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High Peaks Wilderness

Mount Donaldson


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Mount Donaldson is located in the Seward Mountain Range in the High Peaks Wilderness of the Adirondacks.  There is no maintained trail to the 4108 foot summit, which has what may be the best views from the range from a small ledge.  Most who hike to the summit of Mount Donaldson are those looking to join the ADK 46er club and also hike to Seward Mountain plus Mount Emmons, which are part of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks as well.  Seymour Mountain is usually done as well, however it cannot be linked via hiking the other three mountains and should be done separately.

The Seward Mountain Range is located in a very remote area within the High Peaks Wilderness.  Be sure to be fully prepared before hiking in this rugged area.  It is a long five mile hike just to get to the herd path from the Corey's Road trailhead.  Many use the Ward Brook Lean To or Blueberry Lean To as a base camp to conquer the Seward's.  There are four of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks in the Seward Mountain Range, Seward Mountain, Mount Donaldson, Mount Emmons and Seymour Mountain.  These are probably four of the toughest peaks to summit of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks.

There are two ways that hikers use to summit Seward Mountain, Mount Donaldson and Mount Emmons.  The first is via the Coreys Trail at the bridge about 0.2 miles after Coreys Trail joins a truck trail.  There is a well defined herd path that starts just past the bridge where there should be a cairn on the right hand side marking the start of the heard path.  The trail crisscrosses the brook a number of times avoiding mud holes and the occasional blow down. After the brook runs out you should reach the summit wall of Seward.  Simply follow it to the left until you can climb up and over it to the summit ridge.

As you hike along the ridge a path forks off to the right that leads to a boulder with views off toward the Saranac Lakes. The main herd path continues straight ahead into dense growth, descends a bit and then climbs up a rock toward the left.  The summit is just ahead with some views as you continue on toward Mount Donaldson.

From Seward Mountain, herd paths descend south toward Mount Donaldson, there is open rock with spectacular views out toward Donaldson and Emmons.  Before reaching the summit, the herd path splits with a trail that goes right about 75 feet to a small lookout to the west.  The main trail that goes left rises passing the summit.  From Mount Donaldson you follow the ridge, except going west around the occasional blow down to reach Mount Emmons.  Retrace your steps to return.  DO NOT attempt Seymour Mountain from here! The descent into Ouluska Pass is complicated and dangerous due to cliffs and major blow down.

The second option to reach these three ADK 46ers is from the west. Take Coreys Trail 1.2 miles to Calkins Brook Trail.  Turn right and follow Calkins Brook Trail 2.1 miles to the right bank of Calkins Brook.  The herd path follows the brook for about 0.3 miles before crossing and proceeding another 0.2 miles where it climbs steeply to join an old lumber road that ascends on a moderate grade.  You'll cross two streams before entering an area of blow down.  Head in a generally left direction through the blow down until it gets a bit easier after 0.5 miles.  You reach the ridge herd path at about 3 miles after leaving the marked trail on Calkins Brook.  You are about 0.2 miles north of the summit of Mount Donaldson.


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