View Full Version : McKenzie Mt UMP - need your help

08-26-2004, 08:52 AM
The pressure that was applied here played a significant role in saving the Mt Adams tower. It may now be time to save another peak, this one with a great view.

I climbed St. Armand (Moose) Mt yesterday and posted it in the Trail Conditions. St Armand is an ADK100 peak just under 3,900' and peeks over the shoulder of McKenzie along the NE shore of Lake Placid.
The Shore Owners Association (SOA) has a trail that hugs the Lake, and gives access to a small network of trails up McKenzie, Bonnie Brae, St Armand, and some others.

The McKenzie Mt Unit Management Plan has had its preliminary meeting and DEC is starting to look for input. They haven't scheduled public hearings as yet. Some of the lower elevation SOA trails are on private land, the rest are lightly marked and well-maintained private trails that have been there for years. The 3 mile SOA trail from the summit of McKenzie to St Armand, and the SOA trails from the shore to Bonnie Brae and St Armand, and others could be in jeopardy if the DEC decides they don't want to take on the responsibility of maintaining a few more miles of trail.

This is where the public comes in. I urge you to hike these trails and decide for yourself whether you want them to possibly disappear or not. There is also a dilapidated lento on the shore of Bonnie Brae. Bonnie is a great little pond with a leanto and could be either relocated or removed. If you want continued access on the SOA trail to St Armand, Bonnie and McKenzie, you might want to offer input to DEC.

08-26-2004, 10:05 AM
HURRAY!! I will finally be in the Adirondacks for ten days beginning 9/3, intending to stay away from the High Peaks this trip, fishing and "bagging" the lesser peaks (Owl's Head Lookout, Floodwood, Hopkins and Indian Head are on the list). Thank you for bringing St. Armand (Moose Mt.) to our attention. I will be more than happy to hike the SOA trails during my stay. Will we have any problem parking in the Inn's parking lot and finding the trailhead? Also, we don't want to get in trouble if we find ourselves on private land. Any more specifics you can provide will be helpful. Thanks in advance.

08-26-2004, 10:09 AM
Admittedly, I do not know a ton about these two mountains, however I am interested in climbing them (perhaps soon) for the ADK 100. I quess you piqued my interest enough to vault them to the front of my very long list. Here's my question.

Is there a path, trail, herd path (whatever) between the two summits (St. Armand and McKenzie). It looks like it would be quite a haul if its a bushwhack. The maps (I'm looking at) do not even show any paths to St. Armand's summit.

Are both of these in a day advisable? Maybe in mid September I'll plan a hike up one or both. If anyone else is interested in checking these trails/peaks, as Peakbagr suggests, perhaps we could get a small group together.

08-26-2004, 11:01 AM
To all: Thanks for the questions.

1. Probably a good time to write or email Kris to start giving the hiking public's input. Letters or email are better than calls so they have a record. Might be good to get 46ers behind this as well.
2. Some maps show a dotted route or trail, the large, green ADJ HPs map shows a partial trail. Old maps show the trail, and the guy that did all the SOA trail clearing and signage has put out a small map and guide that he sells. I'll try and get a line on how to get ahold of those. Otherwise, we can talk on the phone.
3. The Lakeshore SOA trail begins right off the Whiteface Inn Road. Drive right down to the construction work that is going on at the building right on the lake. Facing the lake, there is an unmarked PAVED trail that heads north along the shore for a short way, within feet of the lake. This transitions into a path with wood chips on it for a ways. It weaves in and out of camps and then turns into a more traditional dirt trail. Where some above ground water pipes near the trail (after about 10 min of walking), you'll see a HUGE glacial erratic to the left of the trail in the woods. Look sharp here as the Lakeshore trail makes a sharp turn easily unnoticed and goes up to the erratica and around it. It then continues after a few minutes to a trail junction with handmade trail signs and mileage. (All of the previous directions take up about 0.7 miles.) At the junction, you'll be taking the trail to McKenzie from here. After abount 0.6 miles, there will be a crossover trail sign and you'll take that across a stream and ascend St Armand.
The public is welcome to hike on SOA trails. I heard that the Mirror Lake Inn is buying into the Whiteface Inn properties, so there is a lot of construction going on. In another week, after Labor Day, there will be a significant drop in tourist traffic and parking at the Whiteface Inn. Another parking alternative: There are 2 trailheads for McKenzie near the end of the Whiteface Inn road. If you park at either of these, it would only be a few minute walk downhill to the lake and the start of the SOA Lakeshore trail.

08-26-2004, 01:25 PM

When I climbed McKenzie several years ago there was a very lightly used path that went between the two... Not sure if it is even there anymore.

IMHO a dayhike of McKenzie from Raybrook - tied in with a climb up nearby Haystack is a fine way to spend the day.

08-26-2004, 03:59 PM
Its still there as of this May when I was on Mac. Its lightly used because it goes for 3 miles, with lots of ups and downs that don't show on maps, and its a big long drop off of McKenzie. There is a sign for the trail on both peaks.

08-26-2004, 09:41 PM
It is an amazing trail between two amazing mountains. Do you think ATIS would take it over? or are they a part of the DEC as well?

08-26-2004, 11:43 PM

Thats a really interesting idea. ATIS is the trail maintainance group affiliated with the AMR. I've never seen that they do maintainance away from the Ausable Club. Maybe Tony Goodwin who heads this would be able to comment.

I looked at the trail over to Moose when I was on McKenzie this May. Big electrical storm chased me off the summit as I was standing there looking at the route. Is it as many ups and downs as I had been told? I'll bet the trail was in really nice shape.

Dennis C.
08-27-2004, 12:32 PM
I know this area well, as we used several of these trails a number of times (when and where we could follow them) in the pursuit of the area 3000 footers. The mostly private shore line trail was in pretty good shape and the owners welcomed our passing by on their property (if we saw them). The "marginal" trail network up McKenzie and Moose Mtns needed some work, but this may be just a "reflection of the amount of use" (interest) that's generated in these peaks in general. DEC could get involved with them, then again, maybe not, depending on their priorities. Sometimes individuals or small groups have to use their influence .... and labor .... to achieve goals.

08-27-2004, 01:00 PM

What we discovered is that an SOA member took it upon himself to clear, re-sign, and re-mark all the trails. Like the ATIS trails over in the AMR, they are marked, but not overly so.
The SOA trails might be a little hard to find in the winter, especially with the white marker disks, but for 3 seasons, and before the leaves cover them, pretty much anyone can easily follow them. The same person who did all this work has put out a simple one-page map and short guide to all the SOA trails. I'm trying to get a lead on how to contact him.


08-27-2004, 02:08 PM
With his permission, here is Tony Goodwin's PM to me regarding the SOA trails. Tony provided me the email address of the SOA trails maintainer and I have already contacted him.
Tony's message follows:

"I read the posts regarding the SOA trails and the McKenzie Mt. UMP. I agree that these are great trails and that they should be kept open. The current edition of the ADK guide has descriptions with distances for the trails to Moose and McKenzie plus the Lakeshore Trail. However, since the guide went to print, the Lakeshore Trail has changed to route it farther away from the lake and it has been extended to Whiteface Landing with a side trail to Eagle Eyrie.
The SOA may be willing to assume a more active role in the future."

Hope this helps.
Tony Goodwin

Doc McPeak
08-27-2004, 03:16 PM
Originally posted by Peakbagr
The SOA trails might be a little hard to find in the winter, especially with the white marker disks ...

We hiked Moose early last winter after the first 15-20" of untracked snow and found it pretty easy to follow, but you're right about the white markers, for a couple of times we had to search them out.

These are great trails. I hope they don't get overused and create a problem with the SOA. A well cut and maintained ridge trail between the two would be an excellent idea. But how many other trails like that do we all have in mind? Hard to ask the DEC to add to their already full plate. Hopefully the track this conversation is taking (ATIS, or some other maintaining group) will continue, for that seems like the most viable approach.

Good work, Peakbagr, for putting this out!

08-27-2004, 04:52 PM
Eagle Eyrie is a nice little lookout as well.

08-27-2004, 05:16 PM

Your input to ADK and DEC was very instrumental in getting attention to the Mt Adams tower. If you and other start lobbying DEC to the retention of the SOA trails, we might have a chance.
DEC is NOT looking to take on additional responsibilities and public pressure via letters and at hearings is the only way these trails will survive. Keep up the good work yourself.


08-29-2004, 10:55 AM
From a "local":

The trail guide is Guide to the SOA Trails, A hiker's Companion for the Historic Trails of the Lake Placid Shore Owner's Association by


Its price is around $6 or $7.

In writng to the DEC about the MacKenzie Mountain Wilderness UMP it might be wise to refer to the trails as Richard does -- the historic trails of the Shore Owners Assoc. The trails are shown on both the current and previous ADK high peaks trail maps. Barbara McMartin mentions them and describes the routes in her Discover the Northern Adirndacks book of 1998.

08-31-2004, 02:26 AM
I might have a little free time this Saturday and I like to get a ADK100 in (if possible). I wouldn't mind maybe going up one or the other (prolly not have time to do both). Need some help.

Which is peak would you suggest if ya had to pick one? I'd love and nice little view if I could, preferable towards Placid. Also, what are the approx trail distances. just so that I can guage time. I have a few other things to do that day, and the missus would kill me if I made this a "headlamp" hike :D .

I found -THIS LINK- (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=18&n=4909752&e=577309&s=100&size=l&datum=nad83&layer=DRG25) on topozone. It seems to show some trails in the area. Do theseook about right. Funny it does, and other maps don't, I assumed they were based on the same survey.

08-31-2004, 08:03 AM
The Topozone map comes from the 1978 series of USGS maps. I have no idea why the surveyor in charge of this sheet chose to show the trails that are shown. He obviously never walked them, because there was virtually no trace to the trail from McKenzie to Moose as of that date. There was still a usable path to McKenzie by way of Bartlett Pond as of 1978, and both of these are now marked and informally maintained as noted elsewhere in these posts. So yes, those trails as shown do exist today with the addition of the Two Brooks Trail that branches from the Barlett Pond trail and goes straight to Moose. This makes a much shorter loop if you want to do both the same day.
Also, a recent check of the Whiteface Inn area has revealed a new house, driveway, and no trespassing sign on the Chipmunk Lane approach to the Lakeshore Trail. This will likely mean a slightly longer walk along the shore from more public parking closer to the Lake Placid Lodge.

08-31-2004, 09:48 AM
Both have views towards Lake Placid. I found them both to be great hikes so your bound to be pleased whichever you choose.