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Best approach to Avalanche lake

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  • Best approach to Avalanche lake

    My (adult) daughter and I would like to hike in the Avalanche lake area -- our goals are to see beautiful steams, lakes, mountains, fall foliage, and if possible Avalanche lake -- in a limited amount of time. The pictures and description of the planks around the lake look exciting and beautiful.
    We plan on arriving in the area around 6 PM Sunday night and must be back in the car by Tuesday at noon.
    The plan is to hike either Sunday night (if we can easily get to a camp site near the trail head) or start Monday morning. Then camp overnight Monday and hike out Tuesday morning.
    Questions -- Is the better approach to avalanche lake from upper works or ADK Loj? I know the Loj is a short distance but what about views/beauty? I've never hiked from UW so I'm curious to see what it looks like. Is there a DEC camping site within 2 miles of UW parking that we can hike in the night? Based on my NG map, I see that there are no lean tos until Flowed Lands. Otherwise we will stay in a motel. UW is also a little closer of a drive (and free parking)
    Any suggested routes? At some point we can shed our camping gear and just hike with light packs.

  • #2
    You could car-camp at the South Meadows area (Meadows Road is about a mile before the Loj, off Adironcadk Loj road). Or, you can hike in and camp near Marcy Dam, on the way to Avalanche Lake. Much better than UW.

    ADK 46r #8003; 6W
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    SL6r #596
    Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W


    • #3
      Different people like different things, but I really liked both approaches to av lake in regards to scenery and the actual hike, however I prefer dayhiking from the loj and camping from upper works.
      From the loj direction I have only done it as a dayhike but you will go through marcy dam area (less than an hour into hike usually) and then through av pass; iconic areas with incredible views, and you will get streams and lakes and mountain views. There are more opportunities to camp quicker in on your hike from this direction (this isn't my cup of instant coffee as this seems to be a busier camping corridor, much like the concentration right around lake colden dam area).
      I have gotten to av lake a couple times from upper works, I believe everytime was part of camping trip and not dayhikes (full packs into sites between flowed lands and lake colden). From that direction it seems like a bit longer hike in with maybe not as many dramatic views until flowed lands (still less than a couple hours in), but once there you also have amazing views through the lake colden and av lake corridor. This way you will hike over streams, along a river, through meadows, past smaller mountains on the way to flowed lands, just seems to take a little longer. I am not 100% on this but I believe the site on the trail within 3 miles in from upper works is a designated site (just a bit longer distance than marcy dam direction sites) with a few more by the calamity lean-to at flowed lands you mentioned.
      35er #3133
      46er #11779

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