Cool hike for a hot day
Peaked Mountain in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness makes a great day trip any time of the year, but it’s especially fun on a hot day that offers the reward of a refreshing swim along the shoreline ledges of Thirteenth Lake on the way out.
At the beginning, the trail winds up and down over ledges on the northwest shoreline of the lake. After three-quarters of a mile, it cuts west to follow Peaked Mountain Brook toward Peaked Mountain Pond.
The walk along the brook takes you through a predominately hardwood forest. There are some lovely cascades in the brook and a few beaver ponds with great views across open water to Peaked Mountain and the adjoining ridge. When the leaves have changed in fall, this area is especially beautiful.
About 2½ miles from the trailhead, you come to Peaked Mountain Pond. With its dramatic views of the mountain, the pond is a worthy destination in itself, but the best views are still to come.
The trails gains 575 feet in elevation from Thirteenth Lake to the pond, but the ascent is gradual. In contrast, the trail from the pond to the summit is about as steep as they come in the Adirondacks, gaining nearly 700 feet in a half-mile. After leaving the pond, the trail winds back and forth a bit before breaking out onto some open rocky areas. The 2,919-foot summit is just around the bend.
The ledges at the top offer views in all directions. It’s loads of fun to explore the summit and discover all the different views. The spectacular vista from the main ledge takes in Peaked Mountain Pond and much of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness. Gore Mountain can be seen to the southeast. To the west, you can see Snowy Mountain on the other side of Indian Lake. From a north-facing ledge, you can have a great view of the High Peaks on a clear day.
I always allow enough time to hang out on top for a while and enjoy the scenery and the tranquility. It’s a wonderful place to eat lunch or just lounge around and soak up the sun.
The return hike brings you back to the ledges along Thirteenth Lake. The best ledges for jumping into the clear waters are just the right distance from the trailhead so that you can dry off on the walk back to the car. The late-afternoon sun drops behind the mountain, so the best time for the sun and swimming is in midafternoon.
The six-mile round-trip is an ideal half-day jaunt If you have extra time on your hands, you might want to visit the old Hooper garnet mine, a 0.4-mile round-trip, or go up Balm of Gilead Mountain, a two-mile round-trip. Both hikes begin from Garnet Hill Lodge property just east of Thirteenth Lake.
Directions: To reach the Peaked Mountain Trail, turn west onto Thirteenth Lake Road from NY 28 just north of the hamlet of North River. At about 3½ miles, turn right onto Beach Road. The parking lot is reached in just under a mile. To reach the other trails, head back to Thirteenth Lake Road, turn right and drive toward Garnet Hill Lodge. Continue past the main lodge and look for a parking spot near the lodge ski shop. The trails begin near the ski shop.