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Avalanche Pass and Avalanche Lake Trail

HARD 67 reviews
#25 of 182 trails in

Avalanche Pass and Avalanche Lake Trail is a 10 mile lightly trafficked out and back 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 but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 10.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,335 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

bird watching

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

This is a wonderful hike into a beautiful cliff-lined alpine lake deep in the heart of the Adirondack High Peaks Region This is a wonderful hike from Adirondack Loj to Avalanche Lake in between Mt. Colden and Algonquin. You'll climb along ladders and bridges bolted directly to the cliff walls around the lake. The views up the slides and trapdike towards the top of Colden are incredible.

hiking
7 days ago

July 10. Good hike! Fairly easy rolling hills/slight inclines up to the Marcy Dam - my GPS said 3.6km to there and it took me about 45 minutes. From the Dam, it's another 4 and a bit to the start of Avalanche Lake, and it took me another hour. After the Dam, the terrain gets a bit more technical with more rocks on the trail. When you see the sign saying 1 mile to Avalanche Lake, get ready for a little climb! When the trail starts to go downhill again you're close to the lake. Blackflies/deerflies were out so if you plan on taking any breaks, bring bugspray! happy trails

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
1 month ago

4 months ago

Love this trail! One of my favorite places in the world--like a playground in the woods. Plenty of boulder scrambling, ladders, and bridges, a blast to negotiate if you like a challenge. The lake is stunning, and so is the view when you arrive at Lake Colden farther on the trail. If you can, hike out past Lake Colden to stay elsewhere--lots of bear activity with so many campsites around the lake. The trail is worth the time and effort, but be prepared for hard work.

hiking
9 months ago

Got to the Loj at 7:50 - parking was full, but we did not miss by much. Parked at the end of South Meadows lane, which adds 0.7 mile each way. Trail was quite muddy starting mid-way between Marcy dam and the lake. Took a lot of pictures with my good camera and stopped a number of times, so we were out for about 8.5 hours. Trail along the lake is very slow - a lot of rocks/ladders. There were 2 places where you actually had to put a foot in 2 inches of water - hopefully trail will be repaired soon. Saw some rock climbers on the face of Avalanche Mountain. Nice waterfall down Colden. Beautiful lake - this is a must see.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked Sept 19, 2018. High temp 64 real feel 70, Wind 5mph. Weather was cool and perfect for a hike. Wore fleece jacket at start and while resting at lake, shorts and shirt while hiking. No bugs at all, it was an unusually dry trail all the way. Gradual ascent on rocky trail after Marcy Dam. Ladders and boulders were a challenge for 75 year old legs; took 7 hrs round trip including half hour break. Consumed 1.5 liters of water.

hiking
10 months ago

Completed over Labor Day weekend. As my first non-high peak hike in the Adirondacks, I must say I’m sad to have waited so long to complete this trail. After the trail split at Marcy Dam, the hike becomes more rocky and secluded - my wife and I saw very few other hikers even on a busy holiday weekend. The views of the lake between the sheer rock faces are spectacular, as are the scrambles, ladders and bridges along the water. I especially liked hiking through Avalanche Pass prior to reaching the lake with the rock faces and downed trees.

hiking
10 months ago

The first quarter (and, as a consequence, the final quarter) is a piece of cake: The Trail is very easy and perfectly maintained. After Marcy Dam the Trail is still not difficult but there are more rocks and roots. The final part from Avalanche Pass and the lake is a little harder, not very maintained (lots of grown vegetation, broken trees, weather damage, etc.) and a bit challenging for the less experienced but overall fun (lots of steps and bridges). I honestly don’t understand why this hike is rated as “hard” (perhaps due to the 11 miles distance?): overall, it is long but very doable.

hiking
11 months ago

Amazing hike and breathtaking view at avalanche lake! Very rock scramble-y and rough terrain the last mile or so. The maltidas are awesome and all the trail build-ups like ramps and ladders are well maintained. Now my fave hike I’ve done in adk! There are places you can easily access swimming and in aug it’s not too cold! Took me and my 60 yo dad ~ 8 hrs

hiking
11 months ago

We did both Avalanche Lake and Colden Lake. It took 7 hours with stops and around 21 km. Awesome trail! Beautiful moss cliffs just before the Avalanche Lake. Fantastic lake vies and a path along it. Though it is very cold to swim and there are a lot of mosquitos and black flies. Colden Lake is not so beautiful. If you want to take photos of Avalanche Lake, you'd better do it in the morning because afternoon it is too shadowy.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fantastic trail. Rocky on the climb but not bad. Only a bit of snow/ ice at the pass as of 5/23, but slippery.

backpacking
Sunday, May 20, 2018

Awesome little trail. Stayed at lake colden under my tarp for a quick in and out overnighter, it rained the whole time but it was fun nontheless. I definitely have no idea why this trail is rated hard though, there's a few rock scrambles that kids or older people (maybe some smaller dogs) might have trouble with at avalanche lake, but other than that it's mostly flat.

hiking
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

GREAT trail! I especially liked the bouldering along the lake. Started at the Adirondak Loj/Heart Lake. We camped at the tip of Lake Colden to try out some gear for a backpacking trip. Beautiful hike and mostly flat, just have to negotiate some large rocks. Definitely want to get back out on this one.

hiking
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Accidentally took this trail at first, but we stuck with it and turns out it was very worth it! The lake was frozen over, we walked the entire length of it over the ice through the valley. We passed the dike walls, and the steep rocks while crossing the lake. Was surreal views. I plan on visiting this trail in the summer to see the lake when it is actually water! Would recommend to see this in the winter (even if you don’t walk across the ice).

camping
Monday, August 14, 2017

Good trail. The conditions are muddy, so be prepared to get dirty. If you are planning on camping, it's worth to continue hiking towards Colden Lake, as the Adirondack's Club very particular about camping sites in that region. Also, no campfires allowed, so bring propane stoves. Bears are very active in the region, so bring a canister or rent one out from the lodge.

hiking
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NOTICE OF TRAIL CLOSURE FOR 2017 FROM ADK: Avalanche Lake Trail Closure 8/15-8/25, no thru access along Avalanche Lake. During this time the DEC and SCA Adirondack Corps will be working on the Hitch-Up Matildas and hikers will not be able to pass thru Avalanche Lake. Access thru Avalanche Pass to the head of the lake and from Lake Colden to the outlet will be possible. Signage will be posted at Avalanche Camps and Lake Colden, as well as Upper Works, ADK Loj and South Meadows. Please plan ahead for trips during this time period. Also note that the trail from Feldspar to Lake Arnold has some flooded portions of the trail that are worsened with rain.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Great hike. Beautiful all around.

hiking
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Great view at the lake. Black flies chased us out after trying to eat lunch. Ended up at about 12 miles total round trip back to LOJ parking.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Was an excellent hike... my brother, nephew, son and myself did this hike... up and back from the Adirondack Loj... took us about 7 hours round trip... but we sat at the pass for about 2 hours exploring... would definitely do again!!... guess I should give my nephew credit... he ran down and was done in like 5 hours!!

hiking
muddy
Monday, June 19, 2017

Did this on a day when it was pouring rain. None of the high peaks were advisable because of the weather so we just hiked out to the lake and back. It's an easy hike and the lake is really beautiful. You can easily bring kids or dogs as long as your kids can handle the distance. You spend a lot of time in trails that are creek beds so just assume you'll be getting a bit wet and muddy.

hiking
Monday, May 29, 2017

Completed this trail as part of the Marcy Dam, Avalanche Pass, Avalanche Lake out and back (about 11 miles total ). I rate this trail as a 'Moderate' trail for experienced hikers.The trailhead can be a little tricky to find (hint: its at the far end of the parking area adjacent from the Ranger Station at the Adirondack LOJ). Fairly level hiking until the fifth mile leading to Avalanche Lake. Most of your elevation gain happens there. Be sure to take the trail to the far end of the lake... its worth the extra half mile or so! This trail offers a lot of character with the wooden ladders and bridges throughout. This is a must hike trail if you are exploring the ADKs, even without a summit. The trail can be very muddy and tick/mosquito prevention is a must (common sense in the ADKs, I know). We experienced a lot of gnats in the final three miles coming down past Marcy Dam (they loved our eyes), plan ahead for those. Also, sturdy hiking boots are a must as the trail becomes rocky when you get past Marcy Dam. As far as trail markings, don't expect Blazes throughout the trail. However, the trail junctions are marked clearly (see pics) and the trails are heavily travelled and well maintained. It would be difficult to lose the trail at any point. Kudos to those that maintain this area. Well done!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Did this hike on April 12th. Simply a gorgeous, amazing, breathtaking hike. If you hike in April, be prepared for a mostly snowy/icy trail with several muddy spots. We started at Adirondack Loj, and they required snowshoes at 18 bucks a pop to do the Avalanche Lake trail. They were definitely needed! I would imagine into May, you'd have little snow left. Took 2.5 hours to get to the Lake, spent an hour there, and only took about 1.75 hours to walk back, although we are fast walkers! Once you come out of the woods through the pass and onto the lake, you will stop in awe at how magnificent it looks. Will definitely drive up here in the summer to do this hike again!

snowshoeing
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Really great hike to do if you don't want to climb up a mountain, though pretty popular. Didn't go on the lake as the ice wasn't thick enough, so took the trail on its west shore to get to the other end. The trail is pretty rugged along the lake; lots of boulders, ladders, catwalks and the "hitch-up-matildas". If you're taking the trail instead of going on the lake when visiting in the winter, be careful as there's a lot of places to slip and fall and there's holes that can be covered in deep snow.

snowshoeing
Friday, January 06, 2017

I enjoyed snowshoeing this trail. The trail was packed down except for certain parts of "Misery Mile". The snowshoeing on Avalanche Lake was nice and certain sections had snow drifts across the ice. The view of the Trap Dike was nice from the lake.

snowshoeing
Sunday, January 01, 2017

This was a nice trail to do. The usual route up to Marcy Dam was pretty much cut out, but when I went onto the Avalanche Pass trail, the trail was cut out but not packed down. The very last mile is where you gain your elevation and I had to cut the trail due to the snow drifts that was happening. I didn't make it all the way to the lake, but I made it pass the Avalanche Pass Slide and down into the "shoot" before I turned back around. This trail crossed over several skiing trails, and I met a lot of cross country skiers heading towards the lake. I want to do this trail in the summer.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Beautiful trail. First trail I completed in the Adirondacks and it stole my heart. Took some time to swim in the lake. Very cold in early June but well worth it. Not a terribly difficult hike but worth it!

cross country skiing
Thursday, September 03, 2015

One of the most iconic hikes in the High Peaks and a must-do cross-country ski tour.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Amazing.

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