Noonmark Mountain @ Sunrise

Just a hint of light on the horizon.
Just a hint of light on the horizon.

If you were to ask me what my favorite hike in the Adirondacks is I’d tell you Noonmark Mountain. Why? Well, it’s relatively short, either 2.5 or 3.3 miles one way depending on the trail you take; it’s easy to get to, both trailheads are off Route 73 in Keene Valley; and the peak has one of the best views of the Great Range and surrounding peaks in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks.

View of the Great Range from Noonmark's summit
View of the Great Range from Noonmark’s summit

I’ve now hiked Noonmark Mountain 5 times. Yes, 5, I love it that much. The most memorable trips were the last two. The most recent ascent was in the dark in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday to be on the summit to watch the sunrise and the later was back on January 8, 2012 when Harrison proposed to me on the top of the mountain. I’ve hiked it in the rain, in the snow, on a beautiful fall day in the middle of peak leaf peeping season and now I can say I’ve hiked it in the summer in the dark as well!

The trail we took on Sunday was the Felix Adler Trail via Round Pond. It is a 3.3 mile long approach to the summit and my preferable route. I’ve hiked it via the Stimson Trail once before but for some reason I am drawn to the alternate route up the Felix Adler Trail. The parking area is on Route 73 on the left heading towards Keene Valley. The lot is small and does fill up but there is parking on the road if necessary.

Here’s an account of our day:

1:15AM – Alarm clock goes off. Harrison swears at me from under the covers. I remind him that he loves me and that it will be awesome on top of the mountain so he begrudgingly gets out of bed.

1:45AM – On the road, stop for coffee at the only gas station open in the area. Coffee isn’t great, but it’s caffeine.

2:45AM – We are on the trail. Headlamps on, hiking poles in hand we are rearing to go. Temperatures hover around 50, not bad.

5:03AM – We reach the summit. The horizon is already starting to show a little light. Get the tripod set up and camera ready to go. Add some layers as there is a breeze at the summit that is a bit chilling. Hats and gloves come out as well.

5:03AM – 6:45AM Snapped hundreds of photos, marveled at the beauty of the mountains at dawn, soaked up the rising sun. Amazing, just amazing. View the full album of photos from the hike on Flikr.

6:45AM – Realize we are hungry and ready for food! Head down the mountain for some grub.

9:00AM – Back at car. Dirty boots and pants come off, flip flops and shorts go on. Let’s eat!

We had an awesome breakfast at the Noonmark Diner (my favorite, their pie is the best!) and stopped in at the Mountaineer in Keene Valley. We were on the road back home by 11AM and resting peacefully by noon at the in-laws house (Owen had spent the morning with his Nana and Grandpa so we had to go collect him and our stuff as we stayed there Saturday evening).

Despite being a little tired the rest of the day it was an awesome hike. I’m already plotting which one to do next for sunrise. Anyone have any suggestions? (We’ve already hiked Cascade to watch the sunrise, it was also awesome).

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