What Are the Hardest Adirondack Hiking Trails?

Hardest Adirondack Mountains

Adirondack Mountains

Difficult hikes are meant to challenge even the most experienced hikers. These Adirondack hiking trails are meant to test how far you can push your strength, endurance, and commitment to the sport of hiking. What makes these challenging hikes so rewarding are the views that come with it.

There are a variety of things can qualify a trail for “difficult” status. Some of Adirondack trails are extremely steep, but others have surprisingly low inclines. The low-incline ones, however, tend to be muddy, be covered in rocks, or present other complications to keep things interesting. One important thing to keep in mind – the hardest pathways are not maintained trails. Instead, they are “herd paths,” or paths that have been beaten in only by the feet of the hikers that have gone before. Here are a few of the toughest Adirondack hikes to add to your itinerary:

The Dix Range Alternate Route – This circuit takes you to the top of four, 4,000-foot peaks. Park in the free pullout about a mile past where Route 73 and Route 9 meet. Then look for an unmarked trailhead. From there, your hike will take you rock-hopping through rivers, scrambling over slick, wet granite, and past several flat areas that can be used as campsites. The 17-mile hike can be done in a day by the fittest hikers, but most will need to make it a two day outing.

Allen Mountain – Said to be the hardest of the Adirondacks’ 46 peaks to reach, this destination requires hiking on logging roads and through confusing forest just to get to the base of the mountain to begin the climbing phase. Bring your GPS, because you are going to need it! Start at the Upper Works Trailhead in Tahawus, New York.

Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge – Take a friend on this hike, not just for safety, but so can take two cars. You’ll start this grueling 11-mile hike at one trailhead and come back out at a different one several miles away. You’ll be glad to avoid any more walking after having hiked to several mountain peaks. The journey starts in St. Huberts, New York.

Mount Esther – Some guides say this North Pole, New York, hike is moderate, but with a time estimate of a full day for less than five miles, most will surely think of it as very difficult! How do you catch it at its most challenging? Go in the winter. You’ll need to snowshoe up a closed road, then leave the snowshoes in order to bushwhack up to the peak through dense trees. Bring your GPS and a friend or three!

This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Adirondack trails. Be sure to take precautions and bring a first aid kit. For all other extreme hiking supply needs check out the online LiteFighter store!