Adirondack Park: Great Range Loop

This classic dayhike along the East Branch Ausable River runs past waterfalls--and across the most famous alpine ridge in the Adirondacks.
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
This classic dayhike along the East Branch Ausable River runs past waterfalls--and across the most famous alpine ridge in the Adirondacks.

Views of the High Peaks are dominated by the Great Range, an imposing chain of eight 4,000-foot peaks 12 miles southeast of Lake Placid. While many hikers choose to gaze at it from easier trails, those who tackle this demanding lasso loop will trace the range’s airy ridgeline to three of its northernmost summits.

Pick up West River Trail off Lake Road and amble southwest along the East Branch Ausable River through hemlock and beech. The climbing ramps up on Gothics-Armstrong Trail, gaining 2,700 feet in the 2.4-mile stretch to Gothics’s 4,736-foot summit. Hike north across slabs and krummholz to 4,400-foot Armstrong Mountain. Descend ledges on the back to finish the day’s climb on 4,185-foot Upper Wolfjaw.

-Mapped by Lisa Densmore, Densmore Designs.com

TO TRAILHEAD: From the bridge over Johns Brook in Keene Valley, drive 3.3 miles east on NY 73 to Saint Huberts. At the second junction with Ausable Rd., turn right. Go about 100 yards. The trailhead parking lot is on the left. This is the same parking lot for the hike to Noonmark and Round Mountains. Parking is not permitted along Ausable Road. Walk up the dirt road to the trailhead.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 20.0

Waypoints

GRT001

Location: 44.149724, -73.767885

To reach the trailhead from the parking area on Ausable Club Road, walk west on the dirt road into the Ausable Club.

GRT002

Location: 44.149657, -73.774899

Continue straight on the dirt road, ignoring the trail to Noonmark, which departs on the left.

GRT003

Location: 44.151089, -73.779116

Turn left on Lake Road, and head southwest between the tennis courts.

GRT004

Location: 44.149854, -73.781428

At the trailhead, turn right to start the 11-mile lasso loop. Ahead, cross the East Branch Ausable River on a footbridge.

GRT005

Location: 44.150385, -73.784062

Turn left on the West River Trail on the far side of the bridge.

GRT006

Location: 44.147048, -73.788943

Lower Cathedral Rocks Trail departs to the right. Continue straight on West River Trail.

GRT007

Location: 44.14366, -73.796561

Continue straight on West River Trail at the junction with the upper Cathedral Rocks Trail.

GRT008

Location: 44.14309, -73.799458

Continue straight on West River Trail at the junction with the trail to Canyon Bridge.

GRT009

Location: 44.135699, -73.810852

Bear left (south), continuing on the West River Trail, at the junction with the trail from Wolfjaw Notch.

GRT010

Location: 44.129138, -73.816645

Turn right (northwest) toward Gothics Col at the junction with the trail to Gothics Col.

GRT011

Location: 44.130386, -73.820057

Continue straight on the Gothics Col Trail where Lost Lookout Trail departs on the left.

GRT012

Location: 44.130584, -73.824099

Cross the wilderness boundary into state land.

GRT013

Location: 44.130767, -73.845814

Pass a balancing boulder.

GRT014

Location: 44.130669, -73.852253

At Gothics Col, turn left (northeast) to summit Gothics.

GRT015

Location: 44.127706, -73.857415

Crest the top of Gothics. Next, backtrack to GRT014 and continue straight. Climb north across rock slabs and krummholz toward Armstrong Mountain.

GRT016

Location: 44.134575, -73.849728

Summit Armstrong Mountain, then descend ledges on the backside.

GRT017

Location: 44.140242, -73.845162

Turn left on the spur to Upper Wolfjaw.

GRT018

Location: 44.140473, -73.845356

Summit Upper Wolfjaw, then return to GRT017 and turn left.

GRT019

Location: 44.144758, -73.836182

Turn right at Wolfjaw Notch, immediately passing the upper trail to Lower Wolfjaw Mountain.

GRT020

Location: 44.144122, -73.834713

Continue straight past the trail to Lower Wolfjaw.

GRT021

Location: 44.144107, -73.831367

Hike past the lower trail to Lower Wolfjaw.

GRT022

Location: 44.136629, -73.815878

Cross the wilderness boundary. Ahead, reconnect with GRT009 and turn left. Retrace the route back to your car.