View Full Version : Trip in High Peaks Adirondacks

02-27-2004, 11:13 AM
Planning a 4-5 day backpacking trip in the High Peaks Wilderness region of the Adirondacks this August. Thinking of starting at the Adirondack Loj at Heart Lake. Day one - heading to Lake Colden via Algonquin. Would like to summit other 46'ers during the trip including Mt. Marcy. Any thoughts/recommendations as to an itinerary for the rest of my trip?

02-27-2004, 11:30 AM
mcleo -

Taking full packs over Algonquin might be a real bear, esp. if you're going down the backside trail to Lake Colden. I've done that trail once (with a daypack) and hated every minute of it. It would probably be easier to hike in through Avalanche Pass on your first day. If you don't go that way - make sure you do hike through the pass at somepoint - it is amazing. Also check out Mt. Colden and Skylight. Both are great summits.

On a gear note - make sure you bring bear cannisters for ALL your food AND trash. The bear problem at both Marcy Dam and Lake Colden grows each year. The only true way to keep your food sake (IMHO) is a bear cannister.


02-27-2004, 11:44 AM
Thanks for the recommendations. I have a bear cannister and two in the group have bear bags. Maybe we'll avoid the popular spots when we select our camping spots.

Is the trail from Algonquin to Lake Colden totally vertical and treacherous or just steep? Our group has packed over some rough terrain in the past (last summer we did a four day trek through the Grand Tetons - Teton Crest Trail in July w/snow) but we are not rock climbers.

Thanks again

02-27-2004, 12:16 PM
Is the trail from Algonquin to Lake Colden totally vertical and treacherous or just steep?

It's just steep. The top section has been worn down to bare rock. You also have to cross the same brook about 5 times. The trail is definitely doable with a full pack, but would be much easier with just a daypack.

I'll also mention because it is worth being posted twice, the bears in the area are horrible. If you hang a bear bag they will probably find it and take it down.

02-27-2004, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by mcleodjones
Maybe we'll avoid the popular spots when we select our camping spots.

There's no camping above 4,000 feet and no fires anywhere in that area of the high peaks region, so plan accordingly :).

Strong hikers can get Skylight, Marcy, and Gray in the same day. Alogonquin, Iroquois, and Wright can also be done as day trips/loops.

02-27-2004, 03:44 PM
Thank you for all of the advice. I've read that there is no camping above 4,000 feet....hopefully there are plenty of designated spots between 3,500 and 4,000 feet and spots below 3,500 with the yellow DEC discs.

Once I get my copy of the Guide to the Adirondack Trails: High Peaks Region I expect I'll be able to figure out a route to hit all of the spots you all mentioned in these threads. Do any of you know offhand if the High Peaks guide shows leanto's/tent camping spots on its foldout topo map?

02-27-2004, 03:50 PM
It's a pretty steep decent from Algonquin to the lakes and I wouldn't recommend it with full packs. It is doable but doesn't seem too fun for the first day of many. I have backpacked the Teton Crest and thought the trail to be much more stable than the trail down Algonquin or many high peak trails for that matter.

02-27-2004, 06:31 PM
The newest ADK High Peaks region map (2003 version) has numerous markers for lean-tos, campsites, and campgrounds on the "South" side covering the major hiking areas south of Rt. 73. You will also see the red markers indicating the boundary between the eastern zone (no campfires and other restrictions) and west. The campsites are fairly concentrated and are limited except in valleys & on thru trails.

Camping restrictions are less severe (fires allowed) and the people density is far lower elsewhere including several areas with some 4000 ft. peaks. Depending on your preference for many high peaks, or less people, you can pick the right area.

02-27-2004, 09:06 PM
i did this last july with a full pack (40lbs) and it wasn't to difficult. don't forget wright on you way up or you'll be kicking yourself later. this was during a wind and rain storm so be prepared, it was raining up our tops on the summits.

colden lake is a very popular area so get there early if you want to get a lean-to, the tent sites are nice.

his area is bear country in the summer and they like people. these people had there pack hanging at the cable hang and there was a group of 3 squirells that ran sacked there food. one climbed up to the pack and chewed through and was throwing the food down to the 2 on the ground. when we tried to shew them away they stood there ground and came at us!!!

i'll be in this area next weekend at just the right time, during hibernation season.

02-27-2004, 09:48 PM
as far as I know (and I could be wrong...) there aren't many sites between 3500' and 4000' in the Lake Colden area. If I were you, I'd stay either at the Uphill Brook or Feldspar Brook. From there you can do Algonquin/Wright/Iroquois, Gray/Marcy/Skylight, Haystack, Colden, Phelps/Tabletop. And it will be less crowded and probably less people. Just my two cents.


02-29-2004, 06:52 PM
mcleodjones -

My first ever five day-er in the Adirondacks started at the Loj over Algonquin (got Wright and Iroquois) and camped at Lake Colden. Day 2 up the Feldspar Brook trail to Skylight and camped at Panther Brook (I would recommend getting at least Gray). Day 3 was a tough one - up the backside of Haystack, over Basin and Saddleback to the Ore Bed Brook lean-to. Day 4 based out of the OBB LT, circuited LWJ, UWJ, Armstrong and Gothics (recommend getting Sawteeth if you're up for it). Day 5 up the Phelps Trail, bagged Marcy and out. If you are really feeling good, get Tabletop and/or Phelps. Big trip, lots of peakbagging, great memories.

Go get 'em and good luck.