Explore the best wildlife trails in High Peaks Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

A Gothic Adventure:
Adirondack Park, in Upstate New York, is six million acres of beautiful mountains and lakes, an area so big that Glacier, Yosemite, the Great Smokies, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon National Parks could fit inside it. There are over 2000 miles of hiking trails in the Adirondack Park, the largest trail system in the US. Adirondack Mountains, which lie in-side the park, are growing faster than the Himalayas, one foot every 100 years. Hike Peaks Wilderness area has some of the highest peaks in the park, over 4000 feet in elevation. One such peak is Gothics Mountain, at 4734 feet, with its sheer rock face resembling Gothic architecture.
We decided to hike Gothics mountain on August 12th and began researching the various trails leading up to the peak. Hiking up to Pyramid mountain via Weld trail and then to the summit of Gothics was the shortest route up. For coming down we decided upon the relatively gentler but longer Beaver Meadow trail, making it roughly 6 miles round-trip hike with nearly 4000 ft of elevation change. Now, the access to these trails is from Ausable Club, which adds another 6 miles or so of relatively flat terrain to the total hike. This would prove to be more tiring later!
On a cloudy Friday afternoon, with thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday, 4 of us left on a six-hour drive to St. Huberts NY, where we had booked a cottage for two nights. We reached our destination just as the evening light was fading away. After a quick dinner at a local diner we were in our beds, checking the weather forecast once again for the next day. It called for afternoon thunderstorms so we decided to get an early start to our hike.
By 6 AM we were out on the road, driving to a small parking area for Giant Mountain, Roaring Brook Falls, just 5 minutes away from our cottage. Once we made sure we had all our hiking gear from the car, we crossed the road to enter the Ausable club access way. After about 0.5 miles of walking by a golf course and some tennis courts, we reached a ranger station where we signed in at about 6:30 AM. Then we passed through a gate to get to an unpaved road which would lead us to the trailhead. Lake road, as it is appropriately called, goes up to Lower Ausable Lake. We reached the lake by 8 AM and took some pictures of the beautiful surroundings. Then we crossed a wooden bridge, overlooking a dam, to get to the actual start of the hike.
The trail quickly became rocky, as we proceeded through the woods. We made a quick side-stop to Rainbow Falls, which is 150 feet of cascades in a narrow gorge. Back on the trail, it was a steady incline all the way. Soon the rocks became larger and the trail steeper. Around 10 AM we reached the intersection of Pyramid and Sawteeth mountain trails. We turned right towards Pyramid mountain as we were engulfed by clouds. The vegetation was more arctic and in certain spots our only hope of climbing up was to hold on to the trees and push ourselves up. We were on our fours by this time and the trail was very arduous. After an hour and a half of relentless climbing we reached Pyramid Mountain whose summit was a large smooth rock amongst the dense vegetation. The surrounding view was blocked by clouds but we got some glimpses whenever there was a break in the clouds. We could see the sharp rock slides beneath us and the series of lakes in the distance. The view was hallucinogenic.
After a brief halt where we rested our tired backs, it was off towards the summit of Gothics. The trail descended over the col and then climbed steeply again. We were dealing with a muddy trail from earlier rain and it was tricky to circumvent the wet sections. By 12:30 PM we finally reached the summit of Gothics mountain. Perched on the rocks was another hiker who had climbed over from the other side on a trail that involves chains.
This was a good spot for a lunch break, though I found it tough to eat anything due to dryness in my throat. We all made phone calls to our family members and even did FaceTime to share the incredible view from above. By this time the clouds had rolled away for us to enjoy the view. After half an hour, we slowly headed down by Beaver Meadow trail.
Going downhill posed its own unique challenges. The muddy trail and slippery rocks made the going very slow as we would cautiously approach each turn. A small misstep could send us hurtling down the steep sides. We held on to vegetation for support at each step. Some larger rock sections had wooden ladders placed over them to make it easier to climb. We crossed bogs of mud as we slowly continued our descent. This trail is more frequented and we met groups of people heading up the way. By this time, we had split into two groups and as usual I ended up bringing up the rear. My bodybuilder friend who had kept up with the pace so far had started cramping in his left leg and found going downhill tougher.
After a long couple of hours, we reached a trail junction where the other two hik

Beware that no dogs are allowed and this restriction is strictly enforced. The parking is across the highway from the Roaring Brook access to Giant Mt. and is at the southerly of the two junctions of Rt. 73 and Ausable Rd. (not "Ausable Club Rd.") On a busy weekend, you will likely have to park on the highway. From the parking area, walk 1/2-mile up the road past a golf course. Just before reaching he large clubhouse, turn left and down between two tennis courts to the gate house and trail register.

Me and some friends had the courage to take on Haystack as well as Marcy in the same day and were rewarded with fantastic views from both. Would not recommend for inexperienced hikers, but if you’re looking for a challenge then this is the hike for you.

We actually left out of the Garden parking lot and went up Saddleback and then Gothics. We hit some downpour at the stairs and some of the slopes were a little tricky due to the amount of water, but it was still a great time. We went with some newer people and they did not move as fast as we were hoping... we tried to go back the south side of the river to save some time, but we got to a point where the trail was washed out. We later saw that warning on the sign at the split... we all missed it on the way out. Saddleback had great views at the top - the wind was whipping but the clouds were flowing over the mountains pretty quickly. We were in a cloud on top of Gothics so no view but fun to climb the ropes in the fog. Overall a great fairly challenging hike.

camped up near the top of roaring Brook falls, hiked down, then when to the top. very fun hike, challenging and a great view

What a great hike. We took the West Creek trail from the gate at the Ausable Club, but weren't sure if it would connect with the Beaver Meadows Trail (it does), so we turned back and crossed to Enchanted Rocks bridge and used the East Creek trail to access the trail up to the saddle between Armstrong and Gothics. Very steep ascent to the col, then a quick ridge run to the summit of Gothics. Great views from the summit although it was somewhat raucous and crowded. On descending the Range Trail to pick up the Weld Trail, we overshot the cutoff (sign was not at the intersection but a bit down to the south, out of view) and ended up at an unnamed overlook with great views to the east. We found the Weld Trail and descended to the col between Gothics and Pyramid. The ascent of Pyramid looks longer and steeper than it really is, and the view of Gothics, Saddleback and the Dial, Nippletop, Blake and Colvin peaks is quite remarkable from the summit. The descent from Pyramid was arduous. Upon reaching the foot of Lower Ausable Lake we stopped to view Rainbow Falls before crossing the dam and walking out four miles on the Lake Road. The road went on forever and was boring, but after 11 plus miles of hiking on trails, the footing was easy. We hiked over 9 hours and about 15 miles. I ran out of battery for my phone, so my GPS track stops abruptly on the descent on the Weld Trail.

The first half of the trail is relatively flat but oh so much mud and bog to skirt! Made for a lot of hopping and even fighting through thick bush around a deep swamp. After the second register the trail is more soft and pleasant, but the last mile is very steep and slippery. I fell at least 3 times, twice hard, and once scraped up my arm pretty well. There is a nice view a few steps further from summit. We sat for 40 minutes eating bagels with cream cheese and salmon, followed by chocolate cake and coffee. We then chatted with a group of 4 men we'd been leap-frogging all morning. All in all an hour on top, which is long and luxurious for us! It took about 4.5 hours up and 4 down.

Did it on an overcast day! Beautiful still and such fun rocks to climb! Dog did it with me! Would recommend an early start, but if not, headlamps!

I thoroughly loved this hike! It's a nice climb at the beginning with soft terrain, and becomes more challenging towards the top when the trail becomes rockier. Pyramid Peak offers great views of the High Peaks, and the river below provides amazing scenery as well as a wonderful waterfall near the end (or beginning depending on which way you start the hike). Also, the trees really provide shade on the way up which is great on sunny days. I highly recommend this hike as it is well-marked and strenuous, but not a killer hike!

The climb up Giant was amazing as a good portion of the trail is open rock face with great views. The decent/accent/decent/accent going to rocky ridge and back is pretty brutal but well worth it. You can see Vermont and lake Champlain from rocky ridge on a clear day. My 7th and 8th high peaks and favorite hike so far. Be on the lockout for copperheads sunbathing on the open rock face. Ran into a couple on my hike.

Usually very muddy. Sure was when I hiked it. Plenty of water sources until you get on top of the range and go towards Couchy. Great view of Long Lake to the west and other high peaks to the east!

1 month ago

Allen felt very much like Seymour over in the Sewards, just add about 6 miles to its length. I had been pushing this hike all year trying to do it with a few days of dry conditions and low water levels. Attempting it in early September it was a perfect day with the leaves changing, temps hovering in the high 50's-low 60's, and for how much I wanted to dislike the hike due to its length I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Yes my feet were a little worn by the time I finished but it was definitely a pleasant experience.

If you plan on doing this hike as a single day outing, definitely set aside some time for this one. Not realizing how far the trail head was from Lake placid, I had started later than I had hoped @ 9:15am. I had estimated I had a good 10 hours until sunset- finished in 9 hours and 50 minutes. Try not to cut it as close as I did if you can.

Trails are very easy to follow as the first 5 miles are on an old road. The herd path after the 2nd reg. box was at times even easier to navigate than the DEC trail. Just keep close eye on the trail as you ascend in the last 1 mile. Stay to the right of the river as you ascend-then to the left as you reach the last (and steepest) summit scramble- Its pretty obvious for the most part but with leaf cover like I experienced- it can make it easier to lose.

*Note* The gentleman who had mentioned the red moss on the slabs as you ascend Allen was 100% correct. Very slippery as I had pulled a Charlie Brown on the way down.

*Note* As of September 2017, unlike what the original write up for the hike states, there is now in fact a 2nd suspension bridge at the 4 mile mark- no fording necessary