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  • 5 day backpacking route?

    Hi all,
    I'm looking for advice in constructing an approx. 5 day backpacking route (could be a little longer or a little shorter). I'm looking for a route that won't be TOO crowded (given COVID) but where I won't be the only person on the trail (because I'll be backpacking by myself). I can travel during weekdays. I had originally thought of doing something in the Johnsbrook Valley, but am having trouble constructing a route that seems reasonable given where the campsites are located. I'm really open to any location--I don't feel tied to covering any specific peaks--so would love any advice or thoughts you have. Thanks so much!

  • #2
    Have you thought of a route beginning say at Elk Lake or maybe Corey's area headed to the Sewards and the Santas?

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    • #3
      Are you personally familiar with the High Peaks region and its network of trails, and if so to what extent? In theory you could tag half of the 4,000-foot peaks, or none at all over the span of 5 days of backpacking, so a little more information on your level of fitness, experience, and what you'd like to get out of this trip would be helpful.


      Welcome to the Forum!
      My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks so much to you both. I'm a fairly experienced backpacker (if a slow one) but I'm new to the Adirondacks (have only been once, during the winter, and only for day hiking). I was assuming I'd hike around 13-15ish miles per day, depending on elevation. Since it may be easier for parking purposes, I'm happy to start midday on the first day and do a short day that day. I definitely want to be backpacking though (not pitching a tent and then day hiking from camp). I originally thought I would do part of the NPT or the Cranberry Lake 50 (I know those aren't High Peaks area) but got dissuaded when I was told I might not run into anyone else the whole trip (if I start from the Elk Lake or Corey's area, am I likely to have the same problem?). I can see some easy routes I can do if I start from the Loj area, but I'm assuming it will be QUITE crowded in that area and I don't want to share a campsite during COVID. Appreciate all the insights on this forum!

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        • MasonOrange
          MasonOrange commented
          Editing a comment
          I'd be surprised if you didn't run into anyone on the CL50. Even if it's only 2-5 people in a given day, it's gotten more and more popular.

          I did it 3 years ago, probably saw 15-25 people over 3 days. Went around Labor Day.

      • #5
        Loj and Johns Brook areas will be crowded. The Elk Lake area won't be until you get past say Lake Tear, then expect people. The Coreys/Sewards/Santas area you will see enough people to feel safe if that is a concern. Leantos may or maynot be empty weekdays but remember if someone beats you there if there is room you must be able to use such and vice versa if you are there first.. The Cold River area will be quiet. There are threads on this forum about it.

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        • #6
          One thing that's unusual about the High Peaks is that there's almost no camping at elevation (except SnoBird and Lake Marie Louise, which are both just under 4000 feet), so a high peaks multiday trip will involve distances in the approaches and, often, climbing over the peaks with all your gear. Having said that, you could start at Round Pond which, last week, was pretty easy parking-wise, and take the Dix trail; there's a new leanto about 4 miles in. Next day you could go over Dix and camp at one of the sites near Elk Lake. Continue from Elk Lake on the Elk Lake Marcy trail, either to another new leanto or a campsite on the Pinnacle Ridge trail, or maybe skip the Elk Lake campsites and go there on your first full day. From the EL-M / Pinnacle junction, you could go over the Colvin Range to St. Huberts (there are a few legal campsites there) or go up to Panther Gorge, just below Marcy. That puts you in striking distance of Marcy, Haystack, and the whole Great Range. It all depends on how ambitious you are!
          Mike

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

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          • #7
            I very recently put in a ~22-mile day in the High Peaks region during the week and saw one (1) other person other than summit stewards once I got in past the interior kiosks. Weekends are a different story but keep in mind that you can still legally "stealth" camp as long as you abide by the 150-foot/3500-foot rules, so I wouldn't worry about the covid.

            Keeping all of that in mind, there's some incredible loops to be hiked in the western, or non-central HPs that you can either use to chew through miles to see more terrain or spend a few day peak bagging with your gear. https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.1...163&z=12&b=mbt

            Here's an unorthodox idea, but will help you see a lot of the region while avoiding crowds:

            Day 1: Lake Placid NPT terminus to Bradley Pond lean-to/camp sites. ~15 miles.
            Day 2: Some or all of Santanoni range (counter clock. clock, or out and back), return to BP. ~8.5 miles
            Day 3: Hike over to East River trail, possible side trips to tag Adams and/or Allen, camp near East River Allen Mountain herd path junction. ~10.5-20.5 miles depending on if you tag either or both summits.
            Day 4: Take East River trail up past the Flowed Lands, up and over Iroquois, Algonquin, possible side trip to Wright, and out to Marcy Dam or Loj Lean-tos (may need to book one of those ahead of time). ~10-12.5 miles depending on which summits you tag.
            Day 5: Hoof it back to your car in Lake Placid. ~10 miles of easy road walking; cool-down day.
            My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

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            • #8
              I suggest that you reconsider the CL50 if you will be hiking during the summer or early fall. When we did the loop last summer, we encountered at least one or two other parties every day. The eastern portion of the route was the least populated, but we did encounter other backpackers and ultra runners every day. On the western portion of the loop, we encountered backpackers every day as well as day hikers near Cat Mountain and along the High Falls loop. One downside is that cell phone coverage is non-existent in most of the back country portions of the loop, so as a solo hiker you may want to consider bringing another way to signal for help.

              A lot of people complete the CL50 in three days, but we did it in five days and it was a great experience (except for the deer flies).

              There is a Cranberry Lake 50 facebook group that you may find helpful.

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              • #9
                CL50 is on my bucket list after I become a 46’er.

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                • #10
                  There is a CL 50 facebook group. It is pretty active.
                  Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
                  ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

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                  • #11
                    Thanks, all this is extremely helpful! How would you compare the solitariness of the CL50 as compared to the Santas/Sewards or Elk Lake area? (Again, I'm aiming for the sweet spot of "not too crowded for COVID" but "not completely alone because I'll be a solo hiker") Are there other key pluses/minuses I should be thinking about when comparing those areas? I read a lot about the bugs in the CL50 area, but I imagine that may exist in a lot of places when not at elevation?

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                    • #12
                      I would assume that anywhere that there are parking problems, like the Sewards or Elk Lake, area are "crowded". I would guess more so than CL50. Yesterday, at about Noon, we went up the Boquet Forks trail toward Grace. About 6 cars parked on 73, but most of those people were at the swimming area right near the beginning. One person signed in to Grace, but we saw no other people all day!
                      Mike

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

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I'll just add that that a 13-15 mile day with full packs over the high peaks will certainly be a full day...and stringing a few of those together will be quite a workout. I used to plan that sort of thing when I was younger. The last decade or so, it has been only base camps for me. Full packs over peaks is not fun...at least for me anymore, especially hiking solo or with only one other person when gear can't be divided/shared very much. However, if you are young and strong, go for it!

                        I have no idea of summer weekday crowds. I have always avoided that time of year because I hate bugs, the heat, and enjoy hardly seeing anyone else. Good luck!

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