Hiking

What to Know About Hiking the Adirondack High Peaks

LAKE GEORGE, NY (NEWS10) – Adirondack Park has dozens and dozens of hiking and walking trails across its 6 million acres. Of these, 46 stand out, as the (literal) highest accomplishments an aspiring Adirondack hiker can hope to attain. If you’re a seasoned hiker in the North Country, you’re probably familiar with the Adirondack High Peaks.

Climbing the peaks is no small feat. Their elevations range from 3820 feet – Couchsachraga Peak – up to 5344 feet – Mt. Marcy. The longest in terms of miles hiked is Mount Skylight, at 17.9 miles, with an estimated average hike time of 15 hours – a far cry from the shortest hikes in the park, under 3 miles.

Hikers who tackle the High Peaks and scale them all can join the ranks of the Adirondack 46ers, a non-profit organization for people who have recorded their trips to each mountain. Riders are registered by number and given an official 46er patch to commemorate the achievement. The organization produces a newsletter three times a year, provides scholarships to children who attend DEC camps, and provides bear canisters and educational materials to camps and hiking trails.

If you’re planning on taking on some of the steepest hikes in the Adirondacks, there’s a lot to know. Adirondack stewardship groups and the 46ers organization encourage the close and careful use of “Leave No Trace” rules.

The 7 principles of “Leave No Trace”, as defined by the Outdoor Ethics Centerto understand:

  • Plan aheadminimizing litter to bring on a trail and being equipped to bring litter back with you;
  • Travel/camp on durable surfacesavoiding walking on wet ground where footprints could damage or erode the earth or water;
  • Properly dispose of wasteincluding garbage (which must be brought back) and human waste (feces must be buried in a hole 6-8 inches deep);
  • leave what you findleaving the plants where they are and not carving initials into the trees;
  • Minimize the impacts of campfiresbuy firewood within 80km of your campsite, make sure you are in a place where fires are allowed and have the knowledge to start and extinguish the fire safely;
  • Respect wildlife, and not disturb, approach or feed wild animals, or create a rapid or noisy commotion which might frighten them; and
  • Be considerate of other visitorstaking care not to disturb other hikers during their own travels.

Other rules are in place regarding spending multiple days in the High Peaks Wilderness. Camping is permitted, but overnight group sizes are limited, with a maximum of eight people at a campsite. Camping is permitted in most backcountry locations, except historic sites, nature preserves, and wildlife management areas, as well as areas within 150 feet of roads, trails or bodies of water.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has specially marked “Camp Here” sites, indicated by yellow markers, which are recommended. Bear-resistant canisters are required for all campers to store food, trash, repellent and toiletries from April 1 through November 30.

With safety secured, the next step is to find out the stats of the 46 titans of the upper Adirondacks. Below are statistics for each mountain listed among the high peaks of the Adirondacks, ranked from highest to lowest total elevation.

  • Mount Marcy
    • Keene Valley
    • 5,344 feet elevation
    • 14.8 miles
    • ~10 hours
  • Algonquin Peak
    • North of the Elbe
    • 5,114 feet above sea level
    • 9.6 miles
    • ~9 hours
  • Mount Haystack
    • Keen
    • Altitude of 4,960 feet
    • 18.8 miles
    • ~12 hours
  • Mount Skylight
    • Keen
    • 4,926 feet elevation
    • 18.9 miles
    • ~15 hours
  • Whiteface Mountain
    • Wilmington
    • 4,867 feet elevation
    • 10.4 miles
    • ~8.5 hours
  • Mountain of Ten
    • Keen
    • Altitude of 4,857 feet
    • 21.2 km
    • ~10 hours
  • gray woodpecker
    • Keen
    • 4,840 feet elevation
    • 16 miles
    • ~2 p.m.
  • Iroquois woodpecker
    • Newcomb
    • 4,840 feet elevation
    • 18.6 miles
    • ~11 hours
  • basin mountain
    • Keen
    • 3,650 feet elevation
    • 16.5 miles
    • ~11 hours
  • Mount Gothics
    • Keen
    • 4,736 feet above sea level
    • 10 miles
    • ~9 hours
  • Mount Colden
    • Keen
    • 4,714 feet above sea level
    • 15.2 miles
    • ~10 hours
  • Mountain of the Giants
    • Keen
    • 4,627 feet above sea level
    • 6 miles
    • ~7.5 hours
  • nipple top
    • North Hudson
    • 4,620 feet elevation
    • 12.6 miles
    • ~10 hours
  • Santanoni Peak
    • Newcomb
    • 4,607 feet above sea level
    • 18.4 miles
    • ~10 hours
  • Mount Redfield
    • Keen
    • Altitude of 4,606 feet
    • 17.5 miles
    • ~2 p.m.
  • Peak Wright
    • North of the Elbe
    • 4,580 feet elevation
    • 7 miles
    • ~7 hours
  • Saddleback Mountain
    • Keen
    • 4,515 feet elevation
    • 13.4 miles
    • ~10 hours
  • panther peak
    • Newcomb
    • 4,442 feet elevation
    • 12 miles
    • ~13.5 hours
  • Table Top Mountain
    • Essex County
    • 4,427 feet elevation
    • 10 miles
    • ~7-9 hours
  • Rock Peak Ridge
    • Keen
    • 4,420 feet elevation
    • 13.4 miles
    • ~11 hours
  • Mount Macomb
    • North Hudson
    • 4,405 feet elevation
    • 8.4 miles
    • ~8 hours
  • Mount Armstrong
    • Keene Valley
    • 4,400 feet elevation
    • 12.7 miles
    • ~11 hours
  • Peak Hough
    • North Hudson
    • 4,400 feet elevation
    • 13.7 miles
    • ~11 hours
  • Mount Seward
    • Harriettown
    • 4,361 feet above sea level
    • 16 miles
    • ~5 p.m.
  • Mount Marshall
    • Newcomb
    • 4,360 feet elevation
    • 14 miles
    • ~11 hours
  • Mount Allen
    • Keene Valley
    • 4,340 feet elevation
    • 26.2 miles
    • ~1 p.m.
  • big toboggan mountain
    • Keen
    • 4,240 feet elevation
    • 9.4 miles
    • ~8 hours
  • Esther Mountain
    • Wilmington
    • 4,240 feet elevation
    • 9.4 miles
    • ~7.5 hours
  • upper jaw
    • Keene Valley
    • 4,185 feet elevation
    • 12.7 miles
    • ~11 miles
  • Lower Wolfjaw
    • Keen
    • 4,175 feet elevation
    • 8.7 miles
    • ~8 hours
  • Mountain Street
    • North of the Elbe
    • 4,166 feet above sea level
    • 8.8 miles
    • ~9.5 miles
  • Mount Phelps
    • North of the Elbe
    • 4,161 feet above sea level
    • 8.8 miles
    • ~9 hours
  • Mount Donaldson
    • Harriettown
    • 4,140 feet elevation
    • 17 miles
    • ~5 p.m.
  • Mount Seymour
    • Harriettown
    • 4,120 feet elevation
    • 14 miles
    • ~11 hours
  • sawtooth mountain
    • Keen
    • 4,100 feet elevation
    • 19.8 miles
    • ~9 hours
  • Cascade Mountain
    • Keen
    • 4,098 feet above sea level
    • 7.8km
    • ~5 hours
  • Southern Ten
    • North Hudson
    • 4,060 feet elevation
    • 18.5km
    • ~12 hours
  • Mount Porter
    • Keen
    • 4,059 feet above sea level
    • 7.6 miles
    • ~5.5 hours
  • Mount Colvin
    • Keen
    • 4,057 feet above sea level
    • 10.8 miles
    • 10 hours
  • Mount Emmons
    • Harriettown
    • 4,040 feet elevation
    • 18 miles
    • ~6 p.m.
  • Dial the mountain
    • Keen
    • 4,020 feet elevation
    • 10 miles
    • ~9 hours
  • peak of grace
    • North Hudson
    • 4,012 feet above sea level
    • 12.5 miles
    • ~12 hours
  • Mount Blake
    • Keen
    • 3,960 feet elevation
    • 13.6 miles
    • ~12 hours
  • Cliff Mountain
    • Newcomb
    • 3,960 feet elevation
    • 17.2 miles
    • ~12 hours
  • Mount Nye
    • North of the Elbe
    • 3,895 feet elevation
    • 7.5 miles
    • ~8.5 hours
  • Couchsachraga Peak
    • Newcomb
    • 3,820 feet elevation
    • 15 miles
    • ~12 hours