Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Algonquin Peak

Standing at 5,114', Algonquin peak is the second tallest peak in the Adirondacks. It is also one of the classic hikes in the ADK for several reasons; it is accessible from the LOJ parking lot. It has some great views and falls along the way and it is a challenging hike even for intermediate to advance hikers.

This first mile of the 4.2 mile ascent, takes you to the trail junction for Marcy Dam (always great spot for pictures). After the dam the trail is still relatively flat. There are no real challenges at this point. In another half mile or so there is the whale’s tail ski trail on the left side. This is mentioned for two reasons; 1. to be remembered if you ever chose to ski to Wright peak in the winter, and 2. this is where the 2700feet of elevation begins to be apparent.

The trail’s gradient becomes steeper once you have reached the Wright peak junction. Before reaching the Wright peak trail, there are some impressive water falls which the trail meanders by. After the beauty of the falls, comes the true crux of the trail a massive beast of a slide. The slab of rock requires some cautious manoeuvring as it is not hard to slip and there is nothing to stop your fall. Best seems to be a "switchback" approach as you make your way up the cracks in the slab.

Once above tree line there are some scrambling to do but nothing that technical. From the summit there are views as far as the eye can see, on a clear day that is. On our most recent climb of the mountain approximately a month ago, it was rained out. And not just a sprinkle this was a full on storm making attention to footing and your surroundings that much more important.

On a day hike there are three options to once at the summit. Go on to summit Iroquois peak; continue on the trail down below to the avalanche lake trail or simply backtracking to the LOJ.

The entire trip to the summit and back to the LOJ is roughly an 8 hour day depending of course on the hiker’s abilities, weather and amount of people on the trail. Being that it is a classic it can be rather busy. Total elevation gain is 2700 feet, total miles is 8.4 (13.5KM)


Start: LOJ
Elevation Gain: 2700 ft
Total Distance: 13.5km
Total Hiking Time: 8hours

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