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High Peaks Region The 46 ADK High Peaks
Hiking in the Adirondacks
High Peaks Region

High Peaks
Wilderness

 

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The 204,000 acre High Peaks Wilderness is the largest wilderness area in the Adirondacks as well as the most popular destination.  The wilderness contains 34 of the ADK 46ers including the tallest peak in the state, Mount Marcy.  There are seventy lean tos as well as well over 200 miles of hiking trails including the Northville-Placid Trail, which is very popular with backpackers.   

The Range Trail, which travels along the Great Range along some of the ADK 46ers from Mount Marcy to Upper Wolfjaw, has long been considered one of the toughest, the most rugged and the most scenic trail in the state.  This trail traverses eight of the mountain peaks in this area that exceed 4,000 feet  in elevation.  In addition to hundreds of miles of maintained trails, the area features a number of unmaintained trails or sometimes known as herd paths, especially to the summits of some of the ADK 46ers.  Some hikers also explore rock slides on some of the mountains.

The western section of the High Peaks Wilderness gets much less traffic than the eastern region.  The western section includes the popular Northville-Placid Trail as well the Seward Range, featuring four trail less ADK 46ers; Seward Mountain, Seymour Mountain, Mount Donaldson and Mount Emmons.  There are three other trail less ADK 46ers located in the western section of the High Peaks Wilderness along the Santanoni Mountains.  Here you'll find the remote Santanoni Peak, Panther Peak and Couchsachraga Peak.

Although most hikers tend to explore one of the 34 high peaks in the wilderness, there are other destinations worth exploring in the High Peaks Wilderness.  Look below for a list of some of the hikes you can explore in this popular area in the Adirondacks.  We recommend getting the book Discover the Adirondack High Peaks and the Adirondack Park: Lake Placid/ High Peaks (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map #742) to assist in planning your adventure in the High Peaks Wilderness of the Adirondacks. 

Remember that the High Peaks Wilderness has some of the most rugged terrain in New York, so be sure to plan your adventure wisely.  Know your limits and tell a friend of your plans, including when to expect you.  It could save your life.

Access to the High Peaks Wilderness:

The most popular access point to the High Peaks Wilderness is the Adirondack LOJ via Adirondack Lodge Road from NY 73.  The ADK Mountain Club charges a fee to park at the lodge for those not staying there.  The Northville-Placid Trail enters the wilderness from NY 28N near Long Lake. The Newcomb Lake Road (no vehicles allowed on road) at Camp Santanoni near Lake Harris Campground to enter the SW section.  There are also entry points into High Peaks Wilderness via NY 73 (most popular is via Cascade Mountain Trail), Averyville Road via the Northville-Placid Trail and NY 3 (most popular is via Ampersand Mountain Trail). 

Another popular entry point is via the Tahawus Road, especially the Upper Works parking area that gives hikers access to the central plus eastern section of the wilderness from the south.  A new entry will be via Gulf Brook Road to Boreas Ponds (once officially opened by the DEC) and beyond.  Elk Lake Road is another access point from the south with two trails that leave the parking area, one traveling NW (into High Peaks Wilderness) and the other NE (into Dix Mountain Wilderness).  Both trails travel through private property of Elk Lake Preserve and Elk Lake Lodge.  Hikers must stay on the those trails until they reach the state lands.  There is NO CAMPING on Elk Lake Preserve lands.   

A very popular access point is via Adirondack Mountain Reserve - Ausable Club property from a large parking area off NY 73 in Saint Huberts.  Further north along NY 73 is the Rooster Comb parking area.  Here you'll find the best access to the popular Range Trail and much of the eastern section of the wilderness.  The Garden parking area is located at the end of Johns Brook Lane, another overly popular entry point into the eastern part of the High Peaks.  Here you'll find the remote ADK Johns Brook Lodge after hiking 3.5 miles into the wilderness. 

For those looking to explore the western section of the wilderness many use Coreys Road via NY 3 (east of Tupper Lake) to enter the NW section of the High Peaks Wilderness. The pavement ends after 1.2 miles, however the road is still pretty good as a gravel road. At 2.5 miles you reach the bridge over Stoney Creek and the road enters state land.

Large camping areas are located on both sides of the road after you cross the bridge over Stony Creek.  his is a very popular primitive camping area. There are several other turnoffs located off the road that can be used for camping between here and the Seward Range trailhead, which is reached after 5.7 miles of driving on Coreys Road.  No camping is allowed at any of the trailheads. The road is closed in the winter just past the Raquette River trailhead at the metal gate, which also marks the limit of winter maintenance.

ADK 46ers in the High Peaks Wilderness

Mount Marcy Algonquin Peak Mount Haystack Mount Skylight
Gray Peak Iroquois Peak Basin Mountain Gothics
Mount Colden Santanoni Peak Mount Redfield Wright Peak
Saddleback Mountain Panther Peak Table Top Mountain Armstrong Mountain
Seward Mountain Mount Marshall Allen Mountain Big Slide Mountain
Upper Wolfjaw Lower Wolfjaw Street Mountain Phelps Mountain
Mount Donaldson Seymour Mountain Sawteeth Cascade Mountain
Porter Mountain Mount Emmons MacNaughton Mountain Cliff Mountain
Nye Mountain Couchsachraga Peak

Other hikes in the High Peaks Wilderness

Ampersand Mountain Owls Head Rooster Comb Snow Mountain
Indian Pass Duck Hole Site Moose Pond along NPT Moose Pond
Wanika Falls Newcomb Lake Henderson Lake Hudson Headwaters
Plumley Point Shattuck Clearing Dawson Pond Rock Pond
Pickerel Pond Mount Jo Indian Pass Scott Pond & Wallface Ponds
Flowed Lands Lake Colden Hanging Spear Falls Livingston Pond
Cathedral Rocks Snow Mtn & Deer Brook Gorge Little Porter Johns Brook Southside Trail
The Brothers Marcy Dam (Site) Mount VanHoevenberg Whales Tail Notch
Avalanche Lake Boreas Ponds Catlin Bay Stony Creek Ponds

Roostercomb Mountain Trailhead

   

Below is a map with an early look at the future Boreas Ponds area, which will be part of the High Peaks Wilderness

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