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First Night Out: Views

Three hikes with spectacular views

High Peaks Wilderness, NY
Van Hoevenberg Trail

Mellow hikes are hard to find in the High Peaks: The terrain is so rugged even the soil has a hard time holding on (look for the bald scars left behind when torrential rains trigger slides on the peaks’ rocky faces). The route to Marcy Dam is an exception, combining a nearly flat trail with the mountain views that make this region a backpacker favorite. Meander through mature stands of red pine and yellow birch, paralleling MacIntyre Brook for part of the 2.2-mile trek to the pond at Marcy Dam. From there, three peaks—slide-striped, 4,715-foot Mt. Colden, 3,832-foot Avalanche Mountain, and 4,580-foot Wright Peak—frame a 180-degree panorama. Choose from one of four lean-tos and 20 campsites around the pond; the middle lean-to on the west affords the best mountain view.
Go Late September/early October for fall colors Get there From Keene, take NY 73 west 10.9 miles to a left on Adirondack Loj Rd. Follow 4.4 miles to park at Adirondack Loj ($10/day). Permit None required Map Trails Illustrated Adirondack Park Lake Placid/High Peaks ($12, natgeomaps .com) Contact adk.org Trip ID 17038

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