John Guilford's Hikes
Algonquin Peak, Adirondacks, NY (2nd highest in NY) on 1993-08-03
Location: Algonquin Peak, Adirondacks, NY (2nd highest in NY)
People: (including myself): Pam Becker
My Alt. Real Alt.
Start (ADK Loj): 12:40 2180 2179
Wright Peak trail: 2:50 3880 3900 (2.8 miles)
Treeline: 3:30 4600
Summit: 3:50 5000 5114 (3.5 miles)
Wright Peak trail: 5:45
Out: 7:50 2180
Algonquin is a nice, straightforward hike in the High Peaks region of the
Adirondacks that shows the rounded rocky peak typical of New England.
Parking is available at the trailhead (for a fee) at the Adirondack Loj
that is run by the ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) near Lake Placid, NY.
There is also a campground there.
The weather was nice and reasonably warm. There were about 1/2 sun and 1/2
clouds during the hike.
The trail is in good condition and relatively dry. It starts off flat for
the first mile or so and then begins to climb. There are several trails
that lead off of this trail, though the signs are easy to follow and there
is no difficulty keeping to the correct trail. There are X-C ski trails
around there that are only passable in the snow (too much brush during the
summer). As the trail climbs, you pass a nice waterfall/cascade on the
left. The climb is even and not terribly difficult. As you gain
altitude, views of the surrounding countryside begin to appear. The trees
change from the valley floor broadleaf trees to a birch forest to pine
trees to bare rock as one gains in height. The trail changes from dirt to
a rocky trail with some large stretches on sloping slabs of rock. Some of
the rock was a bit wet, but (with a couple exceptions) it wasn't slick and
provided good footing. Slick shoes would have been a problem, but our
hiking boots stuck to the rock just fine and we had no trouble, even on the
It was relatively warm and we were sweating on the way up. At times the
clouds got thicker and we wondered if we'd get caught in a thunder storm or
not, but it didn't look too threatening, and there was still blue sky
around, so we pressed on. For a shorter hike, a side trail leads to the
summit of Wright Peak at 2.8 miles. We briefly thought about that, but
decided that the worst that could happen is that we'd get damp, and kept
heading for the summit of Algonquin. As you near the summit, you leave
tree line and enter alpine tundra conditions. The growing season here is
very short and the conditions are very harsh. Thus, it takes a long time
for vegetation to recover from damage, so hikers should stay on bare rock
at all times, or along the established trail. Getting out of the trees and
up onto the summit rock allowed the wind to find us. It got mighty chilly
mighty fast. After going up to the official summit we found a wind break
on the leeward side of the summit and had some "lunch". This did Pam some
good, as she had been feeling the effects of low blood sugar on the way up.
In hindsight, she should have done more snacking along the way, though we
did have an apple during the ascent. We had to put on our jackets due to
the chill wind.
There was a ranger on the summit, just to see that people weren't trashing
the vegetation and to answer questions.
The view was great from up there. There was a good view of Mt. Marcy and a
360 degree view of the High Peaks area. The sun was still playing
hide-and-seek with the clouds.
After lunch and taking some pictures we headed down. Unfortunately I
dropped my pen and it fell down into a crack between two rocks. I didn't
like leaving "litter" on the summit, but I couldn't get close to retrieving
it, so I had to go down with out it.
The way down was uneventful. Soon after re-entering the trees the
temperature warmed back up and the jackets came off. We got down just
before sunset. We needed to make a pit stop, and it took asking directions
before we found the restrooms for the campground.
On the drive out from the Loj, we saw a couple towers near Lake Placid. We
almost went over to investigate, but it was getting late and we wanted to
get moving. We later found out that those towers were the ski jump runs
used during the Olympic games at Lake Placid.
The hike was definitely worth-while. It's not difficult and can be done in
as a day hike from Albany w/out getting up terribly early in the morning.
Pam near a little cascade.
Pam and John on Algonquin's summit.
View from Algonquin's summit.
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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015