We chose the Mossy Cascade Trail since it was the only approach that we had not previously taken. I think it is now my favorite approach.
|This trail has been adopted by ATIS|
The trail runs parallel to Route 73 for a short while before turning away from the road to follow Mossy Cascade through an old growth pine forest. There are some big trees in there!
Alongside the trail partway up is an out outhouse with the remains of a camp lying on the ground nearby.
A first viewpoint offers views of Dial, Nippletop, Colvin and Blake.
|The first viewpoint|
Eventually the trail moves away from Mossy Cascade and connects with the Ranney Trail at 2.3 miles. The trail continues to steepen as it heads for the col between Hopkins and Giant. Once at the col, it is a short .2 mile climb to the summit.
|The sign at the col|
The summit of Hopkins is right up there among my favorite non high peak summits, along with the Jay Range. The views are just so outstanding. We spent about 30 minutes on top having some lunch.
|The summit is near...|
|Lots of high peaks front and center|
I was debating my afternoon hike at this point. I could climb Giant and then go down the Roaring Brook Trail, or I could hike down with Leesa and do another hike from Keene Valley. I chose to hike with Leesa.
Once back at the bottom we drove a couple miles north to Marcy Field. I had decided to climb towards Porter Mountain as far as Blueberry Mountain, a fine summit on it's own account. Leesa dropped me off and went to do a couple errands. I headed up the trail at a quick pace. I wanted to get to Blueberry without taking all afternoon. It is a 2 .2 mile hike with 2000 vertical. Near the start, I blew past a young couple carrying heavy packs to go somewhere.
I reached the first viewpoint in 45 minutes (three side-by-side cairns adorned the open rock at this point. I continued on the trail which became a little less steep from this point on. At the 2.2 mile turnaround point I reached a huge glacial erratic perched on a large expanse of open rock. People had built quite a few small scattered cairns on the rock. It had taken 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to this point.
|The large glacial erratic on Blueberry Mountain|
Going down was of course even faster and I managed to get back to the trailhead in 50 minutes. I passed the backpackers who had only traveled about 1.3 miles and were just starting up the steep part. I was wondering how far they were going to get.
The two hikes gave me a combined distance of 10.4 miles and about 4000 vertical. It worked well for the dog. She had no problem sleeping later in the day while we boated!
Hopkins via Mossy Cascade: 6.4 miles
Hike Time: 4 hours, including stops
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 2000'
Blueberry Mountain: 4.4 miles
Hike Time: 2 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 2000'
|The route to Hopkins Mountain (click image to enlarge)|
|Nat Geo version of the route|
|The route to Blueberry Mtn|
|Nat Geo version of the Blueberry route|