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Old 08-27-2019, 02:19 PM   #5
DSettahr's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5,453
The forecast for the holiday weekend is looking pretty decent- showers on Sunday afternoon but most people leave the backcountry on Sunday of the Labor Day weekend anyways. Accordingly, expect that the backcountry is going to be a 3 ring circus for the holiday weekend, with any backcountry tenting area looking (and feeling) far more like an Ewok village after the destruction of the second Death Star than like a remote Wilderness Area full of solitude.

I would not expect to get a parking spot at the trailhead at noon this Friday. Almost certainly you'll need to park at the overflow lot- so plan on likely hiking the extra 2 miles (one way). Day hikers will likely have filled up this lot by early to mid morning.

The lean-to you're referencing is the Lillian Brook Lean-to. The Lillian Brook herd path branches off about a quarter mile south of the lean-to, on top of the hill (if you're looking for it, you'll see the herd path before getting to the lean-to). The 3 tent sites are a short distance beyond the lean-to- 2 on the south side of Lillian Brook, 1 on the north side. I'd say that you have OK (maybe even good) but not great chances of finding an open site at the Lillian Brook Lean-to (or associated tent sites) by hiking in early afternoon on Friday. Remember also that DEC policy is that tent sites (in addition to lean-tos) should be shared between groups when necessary- so expect that you may very well end up sharing space in a tent site with other users.

The forest around Dix Pond is pretty thick, and there are no designated tent sites there either, so I think you'd have a hard time finding a spot there if everything is filled up at Lillian Brook. Note that the site on the Hunter's Pass Trail just north of the junction with the Beckhorn Trail is not legal- it's less than 150 feet from both trail and water and it's not designated.

There is open forest about half a mile up the Hunter's Pass Trail, on the west side of the trail, where you could make the 150 foot thing work. It'd mean some extra distance if you're doing the loop, but it'd honestly not be all that much extra effort. I'd caution against fires if you're not at any site with an established and safe fire pit.

I'd also take note that according to the NYSDEC, bear canisters are now required in the Dix Mountain Area for overnight food storage. I'd avoid BearVault brand canisters especially- they've failed repeatedly in the High Peaks (and under the new regs due out next year, will no longer be compliant with the bear canister regulations).

You mention using Gaia GPS but don't mention if you have a paper map. If you don't have a physical map, I'd strongly encourage you to pick one up before your trip. The Adirondack Mountain Club map for the High Peaks is up to date, shows the locations of lean-tos and designated tent sites better than Gaia does, and is waterproof to boot. It's OK to use a GPS as your primary means of navigation but you absolutely need a physical map as a backup for when (not if) your GPS fails.
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