Allen Mountain – An Adirondack High Peak

Allen Mountain has been taunting me ever since I started my journey towards becoming an Adirondack 46r. It seemed so daunting, lurking so far in the distance.

Path hiked via my Garmin 910xt
Path hiked via my Garmin 910xt

With only 3 of the high peaks remaining to hike I decided it was finally time to head to the far distant Allen Mountain. Plans were made in advance for the in-laws to watch Owen for the day so we could tackle the beast. The hiking crew, made up of myself, Harrison, Brian J., Nathan P., and Jason J. all met up bright and early Sunday morning in Wevertown to carpool up to the trailhead near Tahawus. It took us less than an hour to make it there and soon enough we were on our way down the trail.

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At the trailhead, ready to go!

The trail to Allen Mountain is interesting in that it traverses a lot of different terrain and different types of trail. It starts as a path in the woods but quickly transitions into old logging roads before turning back into your typical mountain trail. The first portion of the trail is marked, but eventually the trail splits and the marked trail heads towards Hanging Spear Falls and the unmarked trail heads off to the right towards Allen Mountain. While it is technically a trailess peak there are a few signs here or there directing hikers where to go and it’s a fairly obvious trail. We only got turned around twice, once on the slide where most of us went right and the other went left (left being the better way), and on the way back along one of the brooks we missed the turn off to cross over and had to do some backtracking. Otherwise it was a pretty easy trail to follow.

Just a few minutes after we started we came to Lake Jimmy and the long gone floating bridge. I stopped down at the edge of the lake to take a look before detouring back to the newly cut trail. I’ve crossed that bridge before and was sad to see it gone. I was amazed at how low the water level was at Lake Jimmy! It has been so dry this year in northern New York and was a little depressing to see (although the lack of rain was a huge benefit to us on this day as it made for much easier river crossings).

Jason standing at the shore of Lake Jimmy

The new trail wrapped around Lake Jimmy and soon we found ourselves on an old logging road heading towards Lake Sally. At Lake Sally we came to another trail junction where we turned off the logging road and skirted the shore of the lake.

“I think we go that way?”
Lake Sally as seen from the trail

It’s not until ~6 miles in that you start doing any amount of climbing, the beginning section of the trail is relatively flat with just a few rises. You then come to a small mound you climb before descending back down. The real climb starts about 7 miles in and doesn’t stop until you reach the summit! You cover about 2000’ vertical in 2 miles, it’s no walk in the park. There are some very steep, very slippery open slides that have to be climbed and are definitely a little sketchy. And as I was warned, and I’ll pass the warning along, watch out for the red & green slime on the rocks, it is slick! Luckily nobody in our party took any major falls, just a few slip ups here and there.

Those last 2 miles took us awhile to climb but soon enough we were on the ridge and almost to the top. We popped out into the summit clearing right at 12PM, 5 hours 38 minutes after departing from the car. We stopped to say a quick hello to the 4 other climbers on the top and then went just past the peak to a clearing on the northern side of the mountain that had an amazing view of Haystack, Marcy and the other surrounding peaks.

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Skylight and Marcy as seen from the top of Allen
Group shot!
Group shot!

We spent 45 minutes on the top eating lunch and admiring the view before packing it all back up and heading on down. We saw a number of people heading up as we went down, they must have gotten a late start. We started early in hopes to get down before dark, which we did. We arrived back at the car at 5:51PM, 11.5 hours after we started. As soon as we got to the car I stripped off my muddy hiking boots and enjoyed a celebratory Hop Nosh in  the parking lot.

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For getting such a bad rap, I really enjoyed the view from Allen Mountain. It’s not one that you ever get to see which makes it unique. And while yes, it makes for a very long day, the hike isn’t bad. I bet it would be really beautiful in the fall when the leaves start to change.

Start Time: 6:22AM
Summit Time: 12PM (or just after)
Finish Time: 5:51PM
Total Hiking Time: 11.5 Hours
Miles Hiked: 18+ (19+ according to my Garmin Watch)

Check out all the photos from the hike on my Flickr page.

1 more down, only 2 more to go. I’m hoping to finish up this fall on Haystack!

(This journey has been a long one, I started in 2000 hiking Cascade Mountain with a group from college, and I have slowly been climbing the 46 High Peaks over the past 15 years. I took a break from 2004 – 2011 and have repeated a few of the peaks over time as well. While I’m excited to be finishing up this goal of mine, I won’t stop hiking these peaks. The mountains are always calling my name).

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