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Donaldson Mountain, Mount Emmons, Seward Mountain Loop

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High Peaks Wilderness

Donaldson Mountain, Mount Emmons, Seward Mountain Loop is a 15.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Tupper Lake, New York that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 15.9 mi Elevation gain 3,851 ft Route type Loop
Dog friendly Backpacking Camping Cross country skiing Hiking Snowshoeing Forest Lake Views Wild flowers Wildlife Blowdown Bugs Muddy Rocky Scramble Snow
Description
Waypoints (0)

NOTE: During winter, Corey's Road is closed beyond the gate which would add an additional 3 miles (one-way) of road walking to this hike.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (78)
Photos (822)
Recordings (73)
Completed (358)
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Angela Poblocki
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Rock climbingIcyMuddyOff trailRockyScrambleSnow

Started at 9am today and finished by 6pm totaling a little over 15 miles. Would recommend going up Calkin’s Brook Trail which is the way I went today. First summitted Donaldson, then Emmons, then Seward. This route will allow you to hike via the easier side of Seward in my opinion and is less steep than hiking up Seward via the Blueberry Trail. Went back down Seward and over Donaldson again to hike back down the Calkin’s Trail. Make sure to look out for the cairn to go back down to Calkin’s from Donaldson. Today, there was much thin ice and a decent amount of snow near the summits. Donaldson was the most steep and difficult in my opinion with the amount of ice. By the time Seward was summited, a decent amount of ice began melting. Crampons were necessary to hike over the thin ice on the boulders. A colder day today at 29F with gloves and jacket necessary. Still a decent amount of mud on the trails so prepare for wet conditions.

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Devan Bushey
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HikingMuddySnow

Went to attempt this loop on 10/29/20. Knew it was going to snow but ended up turning back, as the snow started to accumulate much more quickly than expected, and by the time we'd reached Donaldson I had soaked my shoes through in a mud-pit fiasco, & my partner had realized he'd forgotten his gloves. We also were pushing daylight, as we started at nearly 11. Bummed to have turned back, as the trail up Calkin's Brook was surprisingly easy (especially compared to the Blueberry trail which I'd heard was a monster). After hiking Seymour I was expecting to get my ass kicked by this but I really only got my feet soaked haha. The snow was beautiful but the trail to Emmons was unavoidable mud pits, so we turned back & will be coming back another time a bit more prepared. A little over 5 hours to Donaldson and back, hardly making it past Don to Emmons before turning back. Lovely trail in a really quiet part of the park.

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Matt Pitkin
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HikingMuddy

hiking to Emmons is a nightmare. I highly recommend the Calkins Brooke trail. views aren't very good. Donaldson was a good view of the ADK high peak region but very little room to rest and enjoy the view. seward had a good view to the west and North but no high peaks and very little room to sit and enjoy the view. unless you're going for your 46er completion you might as well never hike these peaks ever.

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Erin Hayner
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HikingBlowdownIcyMuddyScramble

I enjoyed the views and the scrambles on this hike. It wasn't my favorite, but I also didn't hate it like some people seem to. We went up and down Calkins and I would recommend this route. It is more elevation, but not as steep as Ward Brook (allegedly, as I didn't take this route :)). I clocked 15.38 miles and total ascent of 4669. We went after several days of rain and the mud definitely set us back significantly. It was very, very muddy on a large portion of the trail and in particular between Donaldson and Emmons. We had a mix of mud, snow on the trees, ice on the rocks (not full microspike worthy though) and then blaring sun. So, we basically enjoyed all 4 seasons on the 3 peaks. Due to all of the leaves and blowdown from recent storms, we did have to seek out the trail at several points but never truly lost it. Just ensure you are paying attention around the brook as the trail is covered in leaves.

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Nicholas Ascioti
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Hiking
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Robert Payst
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HikingBlowdownGreat!IcyMuddyRockyScrambleSnow
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Jeremy Gates
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Hiking

we hiked up in the dark via Calkins brook. with the fallen leaves and foggy darkness we lost the trail several times but wasn't much issue following the herd path. very easy trail compared to many others I have done. I kept waiting for it to get steep or technical but never did. went to Donaldson and Emmons first then over the Seward. Seward had a couple good rock scrambles called rock chimney or something. I found it pretty fun but id say it was the more difficult section of the whole hike. we made the decision to back track to the junction near donaldson and hike down Calkins brook because we knew it was really easy instead of taking the steep technical climb down Seward. its all personal choice at that point. The one bad thing about that choice is the truck road at the bottom has a fair amount of incline and after a long day that was honestly annoying even though it was easy incline.

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Erica Kehn
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Hiking

Climb via Calkins creek one of the easiest hikes I have done...Muddy between Emmons and Donaldson...I came down the back of Seward...I don’t mind the scrambles, very steep and muddy but I prefer direct routes down. I enjoyed the hike out, came off of Seward around 1pm and back to parking lot at 230pm...I power hiked out on the flat section... I was never muddier in my life after finishing this hike ...almost comical!

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Jason Greene
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Hiking

Caulkins Brooks Trail was nice to hike on, and at the top there was a few nice views, including some great sweeping views toward Saranac Lake. Nice hike in the woods.

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Cristi Wells
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HikingIcyMuddyOff trailRockyScramble

Not a bad trail. Lots of people.Beautiful day..crisp and cold at 5:40 am. Bad day for my legs..tons of cramps. Saw a bear near the road driving out.

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Katy Leidel
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HikingGreat!

Such great weather today! Tracked 19.1 miles. Got to the trailhead at 6:10am. 5 cars were unloading and I was the 14th party to register today- which was kind of shocking. I took the Caulkin Brook trail up and down. 9:40am Summit of Donaldson 10:35 Summit of Emmons 11:20 Summit of Donaldson 12:15 Summit of Seward 1pm split between Seward and Donaldson Was back at my car before 4. I’m not sure why these trails get a bad rep. I was mentally prepared for them to be very intense and it didn’t feel that way for me. It was pretty flat up toward d/e/d. There was some mud, but not bad right now. A tiny bit of ice from the light snow this morning. The view in between Donaldson and Emmons was my favorite view! Leaves are beginning to turn. There’s a stunning view of Saranac Lake and you can see Lake Flower and the village. I was giddy getting to Emmons because it’s #40 for me. No view at the summit for Emmons and Seward. But Seward also had some incredible views on the hike up/down.

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