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10 Adirondack Spring Hikes: Adirondack High Peaks to Climb During the Mud Season

Posted by Michael Peterson on
10 Adirondack Spring Hikes: Adirondack High Peaks to Climb During the Mud Season
Spring is here and warm weather and Mud Season are right around the corner. We know all of you want to get out there and get some hikes in and enjoy it but let's make sure we take care of Mother Earth and the Adirondack Park. 

Before we get started on the our list always remember before you go out to check the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website contains additional information on Trail conditions in the Adirondacks or you may contact the DEC Forest Rangers at (518)- 897-1300

We have also included some of our friends in Instagram that have hiked these locations in the past be sure to check out their handle under the pictures!

Cascade & Porter Mountain
View from the top of Cascade by @mattcdonofrio
Cascade to Porter Mountain Trail is a 5.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Placid, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
4,098 feet, Cascade Mountain (ADK #36 @ 4,098') and Porter (ADK #38 @ 4,059') are two of the easier high peak trails and very popular.

The Cascade Trail can be steep st times with a few easy rock scrambles but it is not an overly tough trail.  There is an excellent waterfall along the trail and amazing views at the summit.  You can turn around and head back down or continue on to Porter for another High Peak.  The trail to Porter is not as heavily traveled and offers some excellent woods.

These two 46er's are a good start for you list as they are right off Rt. 73.

This 4,098' tall peak along with it's neighbor Porter at 4,084 are great starter peaks for aspiring 46ers as they are close to the road and an relatively easy climb, albeit steep.  When you get to the junction and you are tired take the time to rest on Cascade and continue on to Porter as this is the easiest way to get both mountains.
Ampersand Mountain
View from the top by @ciaragoesbeck
Ampersand Mountain Trail is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Saranac Lake, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until March. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
This hike is not one of the 46's but at 3352' Ampersand is a fun, challenging hike with great views from the top. Some steep, tough areas with rock face and some bouldering but it is well worth it.
Big Slide
Chillen at the top with @wcourt9
Big Slide Mountain via The Brothers is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Keene Valley, New York that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October.

See Recent Trip Reviews & Directions Here
Baker Mountain
Baker Mountain in the fall by @chriswhite001
Baker Mountain is a 1.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Saranac Lake, New York that features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Mount Baker is a .9 mile hike (1.8 round trip) that can be done with the whole family and rewards you with a spectacular view.

Starting from the north end of Moody Pond you will start climbing almost immediately. The trail is a bit steep but offers great views as you ascend further. At 0.6 miles from the trailhead, an intersection offers part of an upper mountain loop. Left is a less aggressive climb and avoids the steep ledges that can be found if you head right. Both finish at the summit of Baker. The loop makes for a great hike option.

The summit of Baker offers great views over the Village of Saranac Lake, the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area and toward the High Peaks Region. Be sure you are on the marked trail when you leave.
Pitchoff Mountain
Posing at the peak with @akulasruti
Pitchoff Mountain and Balancing Rocks Trail is a 7.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Keene, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
This rocky ridge parallels NY 73 and provides excellent views of the High Peaks wilderness to the south. This can be done as an end-to-end hike with two cars-or park at one end and catch a ride to the other or it can be done as in and back out from the one side or the other.

This is an enjoyable hike for all skill levels that offers excellent views into the High Peaks.  There are several steep rock scrambles so be prepared during wet and icy conditions.

A fun hike up Pitchoff Mountain past some glacial erratics left behind called the "Balancing Rocks" area.  The summit ridge has great views over all the high peaks too.  This is a great hike for any season, just watch out if it is icy up on the rocks on the way up.
Haystack Mountain
Epic shot by @shanehausmann
Haystack Mountain Trail is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ray Brook, New York that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until March. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
From the trailhead start a mellow hike through an attractive forest passing below Little Burn Mountain to your right. As the terrain begins to climb the footing remains very nice. Eventually you will swing hard north and follow closer to a stream on your left. The climbing begins to kick in as you approach the Haystack Mountain Trail on the left. From here you will cross a dam and begin a much more aggressive climb. The terrain steepens considerably and the footing becomes much more eroded. Views begin to appear as you climb higher and top out at an open rock ledge.
Mckenzie Mountain
Dabbin at the summit with @deborahalden

McKenzie Mountain Jack Rabbit Trail  is a 6.4 mile out and back trail located near Lake Placid, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
McKenzie Mountain is a 3,861-foot (1,177m) mountain in western Essex County in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness area which spans an area of 36,200 acres.

This loop trail starts near the Whiteface Inn Lane in Lake Placid at the trailhead for the Jack Rabbit Ski trail.  This trail continues for 1.9 miles where it meets up with the junction for McKenzie Pond, Route 86 or McKenzie summit.   Up until this point the grade is light.  Once you reach the junction  the red markers direct you towards the summit and the trail soon begins a very steep climb over several false summits, some with excellent views.  At 3.5 miles you reach the summit.  You can turn around or continue down the backside trail (SOA) which descends steeply at first and then includes a nice gradual walk through the woods, down to the lake and eventually back out onto the road which is a short run to the original trailhead.
Giant Mountain via Ridge Trail
Epic views by @aidanfahle
Giant Mountain via Ridge Trail is a 5.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Keene Valley, New York that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and nature trips and is best used from June until March.
A moderate hike over varied terrain including open rock areas and several false peaks before you reach the summit.  

There are two trails - one slightly longer but less steep and one that is shorter but steeper.  The views from the summit into the High Peaks region are excellent.  You can also access Rocky Peak Ridge as part of your day hike - the mileage for this additional hike is not included in this total.
Marcy Dam Trail
Marcy dam shot by @magznificentt
Marcy Dam Trail is a 4.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Placid, New York that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from February until November.
This trail is rocky and full of up and down.  Great views at the end and opportunities to link up to other trails to utilize different routs on the way in or out.

This trail is mostly made up of an access road to Marcy Dam.  It can be a nice summer hike but is best suited for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  The trail is full of up and down so it can be a lot of fun for intermediate and expert skiers, but it can be a real handful for beginners because there will be many falls coming down the curvy slopes.
Noonmark Mountain
Great shot from the top by @linnearuth
Noonmark Mountain Trail is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Keene Valley, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October.
Have any hikes that you like to take during the spring? Leave them in the comments below!

Also if you have any interest in writing articles like this be sure to send us an email, we are currently looking for contributors to send us hiking stories, reviews and guides!

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