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!
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
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 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