, Marcy, and Colden can't be beat for a <1 mile ascent.


    • #5
      Another possibility is to the ledges on Mt Van Hoevenberg.
      Go by the trail off the Bobsled Run and your on dirt road for a good amount of time.
      The other option is the new trail that stays in the woods most of the way.


      • #6
        Big Crow might be a little easier than Owls Head; and there is an initial view about 3/4 of the way up that is pretty good.

        Cobble Hill in Lake Placid?

        Might be able to buy a ride to the top of Scott's Cobble from the outfit that runs the "Outdoor Adventure Center" or whatever it's called.


        • #7
          +1 for Van Hoevenber and Cobble Lookout views.
          Coney Mt., just south of Tupper, offers a distant view to the High Peaks. 360 views at the end of a gradual one-mile hike.
          High Peaks Golf Course in Newcomb is an easy walk with HP views from the south.


          • #8
            Look into the ski jump tower, chair lift ride from the base and elevator to the top. Unparalleled views.


            • Kyler
              Kyler commented
              Editing a comment
              The jumping complex is closed for tours through November due to construction.

          • #9
            Do note: Owl's Head is closed on weekends until further notice.


            This is still in effect:



            • AvalanchePass
              AvalanchePass commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks. We'll be doing it Monday (Victoria Day holiday) with my mother in law.

          • #10
            I know of at least one 80 year old who made it up Belfry w/o any problem.

            Prospect is another choice, as you can drive up most of the way.
            Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

            Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
            Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
            Past President Catskill 3500 Club
            CEO Views And Brews!


            • #11
              I came across an 86-year old guy flying down Allen as I was struggling to make my way up. Not a speck of dirt on him. I asked if he had a helicopter drop him off. He laughed and said this was his 26th time up that mountain. >_<

              That said, I would not recommend Allen.


              • #12
                Wow, thanks for all the suggestions. Obviously we can't use them all but I mapped each of them and included links to hopefully make this thread useful for anyone that stumbles across it going forward.

                I think these are our best bet:
                Cobble Lookout
                Heart Lake
                Orchard Field Loop at Heaven Hill
                Roaring Brook Falls

                The park between Cascade Lakes sounds like a good option. The Herb Brooks arena is a real nice idea. I'll see if they might be interested in the official tour as well.

                These are on the edge of what he may find enjoyable. If he does well on an initial hike we may try one of these:
                Big Crow
                Cobble Hill
                Owls Head

                I think he's in great shape for 85 but I suppose everything is relative. He's not doing Allen anytime soon (may we all be so lucky at 86). So I think these would all be a little much:
                Lake Road to Beaver Meadow Falls
                Mount Jo long trail
                Mount Van Hoevenberg

                I should have mentioned that we're staying at Draper's Acres Campground across 73 from Mt Van Hoevenberg and don't want to drive too far for a short hike. So I'm ruling these out for this trip:
                Belfry Fire Tower
                Wildway Overlook Trail
                Coney Mountain

                Thanks again,


                • Makwa
                  Makwa commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Some quick notes...

                  Big Crow is a hair steeper than Mt Jo via the long trail. Jo has an extra 150 feet of ele gain overall but Crow if flat for the first 0.2 miles and thus all the 650 feet of climbing is in the last 0.38 miles. Steep. Jo's last 650 feet is in 0.52 miles. It's a big difference. Wouldn't even mention it for a younger hiker but Jo has the better view IMO and a less steep trail.

                  Cobble Hill's parking area fits maybe 5 cars. Not sure if the school frowns upon spillover parking in their lots. Just something to keep in mind.

                  And unless it has changed access to Owl's Head is closed on weekends.

                • AvalanchePass
                  AvalanchePass commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks for taking the time to comment. The view from Jo is lovely. We'll see how he does with Cobble Lookout and then reevaluate.

                  Owls Head will be Monday (Canadian holiday).

              • #13
                Originally posted by ndru View Post
                If he's in good shape, then I don't think it would be impossible to get up Mt. Jo from the long trail (short trail is steep the whole way, rock garden trail doesn't really buy you much and is still steep at the end). It's super short and the views of the Macs, Marcy, and Colden can't be beat for a <1 mile ascent.


                Good call. That's what I would recommend: Mount Jo. When I showed my elderly mother the Adirondacks that's what we did and she had no problem with it.


                • #14
                  So if you are at Drapers, at least drive around Mount Van Ho complex and sight see. It's right across the street.

                  Also, I mentioned this earlier:


                  I have no reviews to cite, but it's less than a mile from Drapers; might be worth checking out.