Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jay Mountain - 12/25/11

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

Leesa and I celebrated Christmas on 12/24 with my parents and my kids.  After having a great meal and a week of holiday eating, we headed back to the woods for some exercise on Christmas day.  We slept in a little after the holiday celebration, but we wanted a good solid half day hike.

Jay Mountain is located just east of the town of Upper Jay, which is just east of Whiteface Mountain ski area and Lake Placid.  

While Jay does not have a marked trail, there is a herd path that is well defined to the summit ridge.  Once on the summit ridge, there are small rock cairns all the way to the summit. 

We parked at the trailhead (a pipe with yellow spray paint) at 9:40.  The herd path heads pretty much in a straight line east for 1.6 miles to the beginning of the summit ridge at 3200 feet.  The ridge continues for approximately 1.2 miles to the summit where there is a large rock cairn.

Hike Stats:

Hike Time:  5 hours
Hike Distance:  5.6 miles 
Total Vertical Gain:  2800'
Trailhead Elevation:  1572'
Summit Elevation:  3572'
Summit Rank:  117th highest in New York

Looking towards the summit

There are great views along most of the ridge.  On this particular day, the temp. was in the upper 20's, but the wind was quite strong most of the day.  The sky was overcast and there were flurries all day, but there was enough visibility to see all the nearby peaks.

Leesa stayed warm despite the wind

Halfway along the ridge heading to the summit

There was only an inch of snow at the trail head and 2" at the summit.  Areas exposed to wind were bare rock.  We found micro spikes to be helpful on parts of the trail.

a false summit here... keep going

Somebody's artwork in stone

Leesa at the summit

Looking south 

Mike on the summit

Whiteface ski area can barely be seen to the west from the summit

Another view south

This would be a great picnic spot in warm weather

Some rocks to go up and over... nothing too bad

The trailhead pipe spray painted in yellow

Jay Mountain GPS track


Our route (the herd path) shown in blue

Our route in blue on Google Earth

Not many Adirondack ridges, especially at this elevation, have an exposed ridge line comparable to the Jay Mountain ridge.   It is a hike not to be missed.  It's a great half day hike.  We'll be back in warm weather to linger on the ridge.


  1. One of my favorite hikes in the Adirondacks!

  2. Just to let folks know, the Jay Mountain trail is now "official" with a clear trailhead, a new route, and DEC blazes. The new route contours up the shoulder of the ridge and avoids the swamp. It's a lovely hike.