Lake George

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

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dix Mountain - 5/12/12

What a beautiful day in the woods today.  It was in the mid 30's in the morning and the mid 70's this afternoon with a beautiful blue sky all day.  The bugs were non-existent until late in the day.  To top off the day, Leesa and I successfully climbed Dix Mountain in the Adirondack Park of NY from the Elk Lake Trailhead.  Elk Lake Road is located off Exit 29 of I87, then west on Blue Ridge Road to a right on Elk Lake Road to parking at the end on the right.  In winter, Elk Lake Road is closed about 2 miles south of the trailhead (a gate is located near Clear Pond). 

Trailhead sign at Elk Lake
I had tried to climb Dix on 4/14/12, but there was a foot of fresh snow up high and my dog refused to climb the final stretch.  Today was a different story.


The trail skirts around the east side of Elk Lake and arrives at the Slide Brook Leanto at 2.3 miles.  For hikers wanting to climb the trail-less Macomb Mountain, there is a rock cairn located just after a foot bridge with single handrail (and just before the Slide Brook Leanto) that marks the beginning of a herd path to the right.

Lillian Brook Leanto

Just prior to the Lillian Brook Leanto, at 3.7 miles, there is another rock cairn marking another herd path.  Either one can be followed.  We continued on toward Dix.  There are numerous campsites near the Lillian Brook Leanto and we thought that where the trail crossed Lillian Brook, just north of the Leanto was just a beautiful spot.  It would be a great place to swim in July and August and there were probably 6 nice places to camp.

Bridge over Lillian Brook
When we passed the Lillian Brook Leanto, there was a man in a sleeping bag just waking up for the morning!

The Beck-horn from Dix Mountain

We continued on a short distance to the split between the ridge trail on the right, to Dix via the Beckhorn, and the valley trail on the left to Dix via Hunter Pass.  We chose the Beckhorn.  The trail was nice and had several viewpoints.  There is one challenging rock climb located just before the Beckhorn.  Leesa had difficulty getting up the rock and I helped her.  I also had to lift up our dog Rev.  She couldn't scale the rock.

Elk Lake on the right, the Beckhorn on the left.  Clear Pond also in the distance.

Once we got past that one rockface, the Beckhorn and Dix awaited us.  We sat in the grass on Dix in a nice spot out of the wind and had some lunch.   Rev then took it upon herself to take a nap.

Dix Mountain from the Beckhorn
From the summit Dix, we decided to continue north and loop around to Hunter Pass and back to Elk Lake rather than go back down the Beckhorn.  It turned out to be a good decision.  We got to see another trail (and I didn't have to lift the dog down any rock).

The summit of Dix Mountain

We did run into a little snow and ice and a small section of monorail snow just north of the summit of Dix.  It should be gone in another week.

Rev is getting ready for a nap

Our return via Hunter Pass was pleasant.  There was one section of extreme blowdown and a small detour was marked with red ribbon.

The view north from Dix

She's out!

Snow on Mount Marcy

Leesa and Rev on Dix

They're ready to hike again

Leaving the alpine north heading down Dix toward Hunter Pass

One area in Hunter Pass had extreme blowdown

I was glad to reach the summit on this attempt after being so close a month ago.  Dix is one of the better high peak summits with great views in all directions.  We will be back to do some of the nearby trail-less high peaks.

Hike Stats

Hike Distance:  13.3 miles
Hike Time:  9 hours, 45 minutes (including stops)
Trailhead Elevation:  2057'
Summit Elevation:  4857'
Total Vertical Gain:  3795'

My Dix Mountain GPS track

A view of our GPS track from Google Earth

Our route shown in blue (click to enlarge)

A blowup of the summit loop


  1. Looks like a great hike. Loved the summit views.

    1. It was a beautiful day to be on the summit, and Dix is one of the better ones.

  2. Nice! You must be making some serious headway on your 2012 Challenge. It seems like more people hike Dix from the north (Rt 73 / Round Pond trailhead), but I think the way you did it is nicer. If you go back to get the 4 trailless peaks in the Dix Range, you should have no trouble knocking off all four in a single day. Bring lots of water though, it's completely dry up high.

    1. I'm just about halfway on the Vertical Feet. I'll hit 100,000 the next time I go out. I'm slightly ahead on the miles.

      We may go back this coming weekend and pick up the other 4 high peaks in the Dix range if the weather looks decent.

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  4. Your posts are wonderfully helpful and enjoyable. I have a nice Dix range trip planned for mid-week. I live far away from ADK so I plan to drive up and backpack into one of the lean-to's and setup camp. The next day we'll day hike all 5 peaks going CCW up Macomb first. For perspective, we've hiked 10 High Peaks so far including the Seward range from Ward Brook side last year with a similar plan.

    I'm curious if you have a recommendation on the lean-to's. Slide Brook is closest to the trailhead but you made the Lillian Brook area sound really nice. Besides, starting the day hike at Lillian Brook area would give us some time to warm up on level ground before hitting the slide up to Macomb, giving our muscles and aerobic systems a little time to warm up. I think I'm answering my own question but I welcome your thoughts with all your experience. Thanks!

    1. Either spot would be OK but Lillian Brook might be a little quieter. I prefer to climb the Dixes from Route 73. I just did it again from that direction last month and I posted a trip report. Have fun!

    2. Either spot would be OK but Lillian Brook might be a little quieter. I prefer to climb the Dixes from Route 73. I just did it again from that direction last month and I posted a trip report. Have fun!