Ampersand Mountain

Ampersand: Part of the Saranac 6er’s!

What is happenin’ Road Trip Warriors!? I recently climbed my fifth mountain out of the six Saranac 6ers challenge. This mountain has to be my favorite part of the 6ers thus far. The views are unbelievable, the summit is open rock, and you can see many of the High Peaks from this summit. I highly recommend this hike, especially if you’re looking to get away from the High Peaks region for a bit.

Summary of Ampersand Mountain

  • Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
  • Length: 5.4 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 3,353′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took about an hour-and-a-half to reach the summit from the trailhead. We took occasional water breaks on the way to the summit as well. 
  • Elevation Gain: 1,775′
  • Photo Opportunities: The scenes from the summit of Ampersand are unbelievable. The summit is open rock with 360º views. You can see Whiteface, Ampersand Pond, the surrounding mountains and bodies of water. The summit provides more than enough room to explore so you can capture different angles, lighting, and landscapes.

Trailhead

The trailhead for Ampersand mountain is off of Route 3, between Saranac and Tupper Lake. If you are coming from Saranac, the parking lot will be on the right side of the road. The lot isn’t that big, and it fills up rather quickly. Many people parked on the side of the road. The trailhead is directly across the street from the parking lot.

Ampersand Trailhead Sign

First Half of the Hike Towards the Summit

The first 1.5 to 1.7 miles of this hike is relatively straight-forward. The trail is for the most part, relatively flat. You’ll cross some wooden bridges and make your way across a couple streams. The forest is beautiful and it is a calming environment. Just be careful to watch your footing as you cross the streams.

Second Half…

The second half (1 mile from the summit) is pretty tough. You’ll ascend around 1300′ during this span of the hike. Don’t push yourself too hard, and drink a lot of water. It seems to be unrelenting, but I can assure you that the views are worth it. It gets a little better once you near Ampersand’s summit. The summit is a bald rock offering 360º views  making it very cool to come out of the woods and up onto the rock.

Ampersand’s Summit

This was by far my favorite Saranac 6er out of the five that I’ve done. The scenes that Ampersand mountain offers compared to the others are utterly outmatched. You’re rewarded with commanding views of Ampersand Pond, Whiteface Mountain in the far distance, and the surrounding Adirondack Mountains.

Ampersand Pond

Above is Ampersand Pond. It is isolated, surrounded by the thick Adirondack forest. It is a really pretty sight to see from the summit of this Saranac 6er.

View of Whiteface from Ampersand

In the top right of the picture above, Whiteface Mountain towers above the surrounding region. You can observe the ski slopes going down mountain’s face.

Views from Ampersand Summit

Above is another vantage point that this mountain offers. As you can see, you’re able to observe many of the regions’ bodies of water. The Adirondacks are home to plenty of lakes, ponds, and streams.

Ampersand Summit Marker

Above is the summit marker that you can find on Ampersand’s bald peak. It isn’t too difficult to find. Just explore the summit for a bit and you’ll eventually come across it.

Getting Back to the Trailhead

Ampersand Mountain is an out-and-back trail. Thus, you just have to hike out the same way you hiked in.

Dog-Friendly

This Saranac 6er is dog-friendly. I saw a couple pups hiking along the trail with their owners. Its a great hike that I am sure they would enjoy! Just bring enough water for the both of you!

Fam-Friendly

This hike is moderate/difficult because of its length and ascent. It gets pretty steep during the last mile. I still believe most individuals could do this hike, just take your time and stay hydrated. 

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Bandana (great for keeping the sweat out of your eyes)
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • 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 reading this post about Ampersand Mountain! I hope it was helpful/informative for those looking to become a Saranac 6er or are just looking for something away from the High Peaks Region. I definitely recommend it for new and experienced hikers alike! The views are unbelievable and the hike is a blast! Anyways, hit the like and follow buttons if you found this post helpful or enjoyed the photographs! Leave a comment if you want to reach out! Looking forward to sharing more!

-Ant

 

 

 

 

Haystack Mountain: Saranac Region

Saranac 6er Number Four!

What up Road Trip Warriors!? It has been a few since I posted last! As soon as I got home from my road trip I started a new job and have been focused on that. I did get a hike in though that I wanted to share with you all! It was my fourth Saranac 6er mountain, Haystack, and it was TERRIBLE. I have never had a hike I disliked until this one. It had nothing to do with the length, incline, or any of that…..it was the mosquitoes!!!! I have never been attacked by more mosquitoes in my life while out in the woods…..anyways, I wanted to give you all some info about the hike and what to expect!

Summary of Haystack Mountain

  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
  • Length: 6.6 – 7 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 2,878′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took us just under 2 hours to reach the summit. We didn’t take many breaks to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitoes…
  • Photo Opportunities: The summit of Haystack offers some good views, but I wasn’t able to see them. It was extremely overcast and the fog was thick.

Beginning of the Hike

The trailhead is right off off Route 86 near Lake Placid. There is a large parking lot with a trailhead sign that is hard to miss. Here is a picture of the sign below.

Saranac Haystack Mountain Sign

Saranac Haystack:McKenzie Mountain Sign

The Trail

The trail follows blue trail markers for a couple miles through thick woods. On the day we hiked this mountain, it had just rained and the amount of moisture in the air made the hike more daunting. The trail traverses a few small streams and occasionally the streams flow alongside the trail. None of this was helping the mosquito situation. Below is one of the blue trail markers that you’ll be following along the trail to Haystack.

Haystack Saranac Blue Trail Marker

Trail Split: Haystack or Mckenzie

After hiking for some time along the relatively flat trail through the woods the trail splits. There is a noticeable sign which points to Haystack and Mckenzie. We continued onto Haystack on the left of the split.

Saranac Haystack Trail Split

Summit of Haystack in Saranac!

After the trail split, the hike starts to climb, and at around the 3 mile mark of the hike, the climb gets more aggressive. You’ll know when you’re at the summit because it is an open ledge with plenty of space to walk around. The views would have been great if it weren’t for the fog. I still recommend doing this hike, just maybe when the mosquitoes aren’t as bad and the weather is better.

Summit of Haystack in Saranac

Continuing Towards Mckenzie Mountain and Calling the Hike Off

You can continue hiking on a trail (not the one you were just on, walk along the summit of Haystack and you’ll find it on the opposite side of your initial approach) after summiting Haystack. It will descend and you’ll eventually reach a cairn. Turn right at the cairn. This trail will lead you to an intersection upon which you can turn left to continue onto Mckenzie or right to hike 3.4 miles back to the parking lot on Route 86. There is a wooden sign on a tree at this intersection that you can reference.

The mosquitoes had gotten so bad at this point that I had been bitten at least 12-15 times, and that’s being conservative. It was probably more than that. Because of this, we decided it would be best to come back to Mckenzie another time. It is the highest of the Saranac 6ers, so I want better weather and hopefully less bugs the next time that I go. Before anyone starts picking on me, YES I did bring bug spray and it did NOTHING.

Getting Back to the Trailhead/Parking

This trail loops around so you can summit Haystack and follow the new trail down that was mentioned above. Just be careful you pay attention and turn right at the small stone cairn. After that, the hike back to the car is rather self-explanatory. Just don’t trip in a stream while running away from mosquitoes like I did…bloodied my hand up pretty good when I punched a mean boulder upon my fall.

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly. I saw a dog or two hiking along the trail. Just bring extra water for your pup and he/she will do just fine. There wasn’t any part of the hike a dog would struggle with.

Fam-Friendly

This hike is easy/moderate because of its length and dependent upon your fitness level, but most individuals should be able to do it. It is a great workout and a good choice for people that want to get away from the crowds of the High Peaks.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Patagonia hat
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • Extra layers (UnderArmour)
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • 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 even though I shared how rough it was! I hope it was helpful/informative for those looking to hike in the Saranac Lake area. I am sure this hike is a lovely when it isn’t as humid and the bugs aren’t as cumbersome. I still would recommend it to a friend. Hit the like and follow buttons if you found this post helpful or enjoyed it in any way. Leave a comment if you want to reach out. I enjoy reading your thoughts and remarks! I will keep the posts coming as I continue to hike!

-Ant

 

 

St. Regis Mountain of the Saranac 6ers

Saranac 6er Number Three!

My buddy and I tagged St. Regis Mountain, another Saranac 6er, the first weekend of May. It is an absolutely beautiful fire-tower hike with the trailhead being near Paul Smith’s College. It is also another great hike to do while waiting for the end of mud season in the High Peaks region. You can find a bunch of information about this hike below.

Summary of St. Regis Mountain

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 6.6 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 2,874′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took us just under two hours to hit the summit. You could get to the summit faster if you’d like. We didn’t rush. 
  • Photo Opportunities: The summit has amazing views from its open ledges. You’ll be able to see many bodies of water of the Northern Adirondacks as well as the distant High Peaks. You can also get some great shots of the fire-tower and shots from the top of the fire-tower as well. 

Trailhead

The trailhead for St. Regis Mountain is by Paul Smith’s College. It is three miles down Keese Mill Road and the trailhead is on the lefthand side. There is sufficient room to park in the lot and the sign is hard to miss.

St. Regis Trailhead sign

Once you are parked, there is a small arrow that will point you in the direction of a dirt access road. Follow this road for a short trek to find the trailhead sign on your right. As you can see, the trail markers are yellow for this hike.

Be sure to sign in at the trail register. No matter how long or short a hike might be, it is always important to sign in and out.

St. Regis Trail Register

First Section of the Trail..

The first section of the trail is gentle. It almost feels like your casual nature walk with towering trees and it is relatively quiet. You will pass by a pond and eventually find yourself surrounding by towering trees. I thought it was a great place to take some pictures.

St. Regis woods

The elevation does steadily increase as you continue your hike, but there is nothing daunting. The trail never gets that steep until you are closer to the summit.

Stone Staircase and Closer to the Summit

As the trail continues to steepen, you will know that you’re close to the summit when you hit the stone staircases. It is a really cool spot and if you take a second to glance behind you, you’ll notice some bodies of water in the distance.

Stone stairs on St. Regis

Summit of St. Regis Mountain

After hiking another fifteen to twenty minutes, you will reach the summit of St. Regis Mountain. There are spectacular views of the Adirondack High Peaks from the cliffs and the fire-tower was recently renovated. I suggest climbing it to get another perspective of the landscape. My buddy and I actually fell asleep in the sun on the summit of St. Regis for a good twenty minutes. Safe to say that our faces got a little sunburnt. There is more than enough room on this summit to find your own space and chill. We stayed up there for a good hour taking pictures and hanging in the sun.

Views of ADK High Peaks

As you can see in the photo directly above, St. Regis rewards you with a beautiful skyline of the Adirondack High Peaks in the distance.

Getting Back to the Trailhead/Parking

This trail is an out-and-back trail so you are just going to hike out the same way you hiked in. It didn’t take us more than an hour-and-a-half to get back to my car. Just pay attention and watch your footing, Once you get down the stone staircases, its a straight-forward nature walk from there. 

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly. We saw a few hanging out on the summit with us trying to get everyone to give them snacks. They seemed to be enjoying the day. A dog would have no issue with this hike. Just remember to bring the pup extra water and food since the round-trip trek is 6.6. miles.

Fam-Friendly

Besides the length of 6.6 miles, this hike is family friendly. We saw some young children on the summit and they seemed to be enjoying the food that their parents gave them. I’d say that you’d want to be in decent shape to do this hike though whether you are an adult or a child. 

Clothes Worn

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

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)
  • 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 checking out this post! Please share it if you know someone else trying to find a nice hike in the Adirondacks that isn’t overly strenuous and offers a great reward. If you found this post to be helpful, hit the like button, gimme a follow, and comment if you have anything that you would like to share! Half-way done with the Saranac 6ers!

On another note, I leave this Saturday morning for a big two week trip out west! I am driving and I am going to visit Glacier, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Badlands National Parks! I will be blogging everyday sharing updates of where I am at and the photos I have taken. I am hoping I can get some quality shots as well as sharing as much information as I can. I look forward to keeping you all updated!

-Ant

 

Baker Mountain: Another Saranac 6er

Another Saranac 6er Down!

What up Road Trip Warriors!? We tagged another Saranac 6er, this one being Baker Mountain! It is a short hike in the Saranac Lake Region, and like Scarface Mountain, it is a great mud season hike! Here is a bunch of information on this beautiful little trek!

Summary of Baker Mountain

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.8 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 2,452′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took us about 1.5 hours to reach the summit, but that is because we stopped to take photos at some lookouts. Anyone could reach this summit in less than an hour if they really wanted to, but why rush? It took us less than an hour to get back to the car.
  • Photo Opportunities: Before the summit there is a great view of the town of Saranac as well as the surrounding area. The summit is wooded, but there is a nice rock ledge where you can sit, snack, and take more photos.

Starting the Hike

The trailhead is right next to Moody Pond. There is a sign that says “Trail to Mt. Baker” making it very easy to find. Walk up past the sign and check in at the trail register. You will be following the red trail markers for this hike.

Moody Pond

Baker Mountain Trailhead Sign

The beginning of the hike is relatively flat. There was some fresh snow when we went which made the trail a little more scenic.

Baker Mountain Trail Tree Down

The Short Climb

As this hike is only nine-tenths of a mile, the climb isn’t too strenuous. It was a little steep in some spots, but I believe most individuals would have no difficulty at all. There is one spot where you will climb up some rocks and the views open up. If you look behind you, you will be able to see the town of Saranac among other sights.

The Summit

The summit of Baker Mountain is wooded, but offers better views than Scarface does. There were two geological markers in the rock on the summit and there is a nice ledge that offers some open views. It is a great spot to chill out after your light workout. We took a bunch of photos here before we left.

Getting Back to the Trailhead/Parking

This trail is an out-and-back trail so you are just going to hike out the same way you hiked in. Pay attention on your way down. Sometimes it is the easy hikes where you let your guard down and end up getting injured. 

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly. This is a short hike that I am sure your dog would love!

Fam-Friendly

This hike is short, easy, and has awesome lookouts for the least amount of effort compared to the other Saranac 6ers. 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 
  • Underarmour
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic long sleeve top
  • Beanie
  • Gloves
  • Bandana

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. The Saranac 6ers have proved to be a lot of fun thus far, and Baker Mountain 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

Scarface Mountain

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