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Hikes Outside the Adirondack High Peaks

photo of Adirondacks in autumn

The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain and the Dix Mountains are the most heavily used backcountry area in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. There is significant congestion and few opportunities for solitude. Trailhead parking lots and interior campsites reach capacity on many weekends throughout the hiking season.

The large number of visitors has resulted in trail erosion and damage to vegetation in heavily used areas, many nearby areas continue to see relatively light use, less trail damage and improved opportunities for solitude.

The following hikes offer excellent opportunities for hikers preferring to seek alternates to many of the high use trails. They provide a hiking experience similar to a High Peaks hike, including great scenic views, but with fewer people.

Rocky Peak

The East Trail in the Giant Mountain Wilderness ascends 6.7 miles and 3,600 feet from the trailhead on Route 9N to the 4,420-foot summit of Rocky Peak Ridge and its 360 degree view. Much of the trail is along an open rocky ridge with constant views of the mountains, forests and waters to the north, east and southeast. There are several renowned points along the way to stop and enjoy the magnificent surrounding scenery including Blueberry Cobbles, at the 1.9 mile mark; Bald Mountain at the 3.9 mile mark; the remote and picturesque Marie Louis Pond at the 6.1 mile mark. The summit provides views of the Sentinel Range, Hurricane Mountain, Lake Champlain and the surrounding valley, the Green Mountains of Vermont, Dix Mountains, the Great Range, eastern High Peaks, and nearby Giant Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.1499°N, 73.6268°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Baxter Mountain

This trail in the Hammond Pond Wild Forest ascends 1.0 mile and 725 feet from the trailhead on the State Route 9N to the 2,400-foot summit with 360 degree views which includes the Sentinel Range, Hurricane Mountain, Giant Mountain, the Dix Mountains, eastern High Peaks, and nearby Giant Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.2205°N, 73.7492°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Owl's Head Lookout

The North Trail in the Giant Mountain Wilderness ascends 2.5 miles and 1,110 feet from the trailhead on State Route 9N to a 0.1-mile spur trail that ascends 150 feet to the 2,530 feet lookout point. The lookout provides scenic views of Hurricane Mountain, the Boquet River Valley, Lake Champlain and the surrounding valley, the Green Mountains of Vermont and nearby Giant Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.2119°N, 73.6788°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

The Crows

This trail in the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness ascends 0.9 mile and 845 feet and 0.9 mile from the Hurricane Road Trailhead to the 2,535-foot summit of Little Crow Mountain. The summit of 2,815-foot summit of Big Crow Mountain is located 0.6 mile and 280 feet further up the trail. There are numerous scenic views from ledges along the way and the summit. Hikers can descend 0.5 mile from Big Crow Mountain to the Crow's Clearing Trailhead to a vehicle or hike O'Toole Road and Hurricane Mountain Road for a 3.5 mile loop hike back to that trailhead. Trailhead Coordinates: (Hurricane Road: 44.2583°N, 73.7529°W) (Crow's Clearing: 44.2609°N, 73.7330°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Whiteface Mountain

The Whiteface Landing Trail in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness ascends 6.0 miles and 3,320 feet from the trailhead on State Route 86 to the 4,867-foot summit and its 360 degree views. The first 2.5 miles from the trailhead to the Whiteface Landing on the shores of Lake Placid ascends only 310 feet. The summit provides views of Lake Champlain, Lake Placid, the Green Mountains of Vermont, the High Peaks region, and a large portion of the northeastern Adirondacks. Those seeking a much shorter hike to the summit can drive the recently renovated Whiteface Mountain Veteran's Memorial Highway (fee required) to a parking area near the summit and hike the 0.15 mile trail ascending 200 feet to the summit. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.3002°N, 73.9302°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Scarface Mountain

This trail in the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest ascends 3.3 miles and 1,400 feet from a trailhead on the Old Ray Brook Road to an open area .35 mile and 80 feet below the summit. The open area provides views of the western High Peaks, the Saranac Lake Chain of Lakes, McKenzie Mountain and more. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.2981°N, 74.0835°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Copperas & Owen Ponds

This trail in the Sentinel Range Wilderness extends 1.7 miles between two trailheads located on State Route 86. The trail ascends 450 feet for 0.5 mile to shore and clear waters of Copperas Pond and then continues 0.7 miles to the shores of Owen Pond. The trail provides views of the scenic wilderness ponds, their picturesque shorelines and 3,616-foot Stewart Mountain and 3,892-foot Kilburn Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.3349°N, 73.9003°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain

The Observer's Trail in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest ascends 1.9 miles and 1,280 feet from the trailhead off State Route 9 to the 2,162-foot summit with 360 degree views and a fire tower. Views from the summit include the Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and much of the northeastern Adirondacks. The trailhead is just 5 miles south of Exit 33 of the Northway (I-87). Trailhead Coordinates: 44.4019°N, 73.5029°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Catamount Mountain

This trail in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest ascends 1.8 miles and 1,540 feet from the trailhead on Forestdale Road to 3,168 feet bedrock summit. The hike includes one steep and exposed scramble. The view from summit includes Taylor Pond, Silver Lake, Union Falls Pond, the Wilmington Range, the Stephenson Range and Whiteface Mountain. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.4431°N, 73.8799°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Silver Lake Mountain

This trail in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest ascends 0.9 mile and 900 feet from the trailhead on the Silver Lake Road. The summit offers views of Silver Lake, McKenzie Mountain, Moose Mountain, Taylor Pond, Catamount Mountain, Whiteface Mountain and the Wilmington Range. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.5110°N, 73.8483°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Bear Den Mountain

This trail in the Whiteface Mountain Intensive Use Area ascends 1.6 miles and 1,160 feet from a trailhead near the parking area for Kid Campus of the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area to the 2,400-foot summit of Bear Den Mountain. The trail is part of the Flume Trail Network and is open to the public for day use free of charge. Bikes are allowed on the first 0.4 mile of the trail. The summit provides views of the West Branch Ausable River Valley, the Sentinel Range and the Stephenson Range. Parking at Kids Campus is free. Overnight parking is prohibited. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.3595°N, 73.8576°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Cobble Lookout

This trail in the Wilmington Wild Forest extends 1.3 miles with little change in elevation from a trailhead on Gillespie Drive (aka Franklin Falls Road) to a large rocky ledge with views of nearby Whiteface Mountain, and across the Ausable River drainage to Jay Mountain, Hurricane Mountain, and many other peaks. Trailhead Coordinates: 44.4040°N, 73.8789°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Clements Pond

This trail in the Wilmington Wild Forest ascends 1.5 miles and 650 feet from a trailhead on Styles Brook Road to the shores of Clement Pond where hikers can enjoy views of the scenic pond, shoreline and nearby 2,550-foot Clement Mountain. The trailhead is across the road from the parking area. Trailhead Parking Area: 44.3010N°, 73.7672°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)