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Old 04-03-2017, 03:03 PM   #1
OutdoorEnthusiKess
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Moderate Half/Day Hikes from John Brooks Lodge

Hi! Hubby & I are planning a New England Fall Foliage road trip from Cincinnati, OH. We will try to hit up the Adirondacks first, arriving either Sept 29/30 or Oct 5/6 depending on which week we start our trip. Any suggestions for which timing will give us best chance of foliage? We were thinking of basing ourselves from the Johns Brooks Lodge for 2-3 nights. We'll be arriving at Garden Parking lot in the afternoon on a Friday or Saturday, so we are wondering if parking will be a concern and what alternatives we have (from what I understand shuttle does not run on Friday).

Before booking we are trying to determine if the hikes in this High Peaks area are suitable for us, or if we should camp/AirBnB in another area. We are avid hikers, but just starting to get into mountain hiking. Our most recent trip was through the Canadian Rockies, hitting between 7-11 miles consistently every day (with up to 2800 elevation gain (some of that gained in under 3 miles, but wouldn't want to do this every day...) averaging 4-5 hours. Some of those were just with day packs and others with gear for backcountry huts, similar to what we'd do here. Knowing this is our comfort zone (and willing to train to go a little longer) - any suggestions for hikes from JBLodge or better places to base ourselves? Like most I'm sure, we love sweeping vista views, especially where we can see the fall foliage, and anything along water features. We love sunset hikes if we can do a relatively short and safe return with headlamps.
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:19 PM   #2
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I think you are wise to be thinking of JBL, you can reserve a spot way ahead of time. Plenty of other spaces to camp but knowing you have a reserved spot at the end of the day is reassuring to me. As you point out though parking is a different story.

You could consider camping at the Adirondack Loj or its 'wilderness' campground. You'd have a site or lean-to with parking nearby as well. From the Loj you have a few lakes, avalanche pass, waterfalls, small mountains and big mountains easily accessible. Plus a short walk to flush toilets. And on a Fall weekend some of the true wilderness hike in sites (Marcy Dam, JBL area, Avalanche Camp) may be just as populated (not crowded, but populated) as the Loj Campground.

We hiked into Slide Brook last Columbus Day and the lean to and surrounding area were well populated. For parking we also were super lucky and grabbed the last open spot in the non-overflow lot at Elk Lake trail-head. Prior year similar situation with the Upper Works trail head and Flowed Lands. Both trips worked out well though. In '15 we shared a site for tents and in '16 we had switched to hammocks. Both trips at that time of year were great.

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Old 04-03-2017, 06:45 PM   #3
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You can get a sunset view from Mt Hoevenberg ledges toward the High Peaks over South Meadows.

But it isn't the JBL.
I did it once at sundown and got back to flat land in plenty of time before needing a headlamp. I did need the headlamp to get back to my car.

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Old 04-06-2017, 10:36 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the suggestions!
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Old 04-09-2017, 01:02 AM   #5
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Any other thoughts on the hikes from JBL vs. the Hikes from Adirondak Loj given our hiking preferences? We initially didn't consider the latter since it was full, but if we switch up our days a bit we could stay there instead.
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Old 04-09-2017, 12:12 PM   #6
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Pick up the ADK High Peaks Guidebook and map, it will help a great deal.

From JBL, possibilities include:
Short Job (very short, of course)
Big Slide and Yard
Lower Wolfjaw
Saddleback (kind of at the long end of your range, but not too bad from JBL)
Phelps (via the "illegal" trail from the Klondike LT (not recommending this, just know that it already is well known and gets lots of use)

There are probably a few more possibilities from the ADK Loj, including Wright, Mt Jo, etc.

The ADK Loj (drive in) is a completely different experience from JBL (3.5 mile hike in). So decide which experience you want - the hiking will be good either way.
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Old 04-13-2017, 03:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OutdoorEnthusiKess View Post
Hi! Hubby & I are planning a New England Fall Foliage road trip from Cincinnati, OH. We will try to hit up the Adirondacks first, arriving either Sept 29/30 or Oct 5/6 depending on which week we start our trip. Any suggestions for which timing will give us best chance of foliage? We were thinking of basing ourselves from the Johns Brooks Lodge for 2-3 nights.
Sounds great take me with you! I'm not far off 71! Just kidding of course. Not sure about the exact leaf season, I'd hope those more local would know for sure but I think it is starting by end of Sept but just barely, Oct might be the better dates?

From JBL I'd love to do similar to what I've done before in the area, section hiking the great range in a couple loops, and big slide on the way in or the way out. But the Great Range loops are pretty long and strenuous, I think more than your 7-11 mile example (I think more like 13 miles iirc?) more like 12hr trail time when I did it, I know both nights I was hiking back with a headlamp the last mile or two, but I don't hike very fast and sleep in a bit. Still they were probably my favorite peaks and trips so far.
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