Lake George

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hopkins Mountain & Spread Eagle Mountain - 7/22/12

In my opinion, the summit of Hopkins Mountain, located just east of Keene Valley, NY in the Giant Mountain Wilderness, might have the best view of the Adirondack High Peaks from a non-high peak summit.

The summit is only at an elevation of 3156', but since both trailhead choices on Route 73 are at around 1000'  it is still a good workout to reach the top.  We chose the Ranney Trail.  The one way hike distance to the top is only 2.9 miles, but it is a steady uphill once you get to the trailhead from  Ranney Road.

We parked across the street at the Rooster Comb parking lot since the Ranney Road street sign said private road.  We walked straight in on Ranney Road (a level gravel road that immediately crosses the Ausable River on a small truss bridge).    It is not obvious where the trailhead is located, but if you continue to walk straight you will see the sign pictured below.

Trailhead sign (probably 3/4 mile in on Ranney Road)

Last October, we had done a phenomenal traverse of  from New Russia to Keene, by climbing Bald Peak, Rocky Peak Ridge, Giant Mountain, Hopkins Mountain and down to Beede Road.  We hit Hopkins just before sunset and it was awesome (see comparison fall sunset pictures here).  We didn't linger too long on that day, but knew we wanted to go back, just to see Hopkins again.


Nearing Hopkins Mountain summit ledge

This was our day to do just that.  The Ranney Trail crosses Hopkins Brook several times in the first half of the hike and passes through a nice pine forest before returning to hard woods until the trail from Giant Mountain is reached, .2 miles shy of the summit.  From there, it is a short steep climb transitioning into soft woods.
Just phenomenal views

As you approach the summit ledge, the views open up and you can see everything from Dix to the Great Range spread out before you. 

Leesa and Rev on the summit

Hopkins doesn't get a lot of traffic since it is not on a peak list.  The summit ledge is quite large, so even if someone else is there, you can spread out and have your own space to admire the view.
Giant Mountain in the distance from Hopkins Mountain

Last October, we desended without climbing Spread Eagle Mountain, so this time we hopped over there to gain the views from a different angle.  You can still get mostly the same view, but Hopkins definitely provides the best panorama.

My two sweethearts

It had taken us about an hour and 40 minutes to reach Hopkins and another 25-30 minutes to go over to Spread Eagle.  This hike roundtrip is a nice half day hike.  During the day we saw 2 couples, both with children that were perhaps in the 6-9 age group.  They all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The trail from the summit drops down to here to continue to Spread Eagle Mountain

After we returned to Hopkins and had our fill of the view we returned to the trailhead the way we had come in.

A new tree is needed!

The weather had been a mix of sun and clouds which made for some interesting skies.  The bugs were not a problem and we totally enjoyed the day.

The view from the shoulder of Spread Eagle Mountain

Some nice pine forest on Spread Eagle

Rev enjoying Hopkins

A picture is a thousand words


Starting to make our way back

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  6.8 miles
Hike Time:  4 hours, 30 minutes (including stops)
Total Vertical Gain:  2830'
Trailhead Elevation:  1020'
Hopkins Mountain Elevation:  3156'
Spread Eagle Mountain Elevation:  2818' 

Our route shown in blue (click map to enlarge)

  My Hopkins Mountain & Spread Eagle Mountain GPS Track at EveryTrail

1 comment:

  1. Nice report and pics! I hiked Hopkins via the Mossy Cascade Trail (very nice trail) and agree that the views are breathtaking. I'll have to consider going back to do some sort of traverse w/ Spread Eagle/Giant/Green/Baxter? at some point. Happy Hiking!