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jhart77 07-10-2017 07:38 AM

Best peak for children?
I am planning on a hike Saturday (7/15/17) and will be bringing my 9 year old son, who has never hiked a high peak before. Any suggestions for the one that would be the most kid friendly? I've already done Cascade/Porter, so I'd like to try a different one.

AvalanchePass 07-10-2017 07:59 AM

Mt. Jo?

Here's a list of possibilities. Note that Owl's Head is only available on weekdays.

All Downhill From Here 07-10-2017 10:21 AM

Whiteface? The ski stuff/castle thing at the top might be a cool bonus for a 9 year old.

AvalanchePass 07-10-2017 01:47 PM

Sorry, missed the fact that you said "High Peak".

After Cascade and Porter, the boys and I (ages 8 and 10) did Big Slide.

We did a loop descending to JBL area but it's shorter if you come back over the three Brothers.

jhart77 07-10-2017 03:43 PM

Yep, I'd like to do a high peak if possible. I'm not nearly as familiar with them as I'd like to be. I think in the book I have it said the Big Slide was like 10 miles, which might be a bit much. I also wasn't sure when it said that it descended to the JBL area how that would work as far as parking was concerned. Can you clarify where to park and all that for your "shorter" version?

Hard Scrabble 07-10-2017 03:47 PM

Mount Jo is a nice trip for kids.

AvalanchePass 07-10-2017 04:19 PM


Originally Posted by jhart77 (Post 260228)
Yep, I'd like to do a high peak if possible. I'm not nearly as familiar with them as I'd like to be. I think in the book I have it said the Big Slide was like 10 miles, which might be a bit much. I also wasn't sure when it said that it descended to the JBL area how that would work as far as parking was concerned. Can you clarify where to park and all that for your "shorter" version?

Big Slide is 3.9 miles one way from The Garden parking lot. You can return the same way or make it a loop via the Slide Mountain Brook Trail.

Parking lot will likely be full Saturday, in which case you would need to utilize the shuttle.

saabrian 07-10-2017 04:29 PM

Depends on the kid. My friend has a 10 year old who is already a 46er. But you know your son's level best. Big Slide might be a good one.

Hear the Footsteps 07-10-2017 10:00 PM

Phelps might be a good choice. A little over 8 miles round trip. More than 1/2 the is on fairly level terrain.

ADKREDBEARD 07-12-2017 01:37 PM

Giant is a good summit for a first timer. Short and sweet from chapel pond but be prepared for some elevation gain. Also some good rock scrambles to make things fun for him. If you can't decide on a high peak hike Hurricane mtn and get him a firetower under his belt. Enjoy.

SESZOO 07-17-2017 05:03 PM

For inexpierienced kids I'd try the VIC in Paul Smiths , They have some easy trails for the kids ,also a fire tower trail at St Regis just down from the college, Not High peaks but easy on the kids to see if they're into it or not..

TCD 07-17-2017 07:37 PM

This is very confusing.

jhart77 and Jennhart, are you the same person? Looks like it.

Posting the same question under two different user IDs in three different forums within a period of a few days creates a lot of confusion. Folks here are very helpful (most of the time...) and genuinely want to try to help when people post questions, but this is becoming a cluster...

And I think the consensus is "start with something short, level, easy and fun." If the bug bites, there will be time to do more ambitious hikes.

Good luck with the hike!

jhart77 07-20-2017 03:51 PM

Thanks to everyone for their replies. To clarify, I am jhart77 and my wife is jennhart. I had posted the original question and she was trying to clarify if Giant or Phelps were too dangerous or not.

So, what we ended up doing was going up Mount Jo on Saturday and then Giant on Sunday. Giant didn't turn out as well as we'd hoped, but it wasn't because of him at all, it was because I DIDN'T understand one of the signs, and we ended up about a mile out of our way at the peak of Nubble, which was beautiful as well.

We did backtrack and start to head up Giant, but simply ran out of time. We hiked for about an hour more, but we were still a good hour and a half or 2 hours from the peak and it was 4:00 with rain in the forecast, so we headed down.

Besides stopping for breaks a little more often than I probably would have, he did awesome and loved every minute of it.

Thanks again!

gebbyfish 07-20-2017 06:42 PM

I've always wondered about the Nubble, but never went over it. Glad I didn't, since it cost you time. I think Phelps would be a better one for a child's first hike. Giant has some tricky steep rock. Glad you did Mt. Jo. It replicates a lot of what you will see on a High Peak hike, but in a much smaller portion. Happy to hear that your little one did well with the weekend. You'll get it next time!

TCD 07-20-2017 10:51 PM

I'm glad you had a good trip! The Nubble is a very worthwhile destination! When we don't have time for a full size hike, the Nubble is often on our list; we have been up there countless times. It's a moderate hike, with excellent, dramatic views. Glad you got to experience it.

jhart77 03-23-2021 12:46 PM

Big Slide Loop or out and back?
We are going to be staying near the Garden Trailhead next month and are going to hike Big Slide this time.

Recommendations on going out and back over the Brothers versus the Loop Trail.

We are also going to be staying with a family that wants to do a much shorter and easier hike. Would they be better off trying the first Brother, or heading towards Johns Brook Lodge?

Thank you!

TCD 03-23-2021 02:25 PM

Loops are always more fun; I recommend looping.

If your friends want the shorter version, where they will turn back part way and you will continue, definitely go to First Brother. That way they get a nice high point with views. The trail to JBL is a fine walk, but nothing special.

Watch condition reports as it gets closer. "Next month" might look like summer in some years, but in other years you might still want to bring microspikes for some sections.

DSettahr 03-23-2021 02:36 PM

By next month, do you mean April? You'll almost certainly need to be prepared for snow and ice, especially up high. Microspikes and even snowshoes very well may still be necessary (remember snowshoes are required by regulation in the High Peaks). Even down low may still be no walk in the park if you're trying to find easier options for the family you're staying with.

Spring is a hard time of year to prepare for, especially well in advance. How quickly the snow and ice melts depends on a ton of different variables, and it is different from year to year. Some years, snowshoes are still necessary in the High Peaks even as late at Memorial Day weekend. It's also worth pointing out that the snow and ice often finishes melting from the trail surfaces themselves last (since hiker traffic has been packing the snow down into a solid ribbon of ice all winter long).

Spring is very much the season of "hope for the best, but go prepared for the worst."

Keep in mind also that after the snow melts is mud season- and this is the time of year when hiking traffic can cause extra damage to the trails (soil erosion). The DEC will often issue a hiking advisory for this time of year, asking hikers to stay off of steeper trails in the High Peaks to help minimize the potential for added impacts.

My advice in any case would be to plan a stop into the Mountaineer shortly after your arrival in the area, to get updated backcountry conditions info and to rent any necessary gear for hikes if needed (snowshoes, etc.).


In terms of answering your questions specifically:

The Brothers is definitely the more direct route to- and from- Big Slide. Coming down over the Brothers does mean some elevation gain but not a whole lot, and it's definitely the easier retreat than taking the longer way out via Johns Brook. I would say go up via the Brothers, and then see how you're feeling- if you're up for a longer hike out, take the loop. If you're feeling a bit tired and want to err on the side of caution, return via the Brothers.

In terms of easier hikes for the other family- I think a lot depends on their willingness to deal with snow (rent snowshoes at the mountaineer?) as well as just what the snow conditions are during your visit (and again, it's hard to say this far out exactly what those conditions will be). JBL is an OK hike but it's still a solid 6 miles round trip and if there's still snow and ice down low- that could be a lot for someone not used to hiking on snowshoes. Plus there's also even easier trips in the vicinity.

Some other easier options include:

Round Pond: It's a pretty short hike into Round Pond via the Dix trail. This is a beautiful little pond that escapes a lot of the "chaos" of the Keene Valley/St. Huberts region despite being pretty close to the road.

The Ausable Club: The East and West River trails provide access along the Ausable River with nice views. Plus there's a number of crossover trails so they could temper the distance as needed pretty easily. (Just gotta remember there's the added road walk from the parking area to the trailhead, and no dogs.)

Giant's Washbowl: It's a steep (but relatively short) climb up to the Washbowl but the trail ascends a south facing slope and the Washbowl isn't that high up, so it's possible that the trail could be free of snow and ice by the time you visit. (If there is still snow/ice, this may not be very beginner friendly at all.)

Shingletree Pond: This one is down near exit 30 on the Northway. There's a relatively short hike that starts at Courtney Pond off of Rt 9, continues through a culvert under the Northway, and ends at Shingletree Pond. This one is also even lower in elevation so it's more likely to be snow/ice free.

Clements Pond: This one is up north of Keene. It's a 3 mile round-trip hike to a secluded pond in the Wilmington Wild Forest. Despite not being far from Keene, this hike also escapes much of the high traffic that plagues many of the other hikes in the area.

tenderfoot 03-23-2021 08:51 PM

I was on Northville Lake Placid trail south of Piseco Sat 3/20/21 and can share that there was a good foot of snow still in the woods. And Piseco is I believe lower than the high peaks. My spikes stayed on the pack and it was showshoeing all the way.

I also echo the sentiment of going up the Brothers. The view as you go is fantastic.

2505 03-24-2021 11:31 AM

I would also vote for Brothers, if they are strong hikers. The views along the way keep it interesting, with lots of fun scrambling. My kids (then <10) thought the woods after the Bros looked like "Hobbitland". Do it late summer when blueberries are ripe and you can feast on the opening couple of miles.

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