The Lower Great Range; The Adirondack Mountains from Roostercomb to Gothic
Mileage: 16.3 Miles Directions to Roostercomb lot
Rise: 5807 ft Directions to The Garden lot
Hike Time: 13 hrs Facebook
Significance: The High Peaks of the Adirondacks
Here is some of what you need to know: We parked in the Roostercomb lot (free) and the hike ended at the Garden ($7 for parking), it is a 2 mile drive between the lots.
-Get there early, the lots fill up
-I went through 4 Liters of water on a 70 degree day and barely had to pee.
1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map
2. Click on the flags for more information
3. Click on the pictures to make them large
We started the first of our hikes to complete the 46 ADK High Peaks from the Roostercomb parking area. From here you can potentially string together 8 mountains over 4000 ft and then head down through John Brooks Valley to the Garden Parking lot (23 hard miles). Their are several opportunities between mountains to bail out and head to the Garden if you so choose. We ended our trip after Gothic Mountain giving us 4 peaks; a 16 miles hike that left us pretty wiped out and wanting more.
The trail from the Roostercomb parking area to the Roostercomb Summit will take you up 1750 FT over 2.3 miles. This is not a high peak, but it has an awesome view of the range. You need to back track to pick up the trail to the Wolfjaws.
Next you will hike over Hedgehog which tops out at 3389 ft and does not have a view. It is another 1.6 miles and a climb of about 900 ft in elevation to get to Lower Wolfjaw. The view was cool but limited by the trees, so we drank some water and set off for the Upper Jaw.
The routine was go up a mountain, great view, go down a mountain, go up a mountain great view, go down the mountain, repeat, repeat. Between peaks the trail is steep at times with rock scrambles and mud. Overall I thought the trail was nice, well marked, and clean. Signs will point where you can leave the trail and head to Johns Brook Valley where the trail will lead to the Garden Parking lot.
1.5 miles between the two Jaws. The upper has the better view and it is from cool perch atop the mountain. The most distant mountains in the picture are in Vermont.
This is a great place to take five (only five, you have to keep moving). With this type of terrain and pace I had to keep eating and drinking every 20-30 minutes. Small frequent feedings is the name of the game.
Next up was Armstrong. Each peak seems to have a better view, but this one was incredible and their was almost nobody on it. It was weird to be at a “tourist” destination of sorts and still have that isolated wilderness feeling. Marcy was our goal and we could start seeing our progress as it became closer.
Their was enough cell service to get a text message out (I had to try).
Finally Gothics, I first saw pictures of this mountain years ago and I had been trying to get here ever since. It was the busiest peak out of all of them; I am guessing because of the incredible 360 view and the convergence of hikers from the Valley, Roostercomb, and Saddleback. Their was plenty of room for everyone, the summit area is large but the overall top of the mountain is huge. The back end is a little steep; my shoes gripped the rocks but cables are set up in some areas here.
At the base of Gothic and Sattleback we had to make a decision whether to push on or take the valley back to the garden. That is when we met the Bed and Breakfast Club. They are a group of hikers who all met on the trail over time. Their sense of adventure was awesome and they knew the mountains well. According to them the back end of Saddleback was very steep and it would be more fun to go up than down. Then they offered us a ride to our car from the garden parking lot and our minds were made up.
It felt like the last five miles of the trip through John’s Brook Valley was longer than all the miles previous. It was not hard hiking, in fact it was a downhill grade almost the whole way. It was just long and grueling and we could not wait to get to get done. That ride back to our car from the Garden saved us 2 miles of addition walking (we love you guys).
This was an adventure in every sense. The mountains, wilderness and the chance to push our endurance on a tough trail was better than any roller coaster or trip to the beach. Everyone we met on the trail had a peak they were heading to and they were happy to tell you about it. It did not matter where everyone was going, it felt like we were all in it together. It was so much fun that as soon as we got home I started making plans for our next trip.
Check out our Giant Mountain and Rocky hike.
Worth noting the wanted poster at the trail head, they got the first guy the day before our hike.