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View Full Version : 3 Day Camping Recommendations in SW ADKs!



chrlyangel
06-15-2005, 10:47 AM
Hi all,

My wife and I are just really starting to get into camping (I know most of you are more experienced) but after hiking and camping the Grand Canyon for 5 days last summer (120 degrees all day...all night...) we are looking for something less water dependanent but equally beautiful.

We have 3 days dedicated to go camping in the adirondacks, but really don't know where to start. We have already hiked Marcy, but would love something equally as beautiful but appropriate for a 3 day hike loop.

I know many of you know of some great spots so we were hoping someone in this forum would be able to point us in the right direction.

Beggers can't be choosers, but here's the finer points:

1. We are looking for something closer to Albany than Canada.
2. Water sources along the trail would be preferrable to having to lug 10 gallons of water whereever you go like the canyon.
3. can't be too challenging, but we would love to get on top of a peak and scream, halleluyah.

Thank for your help all!

Beth and Drew :p ;) :p ;)

Peakbagr
06-15-2005, 10:59 AM
If you're without a canoe or yaks, Lewey Lake campground is a good place. Some nice hikes nearby.
If you do have a boat, Indian Lake has lots of island campsites. Great canoeing, swimming, fishing. You may even be able to rent one a short distance away.

chrlyangel
06-15-2005, 11:14 AM
Guess I wasn't that clear...sorry!

We're not looking for a campground. We're looking for something more remote, like hiking a peak and backpacking on the way there and back.

Thanks for the recommendation though!

AntlerPeak
06-15-2005, 11:21 AM
Guess I wasn't that clear...sorry!

We're not looking for a campground. We're looking for something more remote, like hiking a peak and backpacking on the way there and back.

Thanks for the recommendation though!

You said closer to Albany and in the Southwest ADK. Check out the ADK Mountain Club's Guide to the West Central Adirondacks. There are many loop possibilites to lots of lakes with lean-tos. Mostly these trails are rolling hills without major summits they are lake and forest hikes. Middle Settlement Lake offers many variable loop possibilites. You can access the area from Utica rather easily from Albany. There are some mts in the region.
http://mysite.verizon.net/antlerpeak/

Bob Smith
06-15-2005, 11:21 AM
B&D Hi.
A nice trip would be to Start at Piesco, NY and hike north on the Northville - Placid Trail to Spruce Lake (about 11 miles) it's remote and has 3 Lean-to's. It's a great place to explore, swim and fish. Than hike back out.
Bugs can be a little concern this time of year but late July to early Sept is great

Rick
06-15-2005, 11:32 AM
HI Beth & Drew,
Welcome to VFTT!!!
I highly recommend this book (and if you join, you get a discount). Adirondack Sampler II: Backpacking Trips for All Seasons (http://www.adk.org/new_store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=AS2)
It has what you are looking for and is very thorough.
If you find a few trips that seem interesting, I am sure there are many more on this board who can give you additional details on those areas of interst.
Cheers
Rick

Doc McPeak
06-15-2005, 01:49 PM
Check out the Lake George Area, especially the Shelving Rock cluster of trails. (Eastern Shore) Nice peaks with great lake views. A web of trails gives infinite possibilities to hit peaks, ponds, lean-tos, and of course campsites right down on the shore of the Queen of American lakes.

I've hiked all the mountains, ponds, and almost entire trail system there, so if you decide on the area I would be happy to give you some suggestions for your loop. The book for this is the ADK Eastern Region.

This book also covers the Tongue Mountain Range, which would provide another incredible three day loop. (On the Western shore of Lake George)

ps. Water is not a problem up here! You'll just need either a water filter, or purifying tablets, etc.

jbrown
06-15-2005, 02:14 PM
Going along with Doc, Check out the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness near Putnam Pond State Campground. This Topozone map (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=18&n=4854470&e=610874&s=100&size=l&datum=nad83&layer=DRG25) is centered on Treadway Mountain which I have yet to climb, but have heard wonderful things about the view.

If you start at the Putnam Pond trailhead (park at the trailhead outside the campground and walk 1/4 mile to the trailhead and save the parking fee...) :), head north toward Clear Pond and basically do the loop counter-clockwise, being sure to stop at the old mines on the north shore of Big Rock Pond, stop and take a swim off the pink granite beach. If you're there in late July to early-mid August, there are blueberry bushes all along the shores. Swim out to the island with trees on it and check out the huge population of water snakes!

There are so many options for camping and changing your hiking route, choose to detour to Pharaoh Mountain, or head right down to Pharaoh Lake's northeast shore for the best lean-to location on the loop. Take a dip off the rock ledges in front.

It's my favorite area in NY to go hiking whether I'm looking for a challenge or just want to relax and do not much at all.

Pete Hogan
06-15-2005, 04:24 PM
chrlyangel.................

I realize this trip suggestion doesn't meet your location criteria, but as an introduction to the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, it is a classic! There are many, many lofty (and not so lofty) ascents along the way or you can just enjoy the summits from the dramatic mountain passes of your route.

At the risk of boring some, here is a trip description for your consideration.

Tahawus to Heart Lake via Avalanche Pass - return via Indian Pass

This hike is by no means easy, but it is unforgettable and will give you a variety of challenging mountain hiking options as well as camping opportunities. Or you could just simply hike this route as a through trip enjoying unbelievable mountain passes without any 4000-foot sidetrips or camping and still enjoy every step.

If you have not been introduced to the interior of the Adirondack High Peaks region, this is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the geography and trails of this rugged country. It is also an opportunity to sample the amenities and services of the Adirondack Mountain Club with an overnight stay at the Adirondak Loj at Heart Lake (near Lake Placid). The round trip will be approximately twenty-two miles (22) in length. The traverse will explore some of most spectacular scenery and “wild” places in the heart of the High Peaks Region.

The journey begins from the Upper Works near Newcomb, N.Y. Before departing, you may want to visit your local library for references such as The Indian Pass by Alfred Billings Street and The Story of Adirondac by Arthur H. Masten. These books narrate the fascinating history of the area. You will follow the Calamity Brook trail that passes the historic Henderson Monument, Flowed Lands and will lead you to the Interior Outpost at Lake Colden. Then you will continue to head north past the rugged beauty of Avalanche Lake - walking the historic “hitch-up Matildas” and viewing the awesome cleft that begins one of the most precarious slide ascents to any Adirondack summit - the Trap Dike. After pausing at the north end of the lake to reflect on what you just completed, you will ascend the spectacular narrow passage of Avalanche Pass where the route was raised fifty feet higher due to a huge avalanche from the north face of Mt. Colden. The last part of the first day’s trek will take you through the main staging area for many high peaks – Marcy Dam. You will complete this leg of the trip by hiking the VanHoevenberg trail to the HPIC (High Peaks Information Center). The rustic, but comfortable accommodations at the Adirondak Loj are a few minutes walk from the HPIC. Total distance for this section is approximately 11 miles with a minimal vertical ascent.

There are several opportunities to camp along the way: Flowed Lands, Lake Colden, Marcy Dam. There are also many mountain hiking options that can be realized from any one of the base camps suggested: Mt. Marshall, Mt. Colden, Phelps, the McIntyre Range from Lake Colden, Algonquin, Wright (from the Loj). You can even a enjoy a spectacular sunrise hike to Mt. Jo after your overnight at the Loj.

BTW, the interior camping areas of the High Peaks (especially the ones I mentioned - Flowed Lands, Lake Colden and Marcy Dam) all have a SERIOUS bear problem and bear canisters have recently been made mandatory in the Eastern High Peaks Region.

Your mountain hiking options are almost limitless for the time span you are planning – a day at one of the base camps mentioned with a choice of peaks followed by a planned overnight at the Adirondack Loj (reservations strongly encouraged). The Loj respite will give you some good food, a warm bunk, a shower and a chance to regroup before making the return trip to the Upper Works trailhead through Indian Pass. Your third night can be enjoyed as you return to the Upper Works from ADK Loj. There are also lean-tos enroute, but it is always wise to carry a tent in case there is no room at the "inn".

Regarding the ADK Loj, you can stay in the main co-ed bunkroom in the lodge. Included in the total cost is dinner on the evening of arrival and a hearty breakfast the next morning. A trail lunch (for the return trip) I think is still part of the package as well. Just call the Adirondak Loj (518-523-3441) for reservations and any dietary restrictions. The room and board cost is slightly more for non-members than members but the overnight rest/strategy is well worth the minimal expense. There is also a campground and lean-tos available on the mountain club's property.

Following breakfast after the Loj overnight, you will depart on the Indian Pass Trail that will take you on a southern route approximately 10.5 miles back to the Upper Works parking. Your route will pass by picturesque Rocky Falls and historic Scott’s Clearing. Then you will ascend into the incredibly beautiful Indian Pass. The sheer 1000-foot rock cliff of Wallface will dominate your view as you reach the top of the pass at summit rock. It is truly an unforgettable “walk on the wild side”.

This is a round trip hike covering a minimum of 22 miles without any other mountain options. This is not a trip to be underestimated, but it is one of the classic routes in the High Peaks.

AntlerPeak
06-15-2005, 04:40 PM
JBrown If you get around to doing Treadway take the time for the fairly easy bushwhack up Peaked Hill, great slide and terriffic views.

mike46r
06-15-2005, 06:52 PM
If you are new to hiking I would suggest the Five Ponds Wilderness
http://www.backpacker.com/article/0,2646,1040_P,00.html

Again, it is not in the southwest Adirondacks, but it is great, pretty gentle terrain so you can get a lot of mileage in, plenty of river-side campsites and you can get way back there.

If you want the high peaks, consider heading for Basin, Saddleback, and best of all Haystack. There are nice camp sites around Slant Rock.

There are tons of possibilities.

Have fun.

Mike

jbrown
06-16-2005, 10:39 AM
Hey, AntlerPeak, where's the approach for Peaked Hill?

chrlyangel
06-16-2005, 01:26 PM
Wow, you all are awesome.

So much to choose from and great direction from all. Beth just didn't believe how nice everyone has been to provide us direction! Thanks all.

After reading and reviewing all of your recommnedations, I think we are going to go with Pete Hogan's recommendation. It sould spectacular and after looking at the trails he is talking about the terrain looks like pretty welcoming.


Here's what we plan on doing.

1. Park at the end of Upper Works Road just north of Tahawus (Is there actually parking there for 2 nights?)
2. Hike Northeast along the Calamity Brook Trail past Flowed Lands to Lake Colden. Setup Camp on the North Western Shore for the night.
3. Early morning, Go Northwest and hike up to the top of Algonquin Peak and back down the other side.
4. Keep walking northwest and stay overnight at Heart Lake Campground area, (or if tired go west to the Rocky falls shelter for the second night.
5. Third day, follow the indian pass, past wallface mountain back to the car.

Does anyone know the distances for these days? I don't have the topo yet to really plan it out but I have seem the elevations. Day 1 and three seem fairly easy. Day 2 will be the radical one.

THANKS AGAIN ALL!! :D :D :D ;) :D ;)

lumberzac
06-16-2005, 01:40 PM
Wow, you all are awesome.

So much to choose from and great direction from all. Beth just didn't believe how nice everyone has been to provide us direction! Thanks all.

After reading and reviewing all of your recommnedations, I think we are going to go with Pete Hogan's recommendation. It sould spectacular and after looking at the trails he is talking about the terrain looks like pretty welcoming.


Here's what we plan on doing.

1. Park at the end of Upper Works Road just north of Tahawus (Is there actually parking there for 2 nights?)
2. Hike Northeast along the Calamity Brook Trail past Flowed Lands to Lake Colden. Setup Camp on the North Western Shore for the night.
3. Early morning, Go Northwest and hike up to the top of Algonquin Peak and back down the other side.
4. Keep walking northwest and stay overnight at Heart Lake Campground area, (or if tired go west to the Rocky falls shelter for the second night.
5. Third day, follow the indian pass, past wallface mountain back to the car.

Does anyone know the distances for these days? I don't have the topo yet to really plan it out but I have seem the elevations. Day 1 and three seem fairly easy. Day 2 will be the radical one.

THANKS AGAIN ALL!! :D :D :D ;) :D ;)

Don't underestimate the terrain for day 3. There isn't a whole lot of elevation change, but the trail is quite rugged. The scenery along the trail is absolutely amazing. I don't have a map in front of me at the moment, but could check out the mileages for you latter on tonight.

chrlyangel
06-16-2005, 02:12 PM
Thanks Lumberzac.

It looks like:

5 miles to lake colden.
6 miles to heart lake.
9 miles back to Upper Works Road.

Sound About right?

That's pretty easy actually. We'll probably be able to get another peak in on day 1.

Doc McPeak
06-16-2005, 02:50 PM
Lumberzac is right about there being a one to two mile stretch that is very fun and challenging as you climb into and through Indian Pass. It really is spectacular though, and won't be a problem for you. When you're sitting at Summit Rock looking up at Wallface's sheer eastern face you will experience the same feelings of awe that the first white men in the area did. Many painters from the Hudson Valley School (Cole, etc.) made the pilgrimage to Indian Pass for its sheer beauty.

For your day one: Mount Colden or Mount Marshall are both fabulous climbs. I suggest Colden, since you'll be staring at from Algonquin, and it will be the first awesome sight you see along the Calamity trail, and again at Flowed Lands, and again at the Colden Dam ... you get the picture. It is one of my favorite peaks to savor. And you'll have dropped packs at your camp and can go light.

For your second day: The route up from Lake Colden is good and steep, as well as gorgeous. When you crest out on the ridge below the open rocks to Algonquin, you may want to drop the big packs and hike south along the ridge to Iroquois peak. You'll be able to enjoy this summit without the crowds of Algonquin and have a nice easy stroll and back through open alpine terrain and rock. It will also break up your big climb with the heavy packs. Then you can shoulder up for the last chunk of climbing (800 feet I think) and take another nice break, or lunch on Algonquin before heading down to Heart Lake.

At Heart Lake, I'm pretty sure the only camping is through the ADK for a modest fee. But you'll be able to reserve a site, which is nice. You'll still probably need to bring a tent for your first night, since that area (lake colden) is very popular all summer, and often the lean-tos are full mid-week.

Sounds like a good plan! Have fun.

Here's a shot from Lake Colden of Mount Colden and Avalanche Mountain...

Pete Hogan
06-16-2005, 04:49 PM
chrlyangel.....

Trail #71 (ADK Mountain Club High Peaks Region, 13th Edition) that ascends Algonquin Peak from Lake Colden is described as follows. "The trail climbs 2350 ft from Lake Colden to the summit, which makes this one of the most continuously steep climbs in the mountains." "It is a serious undertaking for backpackers."

BTW, I concur with Doc McPeak's suggestion to climb Mt. Colden from Lake Colden - although you might just want to hang out at camp, relax and enjoy what's left of your first day. You will be working very hard on day two.

The ADK guidebook's description of the ascent to Algonquin on Trail #71 is accurate. It is a serious climb! It is also one of the most spectacular and rewarding ascents in the High Peaks. Literally breathtaking - just turn around every time you pause to catch your breath (sometimes less than 10 steps) and gaze out at the incredible slides of Mt. Colden. At times you will even have difficulty standing upright due to the severity of the climbing angle. I found myself being drawn toward the fall line and needed to sit to stabilize myself. It is a challenging ascent, but when you top out on the MacIntyre Ridge your hard work will be worth the struggle.

There is a stream that water can be pumped from about 30 minutes from the start of Trail #71. NB Water will be critical as you traverse the MacIntyre Ridge as there are no water sources until you reach MacIntyre Brook (approximately 2.6 miles from the HPIC).

Also a note on the weather. The MacIntyre Ridge is highly exposed to weather (like the Franconia Ridge). Traversing the ridge in good weather is an unforgettable Alpine experience. It can also be an extremely compromising and harrowing experience in adverse or threatening conditions.

I know times are relative and not very meaningful so I offer them only as a reference for planning. You will (obviously) have to adjust your time plans to allow for the extra weight of overnight gear. I've hiked the clockwise loop of the MacIntyre Range on three different occasions, but ONLY as a day trip.

Doc McPeak's suggestion of taking a short, but very worthwhile detour to Iroquois is a choice you will be rewarded for by incomparable views of the surrounding mountains and Wallface (which you will be seeing as you traverse through Indian Pass).

0:00 Start of Trail #71
1:30 Junction with Iroquois Herd Path
0:30 Iroquois Summit
0:00 Leave Iroquois Summit
0:40 Algonquin Summit
0:00 Leave Algonquin Summit
1:00 Wright Summit
0:00 Wright/Algonquin spur junction
1:35 HPIC

The Heart Lake to Tahawus leg is closer to 10.5 miles than 9. Plan some extra time for your ascent through the pass. Although not nearly as vertically challenging as Trail #71, it will be time consuming. The route climbs through an extremely rugged, often slippery and very remote boulder-strewn pass (some as large as houses). If the low water route (if possible) from just after Scott's Clearing is still visible, it will save some time (and climbing). At Scott's Clearing, the high water route turns left (east). If you continue to go south and pass through a small balsam stand you will reach a meadow just before Indian Pass Brook. Stay close to the eastern shoreline of Indian Pass Brook sometimes on the sand bars and you will reconnect with the main route after some minor route finding and bushwhacking.

Summit rock is a place to be savored without time restraints. You might even catch a glimpse of Peregrine Falcons soaring above the cliffs of Wallface. It is as inspiring a place as you will ever find.
I have been over this route twice (total time - 7:20 and 8:15).

I wish you well in your journey. I hope your weather is great and you thoroughly enjoy your hike! I apologize if I have preempted any of your thoughts regarding this hike. In my enthusiam for this classic route, often too much talk is simply too much talk.

lumberzac
06-16-2005, 08:50 PM
I traced out your path in my National Geographic Topo! Software and this is what I got for mileage and elevation change:
Day 1- From Tahawus to Lake Colden is about 6.2 miles with about 1370’ gain and 350’ loss. Climbing Mount Colden will add about 4.2 miles with about 2000’ gain and 2000’ loss.

Day 2 – From Lake Colden to Adirondack Loj is about 6 miles with 2460’ gain 3070’ loss. Iroquois Peak will add about 1.2 miles with 415’ gain and 415’ loss. Wright Peak will add about 0.7 miles with 530’ gain and 530’ loss.

Day 3 – From Adirondack Loj to Tahawus through Indian Pass is about 10.3 miles with 1685’ gain and 2095’ loss.

Have a fun and safe trip.

Pat T
06-17-2005, 09:23 AM
Hi, Drew

Your #3 criteria, in your original post, was that you wanted a hike that was "not too challenging." Up and over Algonquin, with packs, is very challenging--steep in both directions. If it is cloudy, the summit of Algonquin could be socked in, cold, and difficult to navigate. If you really want to bag a peak, you might want to think about Colden as a day hike from your campsite at Lake Colden. Then you would hike out to Heart Lake via the very beautiful trail past Avalanche Lake and through Avalanche Pass. At Heart Lake, you could do a quick climb up Mount Jo, 500' climb, with the best view for the least amount of climbing.

Have a great trip. Remember to post a trip report.

Pat T

chrlyangel
06-23-2005, 09:00 AM
Thanks Pat. I think we are going to go for it on algonquin, even though it may exceed our physical conditioning. The point of exhaustion is one of the greatest feelings there is.