Nippletop trails reopen

The Lake Road in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve has reopened to the public to give hikers access to trails to the summits of Nippletop and Dial Mountain, two of the High Peaks, in the Dix Mountain Wilderness.

However, trails to the Colvin Range and most other AMR trails, including those leading to the Great Range, remain closed, according to David Winchell, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“We’re pretty well set with what’s going to be open this weekend,” Winchell said. “We won’t have any more trails open until next week.”

As a result of the latest decision, hikers will be able to follow a loop that, after leaving the Lake Road, goes over the summits of Bear Den (3,423 feet), Dial (4,020 feet), and Nippletop (4,620 feet). Leaving Nippletop, hikers can return to the Lake Road via Elk Plass. The entire hike, including the walk from the public parking lot, is 13.1 miles.

Earlier, DEC had opened the trails to Noonmark and Round mountains, which also start on AMR property.

Trails to Indian Head and Fish Hawk Cliffs, both located in the AMR, and along the East Branch of the Ausable River, which flows through the property, remain closed.

Hikers also use the AMR to access trails that lead to a number of peaks in the Great Range, including Sawteeth, Gothics, and the Wolf Jaws. Winchell said these trails will stay closed until DEC has had a chance to assess and clear them. Meantime, the Great Range can be reached via trails originating in the Johns Brook Valley.

The only two High Peaks that remain inaccessible by trail (or well-trod herd path) are Mount Colvin (4,047 feet) and Blake Peak (3,960). The summits of both are located along the closed trail that traverses the Colvin Range in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. The trail also goes over the summit of a lesser peak known as Pinnacle.

The day after Irene, DEC closed the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, the Giant Mountain Wilderness, and the Dix Mountain Wilderness. All three areas are now open again, with the exception of trails that have not been checked and/or cleared.

Here’s a summary of what’s open and closed:

High Peaks Wilderness. In addition to trails originating in the AMR, still closed are the Deer Brook Trail from Route 73, Southside Trail from the Garden, the Orebed Brook Trail, the Cold Brook Pass Trail, and the trail from Elk Lake to Panther Gorge.

Giant Mountain Wildneress. All trails are open. Also, DEC recently reopened the parking lot at the Roaring Brook Trail.

Dix Mountain Wilderness. All trails are open except the route over the Colvin Range and its spurs.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Paul says

    Phil, Has the DEC said anything about concerns they might have about these quick fixes? What is the chance that any of these new re-routes have been well planned and designed to limit environmental impacts. This rush back into the woods in these places will probably have some negative impacts. Even the older well designed trails in these heavily traveled areas are a mess.

  2. Phil Brown says

    Paul, the only Ausable Club trails open are those mentioned in the article. The reroutes I have seen are all short. I doubt they will have any last impact on the environment.

  3. Paul says

    Phil, Thanks, and I hope you are right. There is always a lot of talk (probably quite true)that good trail design is essential to limiting erosion and other impacts. I guess it isn’t an issue for any of this work?

    Jeff had made a comment last week that the reason the AC trails were not open was due to the route 73 closure. I guess there is more to it that that since the road is now open?

  4. Phil Brown says

    Paul, erosion is a problem when trails go straight up a slope. Modern trails switchback. However, the trail reroutes I saw were on level ground, so I don’t think erosion will be a big problem. Not wetlands were involved.

  5. Joseph says

    phil –

    i will be vacationing in lake placid for 2 weeks in oct, & i have been trying to find a hiking partner to go up to indian head on 10/18, 19, or 20, but haven’t found anyone yet, so my question may not matter – BUT, i am wondering if there is any indication of whether the trail going up to indian head might be re-opened by then? can you shed any light on this question?


  6. Phil Brown says

    As of today, the trail to Indian Head was still closed, but some trails may reopen this week. If so, I will post a notice on the blog.

  7. BillZ says

    No update on the Weld Trail to Sawteeth yet. That’s my Plan A for Columbus Day Weekend.

    I look to this site and the DEC for the latest.


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