Category Archives: Northern High Peaks

Big Slide

Big Slide in yellow

Big Slide in yellow

Big Slide #27 4,240′

Trail map of Big Slide via the Brothers

Trail map of Big Slide via the Brothers

Big Slide via the Brothers is a fantastic day hike with many picturesque viewpoints along the way. The total elevation gain on this trail is about 2,800′ over the 8 miles round trip. As it is one of the easier High Peak trails, it is a great place to start for beginners, older hikers or families. Keep in mind though that this is a High Peak, and that means some challenging scrambles and climbs over open rock areas. The First Brother at 1.5 miles and the Second Brother at 1.8 miles provide great destinations for day hikes should the trail prove to be a little too much for your group.

The parking area for this trail has been dubbed “The Garden.” This is a popular starting area for several hikes and there is a 7$ parking fee that goes to support the ADK MTN Club (the fee may have changed). Parking is limited at The Garden, so be mindful of that when planning hikes for the busy season. Usually on summer weekends there is a shuttle from an additional parking area at Marcy Field just north of Keene Valley on RT 73. For more information on the shuttle and parking check out the ADK Club’s webpage here.

Ty and I at the start of the trail

Ty and I at the start of the trail

Taking a right from the parking lot, follow the blue markers up the hill to the trail split. Stay on the trail to Big Slide. After crossing Juliet Brook at 0.4 miles the trail begins gaining elevation up to the First Brother. After some steady uphill hiking you come to the first viewpoint at 0.8 miles with a fantastic side view of the Lower Great Range.

First view point with a view of the Great Range

First view point with a view of the Great Range

The trail weaves back into and out of the woods and meets some steeper rock scramble areas as it makes its way to the summit of the First Brother at 1.5 miles and 2,940’ (gaining 1,437’ from The Garden). The First Brother provides fantastic views of the area and is a great spot for a snack break! Leaving the First Brother the trail descends slightly, then comes to the rocky side of the Second Brother. After some steep climbing the trail reaches the summit of the Second Brother at 1.7 miles.

A section of trail

A section of trail

Some of the open rock areas

Some of the open rock areas

Looking back at the First Brother

Looking back at the First Brother with Giant looming in the background

Water break on the Second Brother

Water break on the Second Brother

View of Big Slide from the side of the Third Brother

View of Big Slide from the side of the Third Brother

The trail rolls over the top of the Second Brother and descends slightly to a col, then climbs to the summit of the Third Brother at 2.7 miles. At 3,681’ on Third Brother you have gained 2,160’ from The Garden. The trail descends and crosses a couple streams before restarting it’s climb. At that point the trail gains elevation as it nears the next trail junction with the trail to Yard Mountain.

Mossy creak along the trail

Mossy creak along the trail

Sign at the trail split

Sign at the trail split

Take the trail to the right 0.3 miles to the summit of Big Slide! From here the trail gains the final elevation over open rock and steeper terrain with the aid of several ladders. The summit is marked by a small marker. Although it is not a bald summit, it does have a nice open view spot from which you can see the Great Range and other mountains.

Mom and I on the summit with Upper Wolf Jaw in black, Armstrong in red, Gothics in orange, Saddleback in yellow, Basin in green, Haystack in blue and Marcy in purple

Mom and I on the summit with Upper Wolf Jaw in black, Armstrong in red, Gothics in orange, Saddleback in yellow, Basin in green, Haystack in blue and Marcy in purple

Mom enjoying the view of the Great Range from the summit of Big Slide

Mom enjoying the view of the Great Range from the summit of Big Slide

Summit marker

Summit marker

Ty and me on the summit of Big Slide!

Ty and me on the summit of Big Slide!

 

Happy Hiking!

 

 

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Cascade and Porter

Cascade (in red) and Porter (in blue) as seen from Colden.

Cascade (in red) and Porter (in blue) as seen from Colden.

Cascade: #36  4,098′
Porter: #38 4,059′
Total Mileage: 5.7 miles

Cascade and Porter are a great introduction to the ADK 46 High Peaks. This is strenuous but very doable half day hike and is great for beginners. Cascade is considered to be the easiest of the high peaks to hike, and even has Porter as a close neighbor to make an easy two summit hike.

Although it is considered an easy High Peak, it is not an easy mountain. As far as hikes go in New York, High Peaks are by their nature more difficult than a typical day hike. Be sure that you are properly equipped with ample food and water, as well as dressed properly with well-worn in boots. Be sure to bring rain gear and a warm layer for the windy summit! Remember that weather is often unpredictable in the High Peaks area and the trails are often wet and muddy. If this is your first High Peak hike it will likely take about 4-6 hours depending on your ability and the length of your brakes on the summits.

There are several places to park near the Cascade Lakes and a path along the side of the road between the lots for safe access to the trail head. You can actually see the mountain from the road! Look for the Cascade/Pitchoff sign, from that parking lot the trail will descend into the woods to a sign in box. There the trail begins.

Look for this sign for parking... or to get in some pull-ups.

Look for this sign for parking… or to get in some pull-ups.

Cascade's bald rocky summit as seen from Rt. 73.

Elizabeth pointing out Cascade’s bald rocky summit as seen from Rt. 73.

Josh signing us in!

Josh signing us in!

Starting at the trail head on Rt. 73 next to the Cascade Lakes, trail 90 meanders 2.1 miles up the side of Cascade to a junction. The first section of the hike is very moderate, but things get slightly more steep as you get close to a mile in. The trail continues alternating steeper grades and level sections until 1.8 miles in, where there is a nice view!

View on the way up Cascade in late May.

View on the way up Cascade in late May, with snow still on many mountains.

A bit down the trail from the view-point you will reach a junction. Continuing forward will bring you the final 0.3 miles to the summit of Cascade. The trail to the right leads down to a small col (low point between two mountains), and then at a gradual grade up to the summit of Porter (marked only by trail signs to other locations).

Adjusting our Microspikes at the trail junction. Yes that is ice, yes it is late May.

Adjusting our Microspikes at the trail junction. Yes that is ice on the trail, yes it is late May.

The walk over to the summit of Cascade from the junction is brief but wet, then steeply climbs up the open rock of the summit.

A very wet trail, with the summit just ahead!

A very wet trail, with the summit just ahead!

The final summit push on open rock is very clearly marked with yellow paint flares.

The final summit push on open rock is very clearly marked with yellow paint flares.

The climb is pretty steep at points, take care to follow the paint flares.

The climb is pretty steep at points, take care to follow the paint flares.

On the summit with Josh and Elizabeth!

On the summit with Josh and Elizabeth!

Enjoying the amazing views! You can see Marcy just to the right of me, and Colden to the left behind me, and further to the left, a snowy Algonquin.

Enjoying the amazing views! You can see Marcy just to the right of me, and Colden to the left behind me, and further to the left, a snowy Algonquin.

Having fully enjoyed the summit of Cascade we headed back down to the junction and quickly covered the 0.7 miles down, up and across to Porter. The trail there was very snowy and icy, even in late May! Our microspikes really were the perfect footwear. The trail is a moderate climb across to Porter, but levels out when you reach a giant boulder. The summit itself is a small open area with a view of Cascade to the Northwest, and a similar view of the Great Range as seen from Cascade.

The icy trail to Porter

The icy trail to Porter

On top of the giant boulder that's on the side of the trail.

On top of the giant boulder that’s on the side of the trail.

The summit of Porter, not nearly as exciting as Cascade, but still good!

The summit of Porter, not nearly as exciting as Cascade, but still good!

Cascade, as seen from Porter.

Cascade, as seen from Porter.

Once on top of Porter we enjoyed the view for a bit then began the return trip. As we were hiking in the “off-season” there were only a few other hikers we encountered during our trip. We had the rare privileged of having some time on both summits completely to ourselves. On our way down we started to discuss what type of pie we would get at the Noon Mark Diner!

Remember, on weekends in the summer Cascade is usually extremely crowded. Not only does that impact parking availability, but also the quality of your experience. If you can, avoid weekends when planning your Cascade hike.

Happy hiking!

Map of Cascade and Porter trail

Map of Cascade and Porter trail