Other Hike Options on the ADK


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Mike P.

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2003
Reaction score
Colchester, CT
With the Garden being closed this summer, I'm looking for another hike.

I have a group of mixed fitness levels and a couple of scouts who need a 10 mile hike. I was looking at Cascade and Porter. The scouts would have been dropped off at the Garden, we would have spotted a vehicle or two at the Airfield and then the less fit would go up the traditional approach and then all would descend to the Airlfield.

We did something familiar with Hurricane a couple of years ago when some went over the Nun-da-go Ridge and up and over Hurricane while some just went up the traditional tail from 9N.

Are there any other options where a group can meet together (estimating when you both arrive on top) on a summit where one has a three or so mile approach and a five to six mile approach. I'll look at the maps, however, I don't recall a longer approach to Goodenow or Vanderwhacker. Maybe something that goes over Mt. Van Hovenberg where the longer group goes up to the old Marcy Dam site, down the truck road and then over the back of the mountain and out to the Alpine Center. The others, drop the first group off, spot cars and then do the hike. Not sure it's ten miles though.

Any suggestions? (I will post on the ADK High Peaks Forum when I can)

Hi Mike,

You could probably do something with the Giant Wilderness. Remember when we hiked Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge a few years ago. There are some approaches you could use to put together the kind of trip you are talking about, and avoid the parking problems that the state is creating. The long approaches to Giant are from New Russia, and via the North Trail and Owl Head Lookout. Of course the popular short approaches are Ridge and Roaring Brook, but these are in the "parking problem corridor. But it's pretty moderate to go to Giant via Hopkins. Either trail to Hopkins (Mossy Cascade or Ranney) gets less use. Even I the state decides to destroy the parking at Mossy Cascade (which they are proposing), the Ranney trail comes right from Keene Valley, so you could park in several places.

Another option is the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness. There are several different approaches to Haystack and McKenzie that could off various length hikes.

Around Lake George, there are several options in the Tongue Range and in the Black, Sleeping Beauty, Buck Range on the east side of the lake.

I'm sure there are some other good options. But it's pretty hard to find hikes that feature "long and short options that meet at the same place."
Technically the Garden isn't closed but hikers can access it only through the shuttle bus. No one else is allowed to drive up there and drop off passengers.

The trail from the Garden to Porter Mt. is currently closed due to a landowner problem. Pending state approval, there will be a reroute that avoids the private land.

A hike from the Owl Head Lookout/Giant from Rt. 9N trailhead to Owl Head Lookout and then on over the shoulder of Green Mt. to Hopkins and then down the Ranney Trail to the Rooster Comb parking lot would be 10.5 mi. That provides two good summits - either one of which would be a 2.5-3 mi. destination for the less ambitious group. The members of the longer hike could be dropped off, and the others would go to the other end and hike up to meet the longer group. It would work in either direction as well. Bear in mind that the Ranney Trail starts on a private driveway about 150 yds. south of the Rooster Comb parking lot, and there is no sign at the highway. The first signs are at about 1/4 mile where the trail diverges from the driveway.
Thank you all! Thank You Tony, I think you told me that last year. I like the Hopkins option, I'll have to take a look at the maps for that as Hopkins was a choice for just a short hike, I really enjoyed the summit when I was there a few years ago.

How easy is it to follow the lower section of the Ranney? I'd probably be in the 9N group so I would have to be able to describe to the others how to get there and where to park.
Mike, Ranney is easy to follow. As Tony say, it starts only about 150 yds south of Roostercomb parking, across route 73 (the most dangerous part of the day, crossing the highway...). So you can park at Roostercomb, or further in town at the municipal parking behind the Valley Grocery, if you don't mind the short extra walk through town. The start is on Ranney Way, which is a private road with a regular street sign, so it's easy to find. You can't drive on Ranney Way, but it's perfectly OK to walk it. The road continues for a while past a few private driveways, and then tapers down to an easy to follow old woods road as it starts to go uphill. The trail follows Hopkins Brook all the way up. In a little under 2 miles it reaches the junction with the more popular Mossy Cascade trail, and then continues to a junction at the ridge line. For the summit of Hopkins turn left, and it's a short, very steep pull to a beautiful open summit area. To continue towards Giant turn right. You'll climb over some intervening hills (including one actually higher than Hopkins, but completely wooded), and then enter the long valley between Giant and Green. That section off trail is quiet and gets little use, but it's in nice shape thanks to a very well done reroute that moves the trail out of the swamp it used to go through. (The only day that area is busy is the day of the Great Adirondack Trail Run, which goes through there this year on Saturday, June 1).
Really, guess which day I was planning on going!

My only trip up Hopkins was a couple of years ago by Mossy Cascade, it's a great summit with a great view.
Hey so the trail run is a fun and good event! (And a significant fund raiser for the Ausable and Boquet River Associations.) Usually runners are out of the woods before noon. If you are on that section from 9:20 AM to noon, you have to keep an eye and ear out for runners. But it's such a tough event only a few elite people are actually running; most are "fast hiking" at that point.

But to give perspective on the pace - the course goes from the North trailhead on 9N, through the valley, over Hopkins and Spread Eagle, and down to town (11+ miles). That hike would be an all day hike for a typical hiking group. The course record is 1:36:15.
We ended up on Vanderwhacker on 6/1. Black flies were out in force. The 25% DEET we had only kept them at bay until you sweated some. Never seen them this bad in NH.