The northeastern Adirondacks present the greatest elevation profile of any region in the Park: from the low-lying shores of Lake Champlain to the 4600-foot summit of the Giant of the Valley. Within this range lie many secluded ponds, soaring cliffs, clear-water streams, and rocky peaks. Likewise, the recreational opportunities are equally diverse: easy trails, backpacking adventures, loops, lean-tos, fire towers, and bushwhacking treks.
On the shores of Lake Champlain you'll discover Split Rock Mountain, where a variety of loop trails lead hikers to scenic ledges and historic sites. Explore Barn Rock, a rocky point thrust into the lake, and the juniper-lined ledges at Snake Den Harbor Overlook. Further north is Valcour Island, the site of a Revolutionary War naval battle and now a state-owned Primitive Area known for the beauty of its limestone bluffs.
The northern reaches of the Hammond Pond Wild Forest near North Hudson feature the northeastern Adirondacks' prettiest ponds, accessed by well-designed trails that wind through deep woods on roadways dating to the nineteenth century. This is the place to find a waterside campsite and fall asleep to the call of loons. Across the road, several access trails lead under the Northway to the inner recesses of the southern Dix Mountain Wilderness.
The Jay Mountain Wilderness, though the smallest protected area in the Adirondacks, offers big mountain adventures on trailless peaks. An exceptional unmarked trail leads to Jay Mountain, but the rest—including rocky summits such as Saddleback, Slip, and Death Mountains—are the province of bushwhackers. A rugged road is all that divides the Jay Range from the wild Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area to the south.
At the heart of the northeastern region is the Giant Mountain Wilderness, the home of two High Peaks and some of the best mountain hiking in the eastern states. Giant Mountain—also known as the Giant of the Valley—is a prominent landmark visible from points throughout the eastern Adirondacks. It is the highest summit covered by this guidebook, with no fewer than four trails leading to its summit. Neighboring Rocky Peak Ridge, while less distinct when viewed from afar, is one of the most scenic of all Adirondack mountains. Its entire length is traversed by a rugged trail that most hikers agree is the best alpine route in the Adirondack Park because of its extensive open views. Outlying summits such as Hopkins Mountain, Owl Head Lookout, and Bald Peak round out the roster of outstanding destinations.
The Adirondack Northway provides easy access to nearly all of these destinations, and the nearby towns of North Hudson, Keene Valley, Upper Jay, Ausable Forks, Keeseville, Plattsburgh, Essex, Westport, New Russia, Lewis and Elizabethtown make excellent places from which to stage your explorations.
A new edition of Discover the Northeastern Adirondacks was released in 2009. It includes descriptions of new places, enhanced descriptions of many familiar destinations, attractive photos, and newly redesigned maps to help you plan your next adventure.