Second only to its southeasterly neighbor, Mount Marcy, the 5,114-foot summit of Algonquin Peak rewards sturdy hikers with unparalleled views of the Adirondacks and beyond. Begin hiking from the Adirondak Loj parking lot on the Van Hoevenberg Trail (which also accesses Wright Peak, Avalanche Lake, and Mount Marcy) on a slight descent through young hemlocks. Soon the trail crosses a footbridge over a wet area before beginning a gentle southward ascent over intermittent waterbars.
About a mile in, the terrain becomes more rugged and the grade more pronounced after passing the junction to Marcy Dam. Here, the trail picks up a steady climb often aided by sturdy stone steps. After 2.3 miles, pass under a 50-foot cascade (with a nice base pool in wet summer months). After the junction to Wright Peak (a steep, 0.6-mile detour to bag another 4,000-footer), the route becomes more technical and physically challenging. On the final mile to the summit you’ll scramble over large boulders, cross logs over mud holes, and navigate sidehill slab as you ascend to low-lying krummholz dwarf trees and unobstructed views back north to Lake Placid and Wright Peak. Entering an alpine hiking zone, look for yellow blazes and cairns to stay on track and avoid traipsing through revegetation areas.
After 3.8 miles, crest the open rock summit of 5,114-foot Algonquin Peak. Various overlooks offer outstanding views of the Adirondacks and beyond. Look east to the Great Range and further out to Giant Mountain. Below to the southeast is Lake Colden and Flowed Lake. Mount Marcy rises beyond Mount Colden (also southeast). A trail leads southwest off Algonquin towards Iroquois Peak, but this route backtracks to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Lisa Densmore, DensmoreDesigns.com