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18 August 2016

ADIRONDACKS: Hikes to Jay Mountain; Copperas Pond; Baxter Mountain


As the saying goes "When opportunity knocks, answer the door".   So, in early August 2016 when unexpected circumstances took me to Plattsburgh, NY, I took advantage of that "opportunity" and "answered the door" by tacking on an extra day and half to do some Adirondack Mountain hiking in the Lake Placid area.  In this compressed time frame, I managed to do these 3 short hikes: Jay Mountain; Copperas Pond; Baxter Mountain.


1) Jay Mountain:

Map showing the route of the official trail (Trail 109A) to a high point along the west end of the Jay Mountain ridge.
In 2012, New York's DEC (Department of  Environmental Conservation) built a new route (Trail 109A) to a high point at the west end of the Jay Mountain ridge.  I never hiked the old trail, and so I can make no comparisons.  However, I can say that I was favorably impressed with the new trail.  It climbs steadily, but is never overly steep due to the thoughtfully laid out switchbacks along the route.  The round-trip mileage for this hike is 5.2 miles.

If you have time (which I didn't) you can extend this hike and experience even more views by following an unofficial pathway for another mile or so to reach Grassy Notch, as well as the true summit of Jay Mountain.  A fellow blogger (Andrew Lavigne) has posted an excellent report about this extended hiking adventure (click HERE to access his report).

Where the official trail ends (and from a nearby ledge), there are expansive views of the Adirondack High Peaks Region.
This panoramic shot shows one of the huge vistas from a ledge located a short distance from the end of the official portion of the Jay Mountain Trail.  The vista stretches from peaks located in the Adirondack's Eastern Range (LEFT) to peaks in the Northern Adirondacks Range (RIGHT).

This is another photo taken from the area where the official trail ends.  Mountains seen are as follows: LEFT (peaks in the Great Range); CENTER (Mt. Marcy); RIGHT (other peaks in Marcy Group plus mountains in the Northern High Peaks).
Jay Mountain also offers eastward views such as this one showing Lake Champlain with Vermont's Mt. Mansfield on the horizon.  The ledgy peak at far LEFT is Rattlesnake Mountain.

2) Copperas Pond:

Map showing the Trail 87 to Owen, Copperas, and Winch Ponds
My hike to Owen Pond and Copperas Pond was a little over 2 miles (round-trip).   I began at the southern trailhead and hiked to the southern shoreline of Cooperas Pond, and then retraced by steps back to my starting point.  It is possible to do this hike as a loop that measures 3.5 miles (of which 1.0 mile involves walking between the trailheads along Rt. 86).  As of the time this blog was written, more information about this hike could be found at the website (click HERE).

From the southern shoreline of Copperas Pond, there is this nicely framed view of Whiteface Mountain (at center).
About midway between the southern trailhead and the NW corner of Owen Pond, there is a faint, unmarked pathway leading to this small, but attractive cascade.

3) Baxter Mountain:

Map showing Trail 20 leading to Baxter Mountain from the trailhead on Route 9N
As can be seen from the map shown above, there is more than one trail leading to Baxter Mountain, and it's possible to do a loop hike if you so choose.  I chose to do an 'out and back' hike using Trail 20, which is the one that begins at the trailhead on Route NY 9N.  This hike is a little over 2 miles (round-trip).

Regardless of which route you select to hike to Baxter, this mountain provides excellent views from both its SE summit and its NW summit, and from many side trails leading to open ledges.  This hike would be enjoyable to experienced hikers, as well as families with young kids.   As of the time this blog was written, more about this hike could be found at the website (click HERE).

From Baxter Mountain, there are some terrific southwesterly views including this one with Mt. Marcy at CENTER, flanked at LEFT by peaks in the Great Range.
This view from Baxter Mountain shows Big Slide Mountain (pointy peak at far LEFT).  The open ledges seen at far RIGHT are on the SE face of Porter Mountain.
Also seen from Baxter Mountain are the series of open ledges on Pitchoff  Mountain.
Baxter Mountain also provides a variety of views of the picturesque Keene Valley, such as the one shown here.

4) Other:

Photo was taken from a roadside viewpoint following a day of hiking.  It shows a sunset over Lake Flower in the Village of Saranac Lake, NY.



Karl said...

Hi John,

Wonderful pictures and report for a lot of ground covered. It's strange looking at the maps because they look different than the White's maps.

How do you determine what hikes to go on for this area? Are you really familiar with the Adirondacks?

I really liked the pictures you took at Copperas looks like a beautiful location!

Your trip to Baxter looks like a great one as well. The views to Mount Marcy (I know I've heard of that mountain before) are great!

I'm glad you were able to stay a few extra days and get some "biggest bang for your buck" hikes in. I'll be keeping these in mind if the family ever heads in that direction!


1HappyHiker said...

Thanks for reading my blog and for posting your thoughtful comments.

You asked if I am “really familiar” with the Adirondacks. I’ll have to answer by saying that I have “some familiarity”, but my knowledge is limited. I made occasional family visits to the Adirondacks when growing up in central NYS. And since living in NH, I’ve continued making occasional visits to hike the Adirondacks.

Also, you asked how I “determine what hikes to go on for this area”. I pretty much use the same methodology as I do for hiking in the White Mountains of NH. I read the Adirondack Mountain Club’s official guidebooks; do some research on the Internet; read blogs, etc. Then, I simply choose a group of hikes that appeals to me, and that fits into my time schedule, etc.

Thanks again, Karl. And, I hope that you and your family will at some point be able to visit the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks. I think you and yours would truly love it. There are outdoor adventures (hiking, etc) there that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.


Rita Wechter said...

Hi John,

This is a great post about three easily do-able hikes in the Adirondacks.
Tim has a good friend from college who lives on the edge of Adirondack park and, when we lived in Pennsylvania, we visited him often. As you said in your reply to Karl, there are a wealth of hiking opportunities in Adirondack park and your post makes me want to return to visit the area again!
Is Mt. Marcy the highest peak in New York State?
Great pictures, as always!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

It’s terrific that you have some familiarity with the Adirondack Park, and the fact that Mt. Marcy is located there and is indeed the highest peak in New York State (NYS).

As you might have already discovered when you visited Tim’s friend in NYS, the Park is huge! It’s area is said to be larger than any one of the seven smallest States in the U.S. (Connecticut; Delaware; Hawaii; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; Rhode Island). It’s also said that the Park is larger than the combined size of these five national parks: Yellowstone; Grand Canyon; Yosemite; Everglades; Great Smoky National Park.

Many years ago, we lived in Upstate NY just a bit south of the southern border of the Adirondack Park. The drive to the High Peaks Region of the Park was about 4 hours, which oddly enough is about the same amount of time it takes us from our home in New Hampshire.


Rita Wechter said...

Hi again, John.

I knew that Adirondack Park was huge but I didn't know just how big it really was. Thanks for all the stats on its size—really puts it into perspective. It's wonderful that New York has this gem of a place!