The most common routes are from the south via a traverse over Hoffman Mountain or from the north starting on Blue Ridge Road. I chose to start from the east on Route 9 just south of Schroon Falls. I parked at the recently established Dirgylot Hill parking lot.
The first 3 miles were a re-hike of a hike I did on 5/24/14. This was a herd path that lead to an old abandoned jeep road which then followed a nice drainage that leads towards the col between Hoffman Mountain and Blue Ridge Mountain.
This time I would continue on past the end of the abandoned jeep road and bushwhack my way to the top with any luck. I started quickly, traveling the first 3 miles in an hour and fifteen minutes. The mosquitos were after me for the first 15 minutes, but didn't bother after that until the same spot on the way out.
I had a late start (11:30), so I knew there was a chance I would have to bail if I didn't make good progress. At that time I came to a small clearing at the end of the gentle terrain. There was also a fork in the drainage at this spot. It is here that I came across the only human artifact of the trip; the remains of an old iron cook stove. There had obviously been a camp of some sort here long ago.
|Remains of an old cook stove at the end of gentle terrain|
From this clearing I followed the right drainage, staying on the right hand side, still following the old road which was becoming faint. It quickly disappeared, just as I had anticipated.
The drainage had some pretty spots and a few 4' falls and water pools that looked inviting.
|Here are a few pics of the water falls and pools|
At the 3.7 mile point and an elevation of 2200' the terrain began to get noticeably steeper and the drainage was now in a deeper ravine. It became harder to follow the stream. It was now time to turn towards Blue Ridge.
I had been headed mostly west and now turned to a course of 290 degrees. At around 2500', I did get a small look back at Schroon Lake. This was my only view of the lake.
|An opening in the trees|
|A zoom of my one look at Schroon Lake|
|Typical woods and fallen timber|
From 2600'-2800', I went through a band of thick small spruce, followed by some taller young thick spruce.
|Thicker small spruce from 2600-2800'|
The grade moderated as I neared the summit ridge. The tree density improved as well, except for a thick blowdown field between the two summit prominences. I was going to go to the southern most summit first, but had to veer to the northern summit to avoid a fearful mess.
The northern summit had no indication that it was the high point, I was just greeted by moderately thick woods.
|The northern summit!|
From the northern summit, I was able to go around the north side of the blowdown mess to reach the sothern summit. I wasn't sure which was the true summit, but the southern summit appears to be slightly higher according to my altimeter. I could see very slight indications that others had walked here. I wouldn't even call it a herd path.
|Southern summit by the fallen tree root mass. It appears that others have stood here. No manmade indicators found.|
It had taken me 3.5 hours to travel the 4.75 miles to the southern summit, which meant it was now 3 PM . I reversed course, figuring I'd follow the same course down (the devil you know is better than the one you don't)!
|The outline of Hoffman Mountain to the south|
I wasn't able to move any faster on the way out. It's tough to pick up the pace when bushwhacking. It just leads to carelessness and injury. Besides, I had moved fast on the way in until I hit the obstructions.
|The biggest clearing I found...|
7 hours found me back at the car (6:30 PM). I can't say I recommend this route, but I don't know if any route to Blue Ridge would be better. This is certainly a nice hike until you have to leave the drainage and begin the climb in earnest.
Hike Distance: 9.5 miles
Hike Time: 7 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 2750'
|The route (Click image to enlarge)|