Ampersand Mountain Trail

HARD 206 reviews
#3 of 184 trails in

Ampersand Mountain Trail is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Saranac Lake, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until March. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
4.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1742 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

This hike is not one of the 46's but at 3352' Ampersand is a fun, challenging hike with great views from the top. Some steep, tough areas with rockface and some bouldering but it is well worth it.

hiking
3 days ago

Hiked up Ampersand today (4/21) and there was definitely a good amount of snow on the trail. The trail is 2.7 miles one way with an elevation gain of 1777’. The trail starts off really easy but in areas where the snow melted, it was muddy. The hike was pretty much all slush.

After about 1.5 miles, the trail begins its elevation gain and steepens out until the very top. My only real struggle with the trail wasn’t the steepness but that it was exacerbated with the snow/ice. It would have been very difficult had I not been wearing spikes/crampons. If you misstep, you’re definitely sliding down a good 5-10ft on the snow.
Coming back down, I ended sliding down about a third of the trail because good footing was tough to get.

All that being said, the view from the top is worth it. Would do it again, no questions asked. Took about an hour and half to get to the top.

hiking
24 days ago

Beautiful hike! Challenging in some parts but the view is well worth it.

1 month ago

This trail has an easy start up until the old ranger cabin site. It gets steep after this, but very fun and challenging. This is a very good hike summer, fall or winter with 360° views. Springtime can be very muddy. There are several water sources along the way also.

1 month ago

Fantastic view , make sure you have snow shoes

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike!!! Winter time crampons or snowshoes a must. !!! The summit has a gorgeous 360 view. Hike takes about 4-5 hrs. Enjoy!!!

3 months ago

One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done!! Though, I am partial to the Adirondacks. The views from the summit are really exceptional!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike and a little hard but manageable!

4 months ago

Beautiful 360 view from the top. Beautiful trail with varying terrain. The hike kicked my butt and showed my how out of shape I am but that's ok the beauty was worth the struggle.

4 months ago

Great hike today. The higher I went, the more I felt like I was in Narnia. Stunningly beautiful...bluebird sky, snow packed down, perfect. Super super windy at the summit. Definitely want to use microspikes. Poles with baskets are a plus, too.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome sunrise hike ..

5 months ago

I thought this hike was difficult towards the top. Without the proper equipment the ice made it even harder. Even so- I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan on hiking Ampersand again in the near future.

hiking
5 months ago

Great Hike. Tough for me with little experience but well worth the struggle. be ready for a lot elevation gain like going up 200 flights of stairs. All uphill. The views are worth it. Multiple stopping points with great views.

hiking
6 months ago

Phenomenal views with only a bit of effort.

hiking
6 months ago

Amazing view this is by far a fav I will be sure to go back

6 months ago

Incredible 360° at the top! The trip there was challenging and tricky towards the top but doable. The trail gets pretty steep, but still fun for the dogs as well.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike. Steeper and harder than expected, but amazing view at the top.

6 months ago

Harder than I thought it would be.

hiking
6 months ago

Ampersand - 5th mountain of Day 3 of my quest to complete the Saranac Lake 6er Challenge. Trail head to Summit - 1 hr 45 minutes moderate pace. From the trail head to the second brook the trail is fairly easy and enjoyable until you reach the boulder staircase from hell. Quite steep, muddy, wet, lots of tree roots and boulders which made the climb much more challenging as you systematically plot your path upward while navigating huge boulders and obstacles, but fun. As you approach the open rock face follow the yellow arrows to the summit. The 360 views at the top are all worth it. Enjoy!!!! Before leaving the parking lot across the highway from the trail head I recommend checking out the sandy beach at Middle Saranac Lake it's only .6 miles each way. Another nice photo opportunity.

7 months ago

Completed this trail 2 days ago. Trail is found across the road from the designated parking area. The first mile is pretty easy with a couple small bridges to cross. After about a mile on the trail the incline begins. As you climb, the rocks are placed like a stairway but at times is difficult to follow going up. Coming down is much easier to follow. As you get closer to the top, the trail is not marked well. There was a large boulder I thought I needed to climb over but the trail went left instead of right. The way it looked the trail could have went either way. I thought this was a physically demanding hike and would consider myself fairly in shape. Also, closer to the summit, the mud was in abundance. It took me just over 2 hours to complete going up and an hour to go down. The views as you arrive to the peak are breathtaking! 360 views plus the fall leaves made for some amazing photos!

hiking
7 months ago

Realy nice climb up, easy first half, the second half got pretty challenging. Going down is much much easier than going up, and the 360 view on top is amazing. Definitely a significant challenge if you aren't in shape.

7 months ago

Amazing view. Camped on the summit and seen the Milky Way. Tough hike with a 50lb pack

hiking
7 months ago

Great changes in terrain. Starts off slow and easy and ends with scrambling. Fantastic views! Absolutely 5 star!

hiking
7 months ago

Really fun trail and beautiful 360 views at summit. Girlfriend and I had an awesome time. Not very difficult for two mid 20's in reasonable shape. Made it two top in a little less than two hours, spent an hour there, and made the return in an hour. Will make return trips for sure.

hiking
7 months ago

This mountain is a beast. There are several portions where you are scrambling up bare rock at quite an incline. There is one portion where you have to put your foot in a tree root and pull yourself up the tree onto the rock. The views from the top make it worth it.

hiking
7 months ago

Not easy, but the 360 view at the top is worth it all! Make it happen!

7 months ago

Definitely a work out but 100 % worth it. Full 360 degree uninterrupted views. Absolutely breathtaking

7 months ago

beautiful trail! the hike there is very pretty with moss and brooks and the peak is really something else. However 'stairmaster 3000 on steroids' or 'vertical deathmarch' would be accurate descriptions of the second half of the trail lol. it was very steep and fairly slippery/muddy in many areas. would not recommend to novice hikers or those who are out of shape. it's defiantly worth it if you can make it though.

7 months ago

This trail got steep but it was awesome! Did it was 3 young girls and they loved it.

7 months ago

Great hike!!! The last stretch was a bit steep and some of the rocks were muddy and wet so you definitely had to watch your footing. Totally worth it for the views at the top.

hiking
7 months ago

Ampersand is my favorite of the Saranac Six! A hermit used to live on the mountain and not only can you find artifacts left behind but he moved boulders to form a staircase for a large portion of the trail. The summit is bald with a 360° view of the Saranac lakes. I don't know why this peak is rated hard, I consider it moderate.

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