Avalanche Lake and Wright Peak Loop Via Avalanche Pass Trail

HARD 206 reviews
#10 of 180 trails in

Avalanche Lake and Wright Peak Loop Via Avalanche Pass Trail is a 11.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lake Placid, New York that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

11.4 miles
3,854 feet

dog friendly



nature trips



bird watching






wild flowers






no shade

Climb the MacIntyre Range in one day from Heart Lake over three 46er peaks including the 2nd highest in the state. Although a bit strenuous this loop climb up the MacIntyre Range is one of the most beautiful climbs in all the High Peaks (might be a tie with Rocky Peak & Giant). Travel past Marcy Dam to Avalanche Lake and ascend the range in that direction as the trail from Lake Colden up to the ridge is very steep and best climbed rather than descended. You will be amazed at the trail built around Avalanche Lake and really enjoy the waterfalls tumbling down the base of the climb up to the range which has spectacular views. Once up on the ridge you will be above the tree line with unobstructed views all around. On the way down you'll make a side trip to the summit of Wright and also have an option to check out a rocky nubble just below Wright for some last unique views.

4 months ago

This hike starts out easy, and gets tougher right when you reach avalanche lake. It is lots of fun scrambling and hiking along waterfalls. It was too foggy at the top of Algonquin peak to see much, but I imagine on a clear day it’s breathtaking. Great views anyways, and highly recommended.

4 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike

5 months ago


5 months ago

My wife and I hike a fair amount in the Western US and didn’t really understand how difficult this hike was before embarking. It is clear from the distance of the loop, the vertical involved, and the steepness that a “hard” rating is well deserved. What we didn’t know was how slow we’d have to hike to negotiate the boulders and natural, ungroom condition of the “trail.” It was a challenge! The time on the trail with late August heat and humidity revealed our poor planning in water consumption. Our bad. The reason for a lower rating is colored by our experience and lack of planning but is more about the relatively few vistas for the effort. Others might rate this loop higher for the technical challenge.

6 months ago

Long and challenging but well worth it. Doing this loop gives a nice diversity of things to see as opposed to the shorter out and back to top Algonquin. Highly recommend

6 months ago

This hike kicked my butt. awesome hike. took 11 hrs cause I'm out of shape but working on it! great time!

7 months ago

正。石头多到要吐。我走的是顺时针方向,经过湖超级正。上山就被一堆堆石头虐了。下山也是,都是石头泪啊。可以在Strava check in my data “ Chenyufeng

7 months ago

Glad I didn’t know how hard this loop would be before I naively took on the challenge...Ha! The scenic views are well worth every drop of sweat. I hiked from the Loj to Lake Colden thru Avalanche Pass and spent night in a lean to. Had a bear play soccer with my Bear Keg. Also saw beaver swimming in the lake. Next day I hiked up Boundary Pass and took a left at the top to be the first hiker of the day to enjoy Iroquois. Also a fantastic view of Wallface to the west. Hike up the pass was VERY difficult, but the views of Avalanche Pass & Great Range were amazing. I would not recommend hiking “down” the pass as it’s wet from the numerous waterfalls and quite slippery. After Iroquois I touched Algonquin and Wright on the way back to the Loj...knees screaming all the way. Day was clear and had views of Lake Champlain and mountains in Vermont. A hike I’ll never forget!

8 months ago

love this hike.

8 months ago

Impressive trail with amazing views.

9 months ago

hike was amazing micro spikes not needed, way more scenic and enjoyable then the regular in out loop. views from algonquin are breathtaking, and avalanche pass is gorgeous.

11 months ago

it was a gorgeous hike and decently challenging just take your time on the way down I sprained my lcl going to quickly

11 months ago

Difficult climb chose to do it the other day after a snowstorm. The hike was beautiful with the snow covered trees but unfortunately we had zero visibility at top but we still enjoyed the loop. Would like to revisit in the summer!

11 months ago

Hiked this back in August. It was my second high peak hike, so it was a long, rough day. The way up was uneventful, but still relatively steep and difficult. Summits were rainy and foggy with no views. It started pouring on the way down, making the one major section of steep rock pretty dangerous.

Trail was heavily trafficked with very friendly people. Took us about 8 hrs total. Highly recommend trekking poles (we didn't have them), your knees will thank you later.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Great trail . Starts from the parking with a walk during about 1 mile . Then you start going up . Not too steep . After another 1mile then it get steep all the way up . Very windy up there but we had clear and very nice view on Marcy Colden , Gothic , all the way to Giant . Very nice trail . Worth trying .

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Hiked Algonquin yesterday the weather was beautiful sitting at about 30 degrees Fahrenheit but windy especially above the tree line with winds upwards of 70+ miles an hour. Trail is packed down wore snowshoes for a little over half and switched to micro spikes which served well over the many sheets of ice towards the top. White out conditions above tree line made it hard to see the trail but followed rock cairns to the peak.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Awesome hike. Took approx 6h including lunch. Spikes were necessary almost from Loj. Almost easier this time of year because of spikes.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Decided to take a crack at the beast known as Algonquin today. Set out from Saratoga at 4:00am. Saw no other cars on my entire northward journey to the Loj. I took it as a sign that today wouldn't be incredibly busy. I was definetly right. Arrived at the Loj at 6:15ish. I always take my sweet ass time getting ready and never rush. Had my act together by 7:30 and was off, haha.

Started out on the Van Ho and immediately ran into an what im thinking was an endangered Spruce Grouse (still awaiting that confirmation though.) Bluebird day though to start even though heavy clouds were forecasted across all weather channels that I saw. Fast forward through about 2 uneventful miles and I ran into my first passer-by. He had hit the trail incredibly early for a sunrise Algonquin. We spoke briefly about how if I hurried I could still catch some views as the clouds predicted were rolling in as fast as ever. I took off, passed the Wright junction and began the part of the trail I had not seen as of yet. I've done Wright but have never gone past the junction.

I was anxious to see how steep things would actually become. I had crossed two low level hairy spots already and was sure there was more. Got to some steep light powdery snow stuff and trekked on up it. Probably the steepest thing I've hiked yet but the footing with the Hillsounds was so good that I wasn't even sweating it. The hike I had on Wright was notably easy for me and much to my surprise so was Algonquin. I got to the summit at around 10ish and was more than satisfied with such time. I never rush out there. I was definetly astounded at Algonquin's size. I felt as though I could fall off the earth at any moment.

By now clouds had engulfed the entire Algonquin cap and the only views to be had were those behind me to Wright and beyond. Those views however were spectacular and blue (for a few moments anyway.) I scurried carefully up to the top and instantly spotted the geodetic stamp. I took a quick pan and a few shots of the stamp. Clouds were thick and I became briefly frightened at where I was and how the hell I'd gotten there, haha.

To be quite honest as most of you know I'm new so I didn't really even know what was going to happen with all the cloud stuff. It was quite high, quite icy and it took me all of three seconds to realize Iroquois would be another trip. I couldn't see very far in front of me let alone out to Iroquois. I was and am content with that decision. So in my mind before this became some silly debacle the plan was to take an easy frickin' checkmark of the second highest peak in NY (YAY!) and get down quickly yet slowly but safely. I'd had plenty of time for pictures and reflection. It was a good day, just easy so the feeling of accomplishment was low, lol. Had the entire summit to myself while I was there. I figured that was something special in its own right.

Passed by a man and a woman on the way down and chatted for about a minute. Trucked back down carefully to the steep powdery snow and had some fun very cautiously sliding down. Started seeing lots of people by 11:00am. Passed maybe 20 along the entire route down and was back down at car by 12:30. I know that isn't considered "blazing" by any means but its pretty good for me. Actually it's really good for me. I usually clock a dismal 1mph so to be at almost 1.5mph is really exciting, lol.

Anyways, great day, wanted to write a report because it's been forever and I thought people might want to know exactly what it looks like out there as of late. Definetly bring spikes. I had the Grivels in the bag and they could've been used without overkill but was just fine with the Hillsounds. Literally two spots in my opinion could've warranted the Grivels. I knew they would blister my heels so I just proceeded cautiously. It's certainly wintery up there though. Don't skimp on the gear. You'll thank me later.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Did not complete the loop but i climbed wright and algonquin. Today was really windy on top, but the view was completely breathtaking.
I would recommend that hike 100%.
Took me 6h20 and i did mount wright twice.
First time was too cloudy.
Fun day! :)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Difficult climb for an inexperienced hiker, but the view was breath taking.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The only views we got at the top of all of the peaks were gray fog, we got rained on a bit and almost knocked over by the wind but the feeling of accomplishment was well worth it. We went at the perfect time of the year in which the fall foliage was breathtaking and I had to stop multiple times to just appreciate it. It looked as the forest was on fire.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

très rocheux un beau défi. La vue à 360° wow

Saturday, October 21, 2017

A great hike. Wright, Algonquin and Iroquois. Great views

Friday, October 20, 2017

I’m a 59 year old guy who is in decent shape...or so I thought!!! My intentions were to try and do three peaks all at once...Algonquin, Wright, and Iroquois. But man did I underestimate how STRENUOUS it would be! It was mostly rock paths and rock climbing...BE AWARE!!!!...when you get to the signs marking “Wright peak- .4 miles” pointing to the left...and “toilet” pointing to the right...there is another half broken sign between them on the same post pointing up to “Algonquin - .9 miles”... you can hardly see the “Algonquin “ sign...so stop and really read the signs!!!! I posted a pic of the sign...By mistake, I took Algonquin, but was so glad I did??? I was exhausted by the time I reached the summit, and realized I was too beat to do either of the other peaks that day. So at least I did the 2nd highest peak in New York State!!! The views were spectacular!!! FYI...it’s 2 days later and I AM SOOOO SORE!!!! Time to start planning my next peak!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Well worth the effort to get here. The top is like something out of Lord of the Rings. Not for beginners or those with weak knees; the descent will be hardest.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Amazing views the whole way. Summit was great. Avalanche Lake was gorgeous as well - a solid and challenging route for sure!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Nice hike and amazing views.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

This was a nice loop hike that we did minus Wright peak. The Algonquin trail was steep going up but enjoyable. This was my second round for these peaks. There was a little snow still hanging around on the trail.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Added Iroquois to the W&A loop. Fun waves of bush trashing through narrow passageways alternating wide open exposed rock plateaus. A few fun scrambling problems to solve. Lake Colden ladders grant magnificent views. No bugs on a flat walk back to the car wishing for flip-flops. Six to three. Mostly daylight:)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hard a semi understatement! The parking lots were full when we got there (yesterday around 1030) so we and others had an additional 2 miles added to the hike---get there early! We did Algonquin first starting around noon and debated adding Wright (as it was about 5pm). Which we did. That is just as hard as Algonquin! Straight up from the .04 sign. Longest .04 in my life! Definitely worth adding on..especially when you're almost there. We finally got out of the woods about 715 altho getting dark. Lots of people kids and dogs. Great to see! Bugs weren't even out! Definitely great and challenging!

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