- Difficulty Level: Challenging
- Miles: 15 Miles
- Duration: 3 Days
A challenging traverse in the heart of the ADK High Peaks. This loops takes you through heart lake, avalanche pass, and up to the summit of Algonquin, Wright, and Iroquois. This trek offers breath taking mountain views and an adirondack high peak you won’t forget.
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The ADK Loj will act as your drop off point. You will be able to fill up your water bottles here and even rent bear canisters for your trip. You’ll need them as bear canisters are required for the High Peaks.
Your hike will start off with rolling hills, preparing you for much tougher terrain ahead. Arrive at Marcy Dam about 2.1 miles in. You can set up camp here or push another 3 miles ahead to Lake Colden. Staying at Marcy Dam is the easier option as you avoid hiking with full packs through Avalanche Pass, a rugged and rocky section.
There are numerous sites at Marcy Dam, along with some Lean-tos. Remember that there are only a total of 3 tents per camping site allowed.
The second day you’ll want to get an early start because you have a long day ahead. Make your way towards Avalanche Pass. This trek to Avalanche Pass is about 2 miles but you’ll notice the elevation changing fairly quickly to the upside.
You’ll know you’re close to Avalanche Pass when you start passing large cliffs and avalanche remnants. It will soon open up to breathtaking views at Avalanche Lake with massive cliffs towering on either side. The trail follows the edge of the cliffs along the lake with multiple bridges along the way.
A little more than a mile away is Lake Colden. Here is where you’ll start to ascend up the side of Algonquin Peak. The elevation gain is is one the largest in the Adirondack Mountains. You’ll be climbing over 2,000 feet in a fairly short distance. Luckily, the trail has naturally occurring rock steps built in and you’ll only be carrying day packs.
The trail follows a stream along the way, providing some nice spots to stop with multiple views along the way. As the stream narrows make sure to top off your water bottles as there will be no water above tree line. You’ll notice the forest change as you move higher in elevation.
When arriving above tree line, you have the option of going left to Iroquois Peak or right up Algonquin. Either way you’ll have to make your way over Algonquin. The climb up Algonquin is entirely above tree line with amazing views along the way.
After summiting Algonquin, you will descend down to the junction of Wright peak. If you have ample time, be sure to hit that peak. The trail down from here is very nice. You’re legs will be happy to go down this way rather than the way you came up.
When you get down to the bottom, you’ll do a loop back from day 1 and hike on into Marcy Dam. Time to relax and have some dinner!
The final day will be a fairly easy hike out. If you want you can go out the same way you came in or you can take a less traveled trail at the junction of Wright and the Loj trail.
Get picked up at the ADK Loj.