A Hike in the Saranac Lake Region

What up Road Trip Warriors!? We climbed another mountain in the Adirondacks! This one was up the Saranac Lake area. It was Scarface Mountain, one of the Saranac 6ers. We decided to do this hike because it is currently mud season in the Adirondacks. This is when the trails get muddy and the ecosystems, especially those above 3,000′, are most fragile. I researched which hikes are best to do during mud season in the Adirondacks, and the Saranac Lake Region popped up! Here is everything about Scarface Mountain!

Summary of Scarface Mountain

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 7.6 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 3,088′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: Took about two hours and forty-five minutes to reach summit. Took about an hour and a half to get back to the car. We stopped at a viewpoint before the summit for twenty minutes as well.
  • Photo Opportunities: There is one viewpoint before the summit where decent photos can be taken. Scarface is not known for its views, but it is still a great hike nonetheless. Photos can be taken along the bridge in the beginning of the hike, and at the summit with the white marker nailed to the tree.

Beginning of the Hike

This hike begins at the trailhead which can be found a tenth of a mile down Ray Brook Road. It is on the left-hand side of the road. Ray Brook Road is off of Route 86, and it is hard to miss because there is a huge convenience store just before it. Park at the trailhead and sign in at the wooden register.

You’ll be following red trail signs for the entirety of this hike. The trail is relatively easy to follow. Just make sure you are paying attention.

Scarface: Red trail sign

Railroad, Wooden Bridge, and Abandoned Bike

Relatively early in this trek, you will cross train tracks. Its a great spot to take some photos before continuing your hike. We took photos here on our way back to the car.

Scarface: Railroad Sign

Scarface: Railroad tracks

Shortly after crossing these tracks and making your way through the woods, you’ll come across a wooden bench that is dedicated to a man that passed away on the mountain.

Scarface: Sign on bench

Across from this bench is a wooden bridge that crosses a pond. It was rebuilt in August of 1985.

Scarface: Bridge

Scarface: Sign on bridge

Once you are over the bridge and continue along the trail, you will come across an old foundation and an abandoned orange bicycle. It is a little eery so we did not stick around too long. Sheer cliffs are one thing….but I do not mess with ghosts…

Scarface: Abandoned Bike

Gradual Incline After the Bike

After passing the scary bike, the trail remains relatively level. You’ll eventually be hiking along a stream and the trail gradually gains elevation. At the 1.5 mile mark, there is a well-marked split.

The trail ascends Scarface in some pitches that are easy, and some pitches that are relatively steep. There are some spots that required a little bit of scrambling, but it was nothing serious. It was icy for us so we had to be more cautious.

Views from a Lookout

Scarface Mountain is not known for its spectacular views, but if you want to be a Saranac 6er, it is one of the mountains that must be hiked. There is one spot about a half-mile from the summit where there are some pretty cool views. We stopped here for about twenty minutes to eat and take some pics.

Scarface: Views

Scarface: Photo of me

Scarface Mountain Summit

The summit of Scarface Mountain is rather anticlimactic. It is a wooded summit and you know when you’ve hit it because there is a white disc nailed to a tree. However, it is still worth hitting the top of this peak just to say you did it. It also adds to the workout and more time spent in the woods. Plus….we hike mountains to summit them.

Scarface: Summit disc

Getting Back to the Trailhead/Parking

This trail is an out-and-back trail. Therefore, you are just going to hike out the same way you hiked in. Pay attention on your way down so you don’t make a wrong turn.

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly. I am sure your dog would love hanging out in the woods with you! Keep in mind that the hike is 7.6 miles round trip. Carry enough food and water for the both of you!

Fam-Friendly

This hike is moderate because of its length, but most individuals should be able to do it. It is a great workout and a good choice when it is mud season in the High Peaks.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas joggers 
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic long sleeve top
  • Beanie
  • Gloves

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • LL Bean Winter Jacket 
  • Extra layers (UnderArmour)
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Adhesive body warmer
  • Hand Warmers
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for taking the time to check out this hike! I hope it was helpful/informative for those looking to hike in the Saranac Lake area. Scarface is definitely a hike worth doing. Hit the like and follow buttons if you found this post helpful. Leave a comment if you want to reach out. I am always open to questions, suggestions, and remarks! I look forward to sharing more!

-Ant

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