View Full Version : Dixes / Dial / Colvin - Suggestions?

08-06-2004, 09:23 AM
I am planning a 3+ day trip to take on the Dix Range, Dial and Nippletop, and the Colvin Range with the trip starting from Elk Lake (trip plan below). My biggest problem with the plan is coming back to Elk Lake from Blake/Pinnacle. Is there an alternative to the trails that lead north & northwest from the ridge down to Upper Ausable Lake and then west/southwesterly to catch up with the Elk Lake/Marcy Trail? It seems to be a long way around (several additional miles) when Pinnacle is a much shorter distance from Elk Lake - at least as the crow files. Is there a bushwack option off Pinnacle (peak_bgr mentioned one it seems some time ago) or Blake, or am I out of luck since much of that land would be Elk Lodge Private Property?

Any other thoughts about the trip would be welcomed!

Happy Hiking,

Trip Plan:
Day 0: 2.3 mile Hike from Elk Lake to Slide Brook Lean To
Day 1: ~9miles Macomb West Slide, South Dix, East Dix, South Dix, Hough, Dix and Down Dix Trail to Bouquet Rive Lean To near Dial Pond
Day 2: ~6miles Up Gravestone Brook to Connect with Leach Trail over Dial and Nippletop, Down to Elk Pass for Camping
Day 3: ~11miles Gill Brook Trail Over Colvin and Blake to Pinnacle, Down Trail to N/NW Connecting with Trail at SW End of Upper Ausable Lake, Connecting with Elk Lake Marcy Trail Near Panorama Bluff, Back to Elk Lake

08-06-2004, 10:46 AM
I don't know of any other established routes back out to Elk lake from Blake. I've heard of bushwacks to Blake from the east. My guess is PinPin would know :p.

That last day looks like a LONG day with a full pack.

08-06-2004, 11:25 AM

Yeah, I am thinking that last day is going to be long. Given that the whole trip will be with a full pack I suspect it will be brutal. And if you have ever seen my pack or read my jokes about how my hiking partner carries very little then you know I will be toting 50+ lbs.

But still, I was up for the idea until I saw how close Pinnacle is to the upper stretches of Elk Lake. The thought of having to go the long way around after standing on Pinnacle looking back to Elk Lake is a real bummer.

Oh well, if thats the way its got to be...then I will just whine more on the way out...make that an extra thick Coffee shake at the Noonmark please! :D

08-06-2004, 07:49 PM
Hi Bgatie.

We do not recommande this trip with a bid pack!!
Your second day project is a long difficult day, to go up by bushike from Dix slide to Dial will be a challenge(blowdown & sticky wood without legal place to overnight camp).
The last day will be also a very long and difficult day, after Blake many booms and long hike to return at the parking.

A suggestion: a day hike to Dix Range Dix-Hough-S-D-E-D-S-D-Macomb, if your friend stay in good shape from St-Hubert (Ausable Club) second day Dial Nippletop Colvin Blake Colvin.

Many cofes and may a beer or two...

Have a good hike, if You need more information e-mail Us.

Pinpin Junior ;)

08-06-2004, 08:50 PM

On your last day, you might consider avoiding the Pinnacle(although the views are spectacular) as an exit. There are MANY ups and downs between the Pinnacle and the southern summit of Blake that don't show on the map. It is dry and with a full pack on the 3rd day, could be very enervating.
The Blake slide ends below Blake's southern subsummit. It is fairly shallow and once you reach it, its an easy down to the West Inlet and a trail that leads around Elk Lake to the Elk Lake-Marcy trail.

Just another option for you to consider.


Doc McPeak
08-06-2004, 09:27 PM
I was on the Blake-Colvin ridge with a 45-50# pack yesterday and it is no picnic. I fanny packed up and down Blake and found it much more difficult than the trek over Little Haystack and back I did the day before. Very tough with an oversize pack. Granted I had already descended earlier that day from the Haystack-Basin col via the Leaning Tower of Pisa ladders Snowbird Trail and up the Lake to Blake Ladder of Pain trail, but the cliffs and root tangles are plenty treacherous. Or at least they were for me.

I've also been up the Macomb slide with a monster pack and was glad I wasn't lugging it all over the range. But, it sounds like this is how you usually hike so maybe this will be a walk in the park for you. If you can do the Dix Range with a 50 pounder you should be able to do the Pinnacle Ridge.

As for bushwhacking down from Pinnacle. That is Elk Lake Lodge property and their trails are all private. The easement they have allowed us hikers is the Panther Gorge trail and the Dix trail and that's all. They really don't like people poaching their trails.

Anyways, sounds like an adventure. Have fun.

08-11-2004, 02:25 PM
We have done the Dix Range as a day hike. We also did Blake, Colvin, Nippletop and Dial as a seperate overnight hike by placing a car on rt 73 by round pond, taking Mountaintaxi service (they took my wife, myself, our gear and our two dogs for $50) to Elk Lake. This required a bushwhack through Gravestone Brook to hit the trail. We did this because we have dogs. If you don't have dogs, you could spot a car at St. Huberts lot and end your trip descending via Bear Den. So if you have more than one vehicle you could just leave one and take the other. Then you could day pack the Dixes and leave your gear at Lillian Brook lean to, stay there your first night and your second day do the Pinnacle through Dial range. Carrying full packs, you would be a day lighter on food which would make going over the ridge from Pinnacle to Colvin and the climb up Nippletop to be much more tolerable. The other benefit is that once you summit Nippletop, you have very little climbing left for the day which really helps with recovery at the end of what will be a pretty long day. I hope you have great weather, because you have great views each day.

08-11-2004, 04:14 PM
Thanks for all the good info.

We were planning the trip for this weekend but the weather looks like its turning for the worse. Lets hope our two storms down in the Gulf of Mexico decide not to travel up the eastern seaboard. After all the rain this spring/summer the last thing we need is more rain and tropical storm force winds!

08-11-2004, 06:55 PM
Originally posted by Dhiker
Mountaintaxi service (they took my wife, myself, our gear and our two dogs for $50) to Elk Lake.

That's the way to go. Opens up endless possibilities. What a great service.