The Adirondack Mountains in New York are a beautiful oasis that stands in stark contrast to the more well-known part of the state, the streets of Manhattan. With forty-six mountains to offer it will keep any mountain trekker busy for quite some time. For me, after going up Mount Marcy, Algonquin Peak seemed the obvious choice for various reasons.
It is the second highest peak in the state, second only to Mount Marcy. It is one of several peaks in the Macintyre Range in Essex County, New York. At 5114 feet in height, it offers another opportunity to view some great skylines of the Adirondack horizon. The 16 miles of trail to the peak and back are largely a mid-range trail in terms of difficulty. Some rocky trails are hard on the knees but for the most part, it is doable for most people. The nearly seven-hour hike is like a work shift for many so bring snacks and water or a good water filter to consume water on the go. Just keep the pack light and airy. Meaning don't take anything you don't need.
There are plenty of spots to take in the views, most begin with a rise in altitude. Algonquin offers you views of some other mountains you may want to conquer as well. The views span from the Macintyre Range out to Lake Placid and beyond. Right next to Algonquin are Wright Peak and Iroquois Peak. You can get to Wright Peak on the same trail as the Algonquin Trail. In fact, you can visit both peaks on the same day if you are up to it. Get an early start if you plan to do that, please.
On the way up, you will see hikers, backpackers, and campers along the trails. Algonquin is like most of the mountains in the Adirondacks, a flurry of activity for outdoor enthusiasts. If you are doing this in the winter, be prepared for the snow and ice that the Adirondacks Mountains are known for. Cramp-ons in your kit are an absolute necessity, particularly for the alpine area approaching the summit. There will also be ice along the various stream crossings along the trail, so keep them handy. With deep snow you will have to use snowshoes to get you through to the top. But not to worry, you will see the occasional trekker going up the mountain trails. Remember, not to go it alone. There is safety in numbers, especially during winter ascents when it can be challenging to get to the top. I cannot forget the wind; it can be very strong in the winter. Be prepared.
Bring your Jetboil stove to heat your food. Nothing to heavy, I hope. These trails are hard on the knees and bringing more weight than needed is discouraged. Opting for low weight freeze dried food is a good idea. That way you can carry more with less weight. There is plenty of opportunity to filter water along the way, if you don't want to carry too much. Keep your snacks handy as you make your way to the top, you may want to have a bite or two while you hike. Take rest stops as needed just don't sit on logs or mossy areas. Remember, ticks are in bloom in those areas, and you don’t want those pesky critters along for the ride. Yes, they are out even in the winter. If you did not know, the mild winters have increased their numbers in the last decade.
The last hour involves a lot of scrambling over rocks. Expect wet conditions especially if rain fell recently. The peak offers you a way to commune with the outdoors in ways you can only understand when you are there. Take in the views and make sure to take photos. On a clear day you can see clear across the Adirondacks. It is breathtaking. As a city slicker, I can tell you that the Adirondack region is much more than just a bunch of mountains. For me, Camping, kayaking, and hiking through the area have created so many unforgettable experiences throughout the years. I always find myself trying to get back to the “dacks” to revel in the majesty of those mountains. Not to mention, the countless lakes in the region. If you lack adventure in your life, take a ride to the Adirondacks for some unforgettable experiences, you will not regret it. Safe trails…