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Macomb, South Dix and Grace comparison

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  • Macomb, South Dix and Grace comparison

    We are planning our first trip to the Dix's.

    We are not the strongest and fastest so I am thinking of just three.

    Last year we did Seward, Donaldson, Emons, Donaldson, Seaward from the leanto furthest in. I loved the trail up Seward and back down too so I have that going for me! It was a long day but we did it and it was hard but not a struggle.

    How does Slide Brook to Macomb, South Dix, Grace, South Dix down Lilian Brook compare?

    We will be happy to come back for the other two. More hiking on more trails means more Adirondacks.

    We will be early to the parking lot.

    Extra food will be carried to save the salamander population.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    Leave No Trace!

  • #2
    I just read through "Dix Range from Elk Lake to RTE 73?" for that advice so that is nice.
    Leave No Trace!


    • #3
      We did Macomb>South Dix>Hough and out via Lillian Brook last year. Did Grace via 73 this year. Did Dix via 73/Round Pond...
      I am happy with how that worked out for us. Like you said more hiking is more ADK... We really got to see so much more of the Range.

      Obviously from not doing Grace on our first trip - I have no clue how strenuous it is to reascend South Dix from Grace....

      But, if you get back up South Dix & feel good, you might want to consider going for Hough.
      Hough from South Dix isn't too bad.


      • #4
        I wrote a very thorough and accurate mileage/elevation/time calculator for ADK trail hiking. However, one-upped me by allowing you to draw the route and get all sorts of neat visuals.

        Here is your potential lower Dixes route:,44.020838

        It calculates 11.8 miles and 3,060 vertical feet. Both seem reasonable to me, and a little less than your Sewards trip. I don't have numbers from the lean-to handy, but from the summer trailhead, and using Calkins Brook for the exit, the Sewards are around 4,000 vertical feet of climbing. I would suppose even from the lean-tos the vertical is still in the 3,600-3,700 foot range.

        Edit to add: If it's nice weather, why not add Hough too? From Elk Lake, total elevation gain is 4,000 feet, a tough but reasonable day. Plus it allows you to pick a nice day for Dix, one of the best hikes and views in the ADKs.
        ADK 46/46W + MacNaughton, Grid 277/552
        Photos & Stuff


        • #5
          I definitely echo LTT, if you like truly enjoy hiking in the adk you will not be disappointed if you split up the Dix's into 2 or 3 separate hikes.
          Last year we did elk lake up Macomb to S. Dix and down to Lillian Brook, and overnighted at Lillian Brook sites. That worked out terrifically in the end cause this year for Grace I went in from 73 stone bridge to Grace via the great slide and around the range (minus Macomb) up to Dix and out to Round Pond with road walk back to stone bridge (almost certainly my favorite hike yet). (I definitely plan on going back to dix via hunters pass/beckhorn trails.)

          If you wanted to see more of the area and trails:

          your Elk lake to Macomb/S. Dix/maybe Hough/out
          73 up the Bouquet valley to grace and back out
          Dix by Beckhorn/Hunter Pass trails or in from other side at 73/Round Pond (or could do traverse with 2nd car like trailtim46)

          or your Macomb/s dix/grace(/hough), then go again for (hough/)dix

          If you like more ADK hiking you wont be disappointed if you "have to come back" as in my opinion I have heard too many people on the trails griping about.
          S. Dix from grace isn't too bad.
          You will have options for Hough though, the herdpaths dropping back down on Lillian Brook give you options that let you gauge how you are doing when you have a bunch of your work in already: Macomb/s dix/grace and drop down on southern branch, or go over pough and go for hough then drop back down on northern branch.
          Elk lake to Macomb/grace/s.dix is easier or comparable to the 3 sewards (?), just remember the Dix are dry.
          im guessing unless you go in the middle of the week at 3am you wont get parking at the primary small lot by the register, so be prepared to probably do gear and people drop and then someone doing a little extra mileage from other lot (when I went last summer I had to go even further out to the state lot as the clear pond lot was also full by 730ish on a Saturday).
          35er #3133
          46er #11779

          "Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds"


          • Bunchberry
            Bunchberry commented
            Editing a comment
            We try never to go on a Saturday but we have to this Saturday. Do you think 6 AM will be early enough? It is a small lot.

          • bikerhiker
            bikerhiker commented
            Editing a comment
            might get lucky with turnover mentioned below with someone leaving, but probably will be full even at 6, you should get spot at the pond lot further out, and that 2 miles on foot can be done relatively quick and painless especially with dropping packs at the main lot

        • #6
          I think the Dixes are easier than your Sewards itinerary. You shouldn't have difficulty. Just take plenty of water. No water up on the ridge whatsoever.


          • #7
            Of all the pairs of Dixes, the trail between Grace and South Dix is the easiest. The first time I tried to do the "lesser" Dixes, I went up Macomb, went over to South and, because I was delayed to helping a family up Macomb, skipped East (as it was known then). Then went over to Hough and down Lillian Brook. I wish I hadn't skipped East because I later found that it was so easy. Eventually, I did it from 73, which was a great hike (maybe I should be glad that I skipped East earlier because if I hadn't, I wouldn't have done it from 73!). I later did Grace, after it was renamed, and went over to South and discovered how easy it was.

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


            • Learning The Trails
              Learning The Trails commented
              Editing a comment
              Grace from 73 is possibly my favorite high peak approach we've done this year. So gorgeous.

          • #8
            Be ready for a full lot anytime. I had to park at Clear Pond on a Friday. The lot turned over that evening but remained full. As soon as a car left another took its place.
            Start of Lillian Brook trail is not obvious from the main trail below. Easy to miss.
            Lillian Brook trail branch from South-Macomb is very rugged and progress is slow. Great ADK experience!
            The difficulty of any hike is a function of pace relative to fitness level. As soon as you go over the sweet spot (ie. sustainable and feels easy all day) it gets subjectively harder and harder and less and less fun. (Not that it has to be fun to be fun - for some people.)


            • MTVhike
              MTVhike commented
              Editing a comment
              Last year, I was planning to do the lesser Dixes, starting with Macomb. When we started up South, it started to threaten a thunderstorm and we bailed. Had no problem finding the Lillian Brook path down, but it was fairly tricky to stay on it; several unclear parts, but in the end, no problem.

          • #9
            So many great options for this range!

            I would just say not to miss the Macomb slide - that trail is in my top 3. The start of the Slide Brook trail is just after crossing a creek - there should be a new or under-construction bridge there (the old one was being torn down when I was there in July). If you see a lean-to to your right, you've just passed it.

            To and back from Grace is fun and easy, there's no reason no to go (even if you decide to later re-do it from 73 - which I'm planning to eventually).

            Going to Hough from S. Dix is a lot more work. Who knows, you might hit your stride and push on to Dix and make it an odyssey.


            • Learning The Trails
              Learning The Trails commented
              Editing a comment
              I *believe* that bridge is now a rock hop as the DEC guy in charge of that part of the HPW is anti bridges/anything that looks man made. PA Ridgerunner was a part of a crew that rehabbed the bridge on Elk Lake Lodge property and had to replace a bridge on State Land with a rock hop.

          • #10
            We will try to get out an old mountain bike and lock for this event! I hope the tires hold air and it all works!
            Leave No Trace!


            • #11
              I find the three via the route you are contemplating to be a long, but civilized day hike. As soon as you through Hough/Dix in the mix you get into the long and crazy territory. I took a group out on your planned route a few years ago of various abilities and moderate fitness levels and everyone had a good day (though some were pretty wiped by the end). Trip report:

              Good idea on the bike. Almost guaranteed to be no parking.