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"The Unstoppable High Peaks Backpacking Parking Lot"

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  • "The Unstoppable High Peaks Backpacking Parking Lot"

    With all of this talk about closing of parking spaces I grew frustrated one night. My favorite thing to do is load up a backpack with a weeks worth of food and head into the high peaks. I go from lean-to to lean-to (carrying a tent which I don't like using) and climb a few peaks. I like meeting other hikers. I like when I get to the top of a mountain and there are 10 or 15 people there already. I love talking to people in lean-tos.

    I have this irrational fear that they will shutdown more and more parking spaces and more and more day hikers will arrive taking more spaces.

    So started the hunt for the "The Unstoppable High Peaks Backpacking Parking Lot"

    The lot does not have to be as close as the Loj parking lot or the Garden parking lot because I am backpacking! What's two more days of walking in the Adirondacks? I came up with a few...

    The Northville Lake placid trail head at averyville road looks good from the air.The walk is flat to Duck hole and Henderson lake

    The lot for the Sewards could work. The walk is flat to Duck hole and Henderson lake,

    The lot near upper works for the Mount Adams fire tower. I can go in on the East River Trail (the water falls is on my bucket list anyway).

    If the Van Hovenburg parking lot is big (I have never seen it) and there is a trail that connects to the ski trail you would go in via Klondike pass.

    Maybe instead of a car I could just take a bus to Noonmark Diner and after a meal starting hiking up to the Garden from there!

    I like the idea of repelling out of a helicopter at night on to the roof a Slant Rock Lean-to the best!

    Leave No Trace!

  • #2
    I'm not sure I'd call any of them "unstoppable." The Sewards trail head lot fills up pretty regularly, as does the Mt. Adams (Allen) lot. The VanHo lot is huge, but it's a pretty inefficient walk up and over Mt. VanHo just to connect with S. Meadows. You won't be able to walk to the Garden lot at all once the construction starts, although some people will certainly try it and probably make all hikers look bad in the process. Your helicopter idea would work best, although it would have to be DEC approved and you'd have to be Fast Rope qualified for any pilot to let you attempt that.

    Another outlandish idea, although it may not be ideal for your want of crowded summits, would be to start your hike on weekdays.
    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.


    • Bunchberry
      Bunchberry commented
      Editing a comment
      Well that's bad news about those lots filling up.... but thanks for the info. As for VanHo, this is not about efficiency its about a stupid and exasperated gesture. The garden idea would not be done this year. I don't do things that are against the law.

  • #3
    Just planning to hike in the Catskills or Fire Towers or New Hampshire this summer and stay away from the Adirondacks, except for when I'm volunteering this year.
    Last edited by gebby; 04-18-2019, 01:18 PM.


    • #4
      My strategy for avoiding parking hassles this summer is geared more towards having friends and family drop me off and pick me up or hike during the week. One trip in particular that I'm really looking forward to is Upper Works, Cliff, Redfield, Gray, Skylight, Marcy, Loj over two days. Assuming I can get away from work long enough.
      Me - 39/46
      Mrs - 17/46

      A trail without mud is like a day without sunshine.


      • Bunchberry
        Bunchberry commented
        Editing a comment
        My son and I need a trip kinda like that too. We don't need Skylight or Marcy. I really like Feldspar Lean-to. We will do it over 3 days. Hike in, next day Cliff and Redfield, Next day Grey and then hike out.

    • #5
      I haven't tried this, but I think a road bike with a small trailer for your pack could increase your range for parking locations. With a bike, it would be practical to park 10 or 15 miles out of the area. Then ride to your target hike and stash the bike in the woods. (I expect we will start to see more creative ideas develop for getting to hikes if the state continues to try to use parking bans to limit hikers.)


      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Even just five miles brings just about every trailhead or access point into play. And don't forget there are lots of tiny pull-offs used by fisherman, rock climbers, hunters, people visiting local swimming holes or waterfalls, etc that could be appropriated by hikers if a park/bike scenario becomes common. It's no good for anybody.

        I would suspect some enterprising local residents will start offering their own gypsy shuttle services.

        But if I were the local towns I would create my own shuttles. $5 or $10 a ride. Or FREE if you spend money in town at local businesses who sponsor the shuttle. They could validate. Hikers get to park safely and get a ride to where they want to go. Nobody is turned away. Local businesses see an uptick in patrons, and local governments get increased tax revenue. Everybody wins.

    • #6
      I found this in the Van Ho draft. it is a picture of the VANHO complex with the new trail to Cascade in yellow. It connects with the VANHO ski trail which connects with South meadows. There is a lean to right on South Meadows brook and also a lean-to in Klondike pass.

      The parking lot looks large. Can you park over night in the VANHO complex?

      Page 102.
      Attached Files
      Leave No Trace!


      • #7
        The current parking lot at Van Ho is very large. In the spring, it's also very muddy. Currently, I don't believe overnight parking is allowed; the whole facility is gated, and the sign says "Gate closed at 4:30 PM."

        Now the draft UMP for Van Ho calls for extensive changes to the layout of the whole facility. Those familiar with Van Ho will no longer recognize it when this is all done. The new parking will be in the parallel "lots 2, 3 and 4." The plan is unclear as to whether overnight parking will be allowed, but given that this is intended to be a hiking trailhead, I would expect overnight parking to be allowed. Don't know, though, and all that is a long way off.


        • #8
          Averyville to Duck Hole is very doable. Wanika Falls is a nice stop on the way as is the Moose Pond L/T.

          Coreys to Duck Hole is less than ideal due to beaver works between Camp Number 4 and Duck Hole. Sometimes it's not too bad, other times it's 10 inches of water for over a mile.

          I'm sure that your helicopter plan was purely jest, but it provides a good opportunity to remind everyone to stay off lean-to roofs. Walking, laying, or sitting on the roofs of lean-tos prematurely degrades the roofing materials, causes leaks and rot in the underlayment, and is generally just bad behavior. If you have ever lugged bundles of shingles 8 or 10 miles to go re-roof a lean-to you can appreciate the need to not unnecessarily disturb the roofing. Microspikes are the absolute worst of the worst on lean-to roofs. There is a special place in hell for those people.
          Adopt a natural resource. Give back.