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Old 12-30-2016, 05:35 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2016
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Looking For Short, Scenic Hikes For Day Trip

Hey there everyone! First post here. I'm Brett from Attica, NY. I'm 45 years old and I'm seriously considering a move to the Adirondack region. To start with I'm going to pack up the camper and head to the region in the spring for an extended stay. And to begin preparing for that trip I'm going to start with a one day recon mission to take a look around.

So what I'd like to do is a one day scenic drive with a little hiking/sightseeing along the way. The way I figure it I'm going to leave Attica about 3:30 a.m., hit the Southwest corner of the Adirondacks about sunrise, and drive a gigantic loop up routes 28 and 30 to Lake Placid and then route 73 to I-87 to route 8 and back home. I have a picture of the route here but I'm not sure if I can post a link my first post:

This is a link to the Google Maps version of the route:

So what I'm hoping for is some ideas for a couple of quick hikes along the way. I'm an avid hiker/beginning climber with excellent gear. I'm in great shape and I'll be well prepared, including crampons and some basic climbing gear, cuz who ever knows?

I estimate I'll have about 6 hours to spare to do any sort of hiking along my route. Six hours would leave me exiting the Adirondacks as the sun goes down and the rest of my boring drive will be at night. Perfect.

So if you had 6 hours to spare along that route and you wanted to do a little hiking to see some incredible scenery where would you go? It could be one long hike but I think I'd prefer two or even three shorter hikes. There's just so much to take in I'd like a glimpse of a few different spots I think.

I must say that I'm rather infatuated with deep canyons and big waterfalls. If you were to steer me in that direction I'd almost certainly be thrilled.

And for fun my buddy Odin, a powerful and highly driven 110 pound German Shepherd, is always with me when I go hiking. He even has his own climbing harness and we practice some short climbs and rappels using the ropes on steep terrain. He'd rather just scope the forest for squirrels which is what he does most of the time, but hey, he has to learn the basics of getting through severe terrain in case we ever need to someday. Cuz who ever knows?

So thanks in advance for taking the time to give me a few suggestions for quick day hikes along my route. This is the opening mission in what I expect will become a huge adventure for me.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:46 AM   #2
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Hello Brett,
Welcome to the Forum, I'm sure you'll receive plenty of suggestions soon.
I looked at your loop through my perception, my only choice.
I would skip Lake Placid and instead visit Newcomb and Indian Lake in a two pronged effort.
Near Newcomb is Goodnow Mt. which has (on a clear day) great views of the high peaks. It's a relatively quick climb. Also nearby is the entrance to the Santanoni Preserve, an easy 10 mile in and out XC ski route. Both offer great views.
Back by Indian Lake is the trail to OK Slip falls. The falls are big, and should be impressive in their frozen splendor.
I don't particularly care for the high peaks, but if you have your heart set on passing through that way, a climb up Noonmark would fit your schedule. Again, great views.
Be sure you have snowshoes, maybe skis, definitely microspikes. Know your route, carry a map and compass and sufficient gear for the weather.

Lastly, when you return in the spring, be sure to bring a canoe. Half of the beauty and allure of the ADK's is best seen from a boat.
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Old 12-30-2016, 10:28 AM   #3
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Brett, do the authorities yet know of your time scheule to leave Attica?
For your spring time trip, if you like deep canyons, consider visiting Whetstone Gulf state park, on rte 26 south of Lowville. There is a hiking trail circumnavigating the entire canyon:

A close second is Innman Gulf, closer to Watertown on Rte 177, where Odin can romp at will (great XC skiing too):

Fuerther east, Ausable Chasm, while being geared more to family friendly/touristy, offers both hiking in a deep canyon and cascading waterfalls:

Certainly there are many possibilities to visit a number of waterfalls in more wilderness settings with at least a couple of books on the subject:
Gleasmans falls and trail (a few miles east of Whetstone) is a local gem, lightly traveled, and Odin would love the area and squirrels.


I definitely agree with Stripperguy that much of the Adirondacks is best enjoyed with views from the water with a paddle in your hand.
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:48 AM   #4
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I'd recommend investing in the National Geographic Trails Illustrated maps for the Adirondacks. These will be an invaluable resource in locating hikes that are suggested here, navigating on the trails during hikes, and perhaps even finding a few hikes on your own that no one suggested (this is how the best destinations are always found).

Depending on when exactly you plan your trip, you may need snowshoes for some or all hikes in the Adirondacks. In a normal season, snow sticks around in the forests of the Adirondacks until at least late April at lower elevations, and well into May at higher elevations (and north facing slopes). In the High Peaks, snow can even stick around until early June.

Some relatively easy suggestions on or near your route, working clockwise around your loop:

Bear Lake (south of Old Forge) is a 5 mile round trip hike to a beautiful and somewhat remote little lake with a lean-to (great spot to stop for lunch).

Bald Mountain near Old Forge is a steep but short hike up to a fire tower with impressive views out over the Fulton Chain of Lakes. Nearby, Moss Lake has a short and easy 2.5 mile loop hike around the lake itself. Both of these destinations are fairly popular.

Death Falls, also south of Raquette Lake, is a short and easy quarter mile hike to an impressive waterfall. (Be careful if you decide to climb above the falls, as they are well named!)

Buttermilk Falls, on the south end of Long Lake in Deerland, is also worth checking out. It's a short (~200 foot) hike to a nice waterfall on the Raquette River. The falls would be a great place to stop for a snack or for lunch. Buttermilk Falls were featured in a survival movie set in the Adirondacks (Cold River).

Goodnow Mountain in Newcomb is 4 miles round trip and there are some good views of the High Peaks from the summit. Alternatively, you could check out the Visitor Center at Rich Lake, where there are some short interpretive trails.

Coney Mountain is located along Route 30 between Long Lake and Tupper Lake, and is about 2 miles round trip. There's some nice views from the top, and there's some neat history to the mountain involving Colvin (one of the early surveyors of the Adirondacks).

Bog River Falls, on the south end of Tupper Lake, is a roadside waterfall that is worth stopping to see.

There's a bunch of options on Route 3 between Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. Trombley Landing is a flat, easy hike on an old road to the Raquette River. Panther Mountain is a short and easy hike up a smaller peak. And across the road from the Ampersand Mountain Trail is a flat, easy half mile hike to a beautiful beach on Middle Saranac Lake.

In the Village of Saranac Lake, Baker Mountain is a steep but short hike up a mountain to some nice views of the High Peaks.

North of Lake Placid, Copperas Pond is a steep but short hike to a nice mountain pond.

Owls Head is a smaller peak just off the road between Lake Placid and Keene that has impressive views of the surrounding mountains.

Clements Pond, just north of Keene, is a 3 mile round trip hike to a beautiful and remote-feeling little pond.

Baxter Mountain, off of 9N to the east of Keene, is another steep but short hike with good views.

I would be sure to stop at Roaring Brook Falls and Chapel Pond both as you're passing through St. Huberts. Roaring Brook Falls is near the road while Chapel Pond is right on the road. Both are worth the visit. Nearby, a steep but relatively short hike would take you to Giant's Washbowl, a small pond nestled on the side of Giant Mountain.

East of Schroon Lake, there's a short and easy 1 mile round trip hike to Gull Pond in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. The pond has some nice scenery, with views across to cliffs on the opposite shore. A bit further south, Spectacle Pond is a longer hike to a more remote pond.

There's a couple of short hikes to ponds on the south side of Route 8 where it follows the East Branch of the Sacandaga River (Kibby and Cod Ponds). I've not hiked to them but I've heard these are nice hikes (although the trails may not be easy to follow).

Auger Falls, south of Speculator, is a popular destination. Be careful here, though- people fall and get hurt here all the time.

Echo Cliffs, on the north side of Piseco Lake, provide some nice views out over the lake.

I hope this helps!
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Old 12-30-2016, 05:55 PM   #5
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Wow, thanks a TON guys! That's a ton of great options. I'm going to dig through them tonight and tomorrow morning and see what's there and I'll certainly have more questions then.

Again, thanks so much guys. I really appreciate the time and effort you guys put into it and I'll be digging through each and every one of em.
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:33 PM   #6
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Don't forget one of the specialties of the Adirondacks: big, old trees. Along 7th Lake north of Old Forge is perhaps one of the shortest marked trails to see the Cathedral Pines. It's only .1 (yes, the decimal place is correct) mile with parking along the road. When you get back to Rt. 8 it is worth a drive 7 miles south on Rt. 9 to Pack Demonstration Forest for a mile or so of flat trail through some old trees. It's near the intersection with 28 which follows a section of the Hudson River to get back up to Rt 8.
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Old 01-07-2017, 05:21 AM   #7
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Crane Mountain is one of my favorite hikes in the southern ADKS. You can do it as an out and back or short loop around the pond. Really great views from the top due to a southern facing cliff. Its located off of rt 8 south of Chestertown.
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Banjoe View Post
Don't forget one of the specialties of the Adirondacks: big, old trees. Along 7th Lake north of Old Forge is perhaps one of the shortest marked trails to see the Cathedral Pines. It's only .1 (yes, the decimal place is correct) mile with parking along the road.
I'll second Cathedral Pines. There are quite impressive and definitely worth the short walk. I remember that we couldn't help wondering how the heck the old loggers managed to overlook just that one handful of trees. Certainly glad they did though.
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:19 PM   #9
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Ill 2nd goodnow and buttermilk falls. Another short hike we enjoyed was coney between long lake and tupper. Nice views. Good luck!
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Old 01-08-2017, 01:40 AM   #10
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Yes, I think Goodnow and Buttermilk are both worth checking out too. Buttermilk even if you only a few minutes to spare as it's just off the road and Goodnow if you have a bit more time.

The firetower on the top of Goodnow has a interesting and useful map up in the cab that shows a 360 view corresponding to all the features you are viewing.
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Old 01-10-2017, 01:24 PM   #11
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A good route , though we usually skip the Keene /Placid aspect and go Franklin /Union Falls on way back home, Seems like a lot of driveing , And should stretch it out a little , especially the Old Forge out towards Newcomb ..Enjoy..
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:05 PM   #12
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Just outside of Tupper Lake is the Mt Arab fire tower which is a short and easy hike with great 360 views.
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Old 01-20-2017, 10:39 AM   #13
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Hey guys I finally made it back! Got sidetracked there for a bit but I'm back on track.

Ok so I researched every single idea presented and again I can't thank you guys enough. On my list of finalists so far are:

Goodnow Mt

Roaring Brook Falls

Giant's Nubble via The Ridge Trail

Death Falls

Buttermilk Falls

Baker Mountain

Crane Mountain

Cathedral Pines

All of the ideas were awesome, of course, but because I'd like to squeeze in at least 3 different stops along the way in about a 6 hour window I eliminated a few I really would love to see simply because the hikes were a little too long. There's no such thing as a hike too long, only a hike too long for the window available.

So I'd like to run some new stuff by you guys. I mentioned I intend to bring the camper to the region in the spring and stay indefinitely. I'm considering moving to the region because I really want to get into climbing of all sorts - rock, ice, mixed alpine - whatever you can go up. And I'm also a huge fan of hiking canyons and finding waterfalls of pretty much any dimension.

Well I'm also into homesteading so once I buy my next home I'll be raising animals, which of course need to be cared for everyday. So I really need to live somewhere that I can leave the house in the morning, go cragging or ice climbing or hiking for a while, and return home by dinner or evening again. We simply don't have that luxury in the Western part of the state and taking multi-day excursions to go on climbing trips might be feasible one or two times a year, but not much more than that.

So I've read some of Mudrat's stuff at Adirondack Mountaineering and it seems the High Peaks area has a ton of amazing options for climbing of all sorts. I haven't picked up any guide books yet or done much research on the subject yet so I don't know much beyond that.

So if I'm looking to stay in an area that would give me the greatest number and variety of day trip climbing opportunities, what regions should I consider? If High Peaks is the place to be then the obvious area nearby would seem to be the Keene Valley area. But I'm just pointing at maps right now and throwing darts. I don't know the first thing about living in or around Adirondack Park.

Any thoughts?

And thanks again!
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Old 01-20-2017, 11:02 AM   #14
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Don't overlook farmland regions on the periphery of the Blue Line, such as can be found just outside the western Adirondacks in the area close to the 5 Ponds and Pepperbox Wilderness areas. Follow the arc north from east of Lowville to Croghan and Harrisville. I suspect land prices are far more reasonable than the highly tourist populated desirable interior, and the area hosts better land for homesteading and animals as well. You are still a short drive from a variety of Adirondack activity, and the High Peaks are only a short 2-hr hop away. Other peripheral areas to the northern and eastern side of the Blue Line may offer similar benefits.

As far as hiking resources be sure to peruse the excellent series of trail guide books now edited by Bill Ingersoll: Discover the Adirondacks Series, which includes not only trail information, but plenty of interesting historical tidbits as well:
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
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Old 01-21-2017, 10:24 PM   #15
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Thanks Wldrns! I'll look that area up and see what I can find out.

I just ordered the guidebook 'Adirondack Rock' to see what I can learn about the known climbing routes around the region. That will help me figure out which areas to maybe focus on when I'm looking for a place to camp this spring anyhow.
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Old 01-22-2017, 12:02 PM   #16
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Auger Falls

Auger Falls is a short trip and right on your way.
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