Lake George

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

Monday, June 3, 2013

Iroquois Peak - High Peaks Wilderness - 5/31/13

I had a 3 day weekend ahead of me.  Friday looked like it was going to be the only rain free day.  The forecast for Saturday and Sunday was calling for intermittent thunderstorms.  The whole weekend was supposed to be hot; close to 90°.
I made plans for Friday to be my big hiking day.   The rest of the weekend could be short filler hikes as the weather permitted.  I know, I know, real hikers hike in the rain.  Don’t be fooled; I’ve done my share of hiking in the rain, but sometimes I try to work around it; at least the majority of it.
My plan was to start from the trail head at Upper Works (near Newcomb, NY), and hike to Flowed Lands, to check on my adopted lean-to (Herbert Brook Lean-to).  That hike is 10 miles roundtrip via the Calamity Brook Trail.  Once at Flowed Lands, I would decide where to go.  My top two contenders were Hanging Spear Falls or Sheperd’s Tooth.  I’ve haven’t been to either one.  Hanging Spear Falls would be the easier of the two.
I started out at 9:30.  It was already 75° and warming rapidly.  The trail had some sloppy mud sections, but not too bad considering all the snow and rain of the last week.  I made it to the Herbert Brook Lean-to at 11:30.  Things there looked good.  I placed a new broom there, took some pictures and inspected the general vicinity.  My dog Rev was with me.  I gave her a snack and then she wanted to move on.  She has no patience for sitting around.

The Herbert Brook Lean-to with the Macintyre Range in the background

I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to sit at the lean-to without being bothered by any bugs.  Certain spots this time of year are horrible, especially when it is hot and humid.
Since it wasn’t even noon yet, I decided I would try to head for Sheperd’s tooth, a small bump off the end of Iroquois Peak (between Iroquois Peak and Mount Marshall).  The shortest option would be to take the Cold Brook Trail to Cold Brook Pass, then bushwhack to Sheperd’s Tooth by skirting right of a band of cliffs and climbing through a chimney at the end of the cliffs.  I didn’t know how this would be with the dog, so I chose the longer option of taking the trail from Lake Colden up to the col between Algonquin Peak and Boundary Peak.  From there I could go to Iroquois, then have a short bushwhack to the Tooth and back.
I knew that the trail from Lake Colden was steep, but I had forgotten how rugged it was.  There is quite a bit of rock and boulder in the trail.  It was pretty, since it followed a brook, and the water was high, but it didn’t cause any problems even though in some spots it was flowing in the trail. 

The start of the trail from Lake Colden to the Algonquin-boundary Col

Some of the tiered waterfalls alongthe way

and a water slide

I did notice that I was climbing a bit slower than usual due to the heat and humidity. It was the first really hot climb of the season.  By the time I got to the summit of Iroquois, I think it was around 3 PM.  I assessed my options.  It was going to take another 45 minutes or more to go to Sheperd’s Tooth and back to Iroquois; at which time I would still have a nine mile walk back to the car.  I decided to head back.
Sheperd’s Tooth isn’t going anywhere.  I’ll go back to get it when I don’t have the dog with me.  Iroquois in and of itself is a great peak.  The views from the tooth are just more of the same.

A look at Sheperd's Tooth from the summit of Iroquois

Algonquin in the background

Mount Colden from Iroquois

Flowed Lands from Iroquois
Rev on Iroquois

On my way back over Boundary Peak I stopped to talk to some trail crew who had a bundle of wood all banded together on the summit.  They said it was going to be used to build some bog bridges in the cols on either side of Boundary.  Those will be welcomed.  The bog between Algonquin and Boundary had one especially bad spot.
Going down, as expected, was much quicker than going up; tough on the legs, but faster.  I got back to the car at 10 minutes before 8.  A group of four persons were just heading in; two men and two teenage boys.  I don’t know if they planned to hike by headlamp or not, but they didn’t have much daylight remaining.

Looking east to Mount Colden from near the Algonquin/Boundary Peak col

My route for the day (Click image to enlarge)

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  18.6 miles
Hike Time:  10 hours, 20 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 4600' 


  1. Thanks for writing about that trail up to Iroquois - we've been planning to try it later this summer.

    1. If you haven't been to Iroquois before, it's a great mountain. The trail from Lake Colden is a steep rocky trail. The approach from the Adirondack Loj via Algonquin is much easier. If you do a loop hike from the Loj, I'd go clockwise to go up from Lake Colden rather than down. I always prefer to ascend the steeper route.

      Thanks for reading and enjoy your trip when you do it.

  2. Thanks for the report. The pictures are really nice. We hiked into the Duck Hole from Upper Works a few years ago and had water on the trail most of the way-was a tough slog. The views from Iroquois look great-think I will try from Adirondack Loj.

  3. Iroquois is one of my favorite high peaks. The hike from the Loj to Iroquois gives you a lot of above treeline hiking. Do it on a clear day to enjoy the views. I enjoy it in all conditions, but you need to see the views at least once.

    Thanks for reading!