Scarface Mountain

MODERATE 72 reviews
#30 of 174 trails in

Scarface Mountain is a 7.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ray Brook, New York that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until July. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

7.4 miles
1,584 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



mountain biking


trail running





Scarface is part of the Saranac 6er Series. On this hike you can stay along the base trail and use mountain bikes or you can continue up through some steeper sections to the top by hiking (year round). If you follow some of the herd paths you can break out to a nice view before the treed in summit. From the trailhead you will you climb a bit and work your way through an open forest to the railroad tracks. Cross the railroad tracks and continue on a mellow hike all the way to the bridge over Ray Brook. This spot is a very nice area for fishing as well as just a short destination hike. Past the bridge the trail stays very mellow through a forest of tall pines. There is one very distinctive trail split, be sure to take a left at this point, the split is well marked. Past here the trail begins to climb a bit and very soon begins to get steeper. As the terrain gets steeper the footing gets a bit less favorable, but a fun hike none the less. Along these steep slopes as you gain more elevation there are some steep areas with a bit of scrambling and wet conditions. As the trail starts to get less aggressive there are a few decent views off over the trees of the distant high peaks. The trail moderates to the unofficial summit.

23 days ago

Great hike for my 13 year old and our dog! Only one nice view before the actual summit! Neat bridge to walk over as well!

1 month ago

This was a beautiful hike - I would strongly recommend this trail. Disclaimer - there is no view at the peak, but there are some decent ones near the top. The trail itself as it starts off through the woods and goes near a creek is very relaxing.

2 months ago

I really like this trail. I did it first and mostly in the dark yesterday as part of my Saranac 6r ultra. It's easy in the beginning and then a steep climb, but well marked and without too much boulder scrambling (as part of the 6r I'd rather do this one in the dark than Haystack or MacKenzie). I read that you don't need to go to the viewless summit for the 6r but I went there anyway. Not much to see, the lookout is nice on the way, about .5 from true summit. A nice soft trail on the feet with lots of pine needles. I watched the sun rise through the trees as I hiked - quite lovely!

2 months ago

Scarface is an OK hike. There are better choices but it’s still worth doing. Wooded summit (look for the small white trail marker that says “Scarface” when you’re on the top as it’s easy to miss). It’s a gentle walk in, crossing the railroad tracks and a river. Eventually come to a strange concrete foundation that must have had a cabin on it a long time ago. From that point you will go left and then start climbing. Once you come to the first real view/look out, you have another 0.7 miles or so to the true summit (wooded- look for that white trail marker). That lookout is the only real view on the hike but it’s a good one and good place to eat a sandwich and relax for a while. Going to the true summit from there is really just to truly “summit the peak”. Knowing this, I summited then came back and relaxed at the clearing. Not a difficult hike, kind of feel like you’re walking up a really long hill for the duration of the climb. Terrain doesn’t change a whole lot, mostly dirt trail along a stream, not much scrambling.

2 months ago

The heat could of played a role in our dislike of this hike but it was incredibly buggy and no view from summit. We will not be returning.

4 months ago

This was my second time here. I love this trail! This time we found a lookout that offered a much better view than the lookout ledge. Great time!

6 months ago

Took nearly 5 hours on snowshoes. It was a nice day barely any ice, and trail was broken.. as previous reviewer said false summit has nice views. Actual summit is in the woods. Someone wrote on the marker so you know when you’ve hit the top.

6 months ago

Hiked on Feb 18/18. Only one other on trail who i caught up with at summit. Trail not particularily well marked though the other hiker broke trail which made finding my way easy. Little snow but lots of ice ,some very challenging, a few ice covered scrambles that required thought on how to climb
False summit has nice views, actual summit is in the woods. There is supposed to be a marker at the summit but could not be found. Likey some jerk took it for a souvenir. Decent was like the assent with a few challenging spots.
My first winter solo.Enjoy

7 months ago

great hike

9 months ago

Trees covered summit, not much view along the tree except a ledge near the summit.

11 months ago

There isn't much of a view at the top (like another commented I walked right past the summit without realizing it) but the trail up is beautiful. Most of the path is a nice stroll through a pine forest that gets steep near the top. I went the day after a major rainstorm so it was quite muddy but that was unavoidable. It's a nice hike and a decent work out. I would recommend it to anyone that's looking for a nice walk through the woods with some harder parts mixed in. There is a false summit that has a nice view.

11 months ago

Scarface Mtn was my 3rd Mtn of the Saranac Lake 6ers on Day 2. Signed in at the trail head at 9:45 a.m. and reached the summit at 11:45 a.m. at a moderate pace. Pleasant start thru the pine forest with gentle rolling hills. Be on the lookout for an occasional train when approaching the railroad tracks. Right before the bridge over Ray Brook is the Capt. John Paul McKay memorial bench on the left. As you continue you'll come upon the remnants of an old foundation just before the split in the trail - go left. From the split your journey gets gradually steeper, but nothing like Ampersand or McKenzie Mtns. As you ascend you'll reach the only landing with a view before continuing along a narrow heavily wooded path to the true summit (marker on tree) within a gathering of pines. I walked right by the summit marker for about 20 yards before I realized I passed it. Three down - three to go to complete the Saranac Lake 6ers.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

It was pouring the rain the entirety of my hike, which made conditions very muddy and slippery, so that might skew my review. I enjoyed the first two miles, which were easy and rolling. I particularly liked strolling through the pine forest, which made me feel like I was in a fairy tale. This trail was not as well maintained as others in the area, and some parts were a bit difficult to maneuver due to the slippery rocks and mud. When I reached the false summit, I couldn't see much because of the rain clouds. The actual summit was much further up the path than I thought it would be and was marked by a white disk on a tree. The trail became steep in some areas, but very little of what I would consider rock scrambling. My small dog had no trouble navigating the trail, although she had to wade through several puddles above her ankles. It took me 4 hours and 18 minutes round trip in the cool rain. This hike would've been more enjoyable in nice weather. Overall, it was worthwhile, although it probably wouldn't be at the top of my list in this area if not for the 6er challenge.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I saw so many woodpeckers. This is a lovely trail!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

As long as you're prepared for no summit views, this is a really fun hike. the trail was in the best condition of the 6ers this year (2017).

Saturday, July 22, 2017

no view at the true top but some nice views before it. an ok trail in terms of difficulty.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The trail itself is well marked and it isn't too steep. A good hike overall, but I am giving only 3 stars because there is a small glimpse of a view. Reaching the summit is very anticlimactic.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Good hike, just a dreary day. Did it for the exercise. I t took me an hour and 40 min. to reach the summit, but a little less to get down. My total RT was 3:10. It was fun and a good workout. Had very little trouble with footing, (as I've read some people have) even though everything was soaked.

I'd do it again with the kids. I flew solo today. Worth the time for sure. Great brook running through a lot of the trail. Some Pretty cool challenges, nothing spectacular.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A great hike with beautiful scenery.

Monday, February 06, 2017

This is one of my favorites. I feel like Scarface has it all. We are working on our Winter 6er challenge, so we did Baker before it. It starts off with a nice, easy trail with very little incline and a lot to see. The first part of the hike is basically just a walk through the woods. You'll see and old bike left behind, a railroad crossing, a memorial bench and a "bridge" over the wetlands area. The trees are especially beautiful after a good snow and you feel like you're in another world.

Eventually you meet a trail junction. Following the trail to Scarface, this is where it starts to get steep. There are several ice walls that can be tricky, but doable, for people like me who have short little legs. It's not overly difficult, but it's challenging enough to make you feel like you worked for it.

Eventually the trail levels off and there is a half mile - mile stretch of level land before you find the trail disk marking the true summit of Scarface. This was my favorite part of the hike. It was a welcomed relief to the steepness, but with the heavy snow cover on the trees you felt like you were indoors. It opens up to an area with a very nice view of the Sawtooth range and many others. Continuing on from there, the trail leads to the official summit. The only views here are of trees and the disk on the tree marking the official summit.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

This was my 4th hike for the Saranaclake 6ers and overall the hike was a bit overrated for its steepness, the summit views and official markings. Overall the initial trailhead and 2 mile hike in was beautiful-- nice hardwood and conifer forest with great views of the Ray Brook pond. DEC built a nice wooden structure to cross the pond and the trail was well-kept. Once you start climbing you will notice the trail splits-- one goes to the right as a herd path that leads to the foot of scarface rock cliff (you really have to bushwack), and the real trail goes straight up a rock face that could be very slippery and dangerous in inclement weather. This is not well managed and could be better fitted for a trail. The first overview overlooks only a southern view of the Sawteeth and Seward range and Algonquin, nice but deceptive since it isn't the summit. The northern, eastern and western views are completely obstructed by tree growth. In order to reach the summit you have to hike in another mile along the Scarface ridge line to a very hidden evergreen tree with a white poker chip marking the summit. It was a good hike to check off your list, but not a great hike for the experience. needs more work.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

It was a decent hike. Not much of a view at the top. The kids had fun catching frogs and snakes

Sunday, August 21, 2016

this was a great hike. not too hard or easy, decent distance and incline. a fun hike indeed.

Sunday, July 03, 2016


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ice on the trail at higher elevations made me go home and purchase a pair of micro cleats, a little crazy solo and about 32 degrees.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

nice hike, challenging rock face

trail running
Tuesday, December 01, 2015

A nice trail run/hike. The first 1.7 miles is an easy trail, without any elevation gain. The description says this is OK for Mountain bikes, but I haven't seen a mtb bike here in 10 years. Its not that nice for Mtb. So many other great MTB trails around (Check the BETA Bark Eater Trails Alliance site). At this point, you turn left to go up. The next 3/4 mile is first by a stream (cross when you can) then some steeper trail. You do get to an odd spot where the trails are unclear. The best way (to not get lost) is straight up the rock face climbing over roots and such. Then the trail is easy to follow. Soon after, you get to a small ...false summit with a little bit of a view (not so great) another 1/2 mile is to the true completely wooded summit - if it wasn't marked, it is impossible to find without GPS. A nice hike thouigh

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Enjoyable hike. Nice mix of terrain.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nice hike with my 11year old daughter and our dog. Near the top was a big slide on main trail and we went off main trail ending up on steep rock face not very safe and took a bit to get back around to main trail. No view from summit but some views close to top.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Easy flat start to a steep climb. No nice vista at the true summit but a nice 5 hr hike.

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