Round trip hiking distance: 4.8 miles
Round trip driving time: 2hrs 10min
This week we ventured across the bridge to New York and into the Adirondacks for a moderate day hike up Noonmark Mountain, in the heart of the High Peaks. From the trailhead on Ausable Road, it is a 2.4 mile one-way hike to the summit over mostly moderate terrain. The trail gets steep near the top, but there are several rock outcroppings along the way where you can catch views of Giant Mountain to the north and the Great Range to the west. Once you’re at the summit, bask in the glory of Keene Valley, the 360-degree view of the High Peaks Region, and the New England fall foliage we all love! The vibrant fall colors are a definite perk of hiking Noonmark now, as the trees change earlier in the Adirondacks than they do here in Middlebury.
After you’ve had your fill of incredible views, reward yourself for a good hike by stopping by Noon Mark Diner in the nearby town of Keene Valley for a slice of their legendary pie. If you’re still feeling adventurous, go for a swim in Chapel Pond on your way home. By the time you get back to campus, we hope you’ll be ready and waiting for your next Adirondack adventure. Happy Hiking!
Primary Trailhead: From the intersection of Route 86 and Route 73 in Lake Placid, follow Route 73 toward Keene. Continue through Keene and Keene Valley and proceed to Saint Huberts. Locate the trailhead for Giant Mountain and Roaring Brook Falls on the left. The parking for Noonmark is directly across the road.This 2.4 mile, one way, hike is over moderate to steep terrain. From the parking lot (parking is not permitted on the road past the parking area) walk up the dirt road for around 0.25 miles to the register at the trailhead for Noonmark Mountain. The trail starts on a private driveway for 0.2 mi. before the foot trail bears right just before a large barn at the end of the driveway. From this point the trail is moderate as it follows an old woods road. At a bit over 0.5 miles from the trailhead you will come to the intersection for Noonmark Mountain on the right.
Snake Mountain is the classic Midd hike—it’s close, relatively easy, and has great views of the Champlain valley. Unfortunately, there have been middkids who go up to see some foliage and end up on the other side of the mountain because they turn onto the wrong trail. But if you’re paying attention, it’s not that hard to stay on the right trail. Here’s how:
The two main trails up Snake go from the West (Addison) or East (Weybridge) sides. The West side is the most popular. To get there, follow these directions to the parking lot. You have to walk south along the road a few hundred yards before you hit the trail. You will come to a T intersection about a third of the way up—take a left here, going uphill on an old carriage road. The trail to the right leads down through a meadow and merges onto a farm road, eventually ending at a gate on Mountain Rd Extension. This is a nice alternate route to the main trail, but since there is no parking lot you will have to pull off on the side of the road.
The main trail is easy to follow up to the summit, a concrete slab that used to be a hotel. Just before the summit there is a split and a trail keeps heading north—stay on the main road to get to the top.
A shorter, slightly steeper trail branches off from the main road just after the T intersection—you will see a large green stop sign saying the cliffs are closed from March 15 to August 1 for peregrine falcon nesting. Follow this trail up to an old pond and partial views of the valley. To get to the real summit from here, walk North across the rock ledge and into the woods on a narrower trail. There is another peregrine falcon sign at the top of this trail where it joins the main road.
The Weybridge trail is slightly longer, but less crowded. The trail goes through a small meadow, past a gate and up to some beaver ponds. It joins the main road at the steep switchback 0.3 mi above the T intersection.
Depending on which trail you take, the hike is about 2 hours round trip, with mostly easy to moderate climbing. Happy hiking!
Buck Mountain is a great place to spend a lazy spring day enjoying the sunshine and views of the Adirondacks. For how short of a hike it is, this mountain has some of the best views in Addison County. It also happens to be close to Vergennes, where you can grab something to eat before or after your hike (the Vergennes Laundry is an especially yummy bakery).
Directions to the trailhead are here. There are a few pull-offs for parking. Avoid the muddy section at the beginning by taking a cut-off trail, which comes out a bit farther down the road, by the second pull-off if you are heading east.