Lake George

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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Six-Pack of Hills - Pharaoh Lake Wilderness - 2/14/16

This is perhaps one of the few areas where you can bag 6 or more names hills in a half day hike.  I started at the trailhead near the hamlet of Adirondack on the east shore of Schroon Lake.  My primary goal was No. 8 Hill, but I wanted to grab the other hills along the way (Pine Hill, Orange Hill, Franks Hill, No. 6 Hill and No. 7 Hill).

It was -20 degrees when I woke up, with a -30 degree windchill, so I waited at home until noon when it warmed up to 0 degrees with a -10 degree windchill.  I signed in at the trail register and immediately left the the Sucker Brook Horse Trail in favor of a bushwhack to Pine Hill.  I had a small puffy coat under my shell, but I shed that after 10 minutes.  I just don't get cold while I'm climbing (as long as I'm sheltered from the wind).    

Sign at the parking area.

On the way up Pine Hill

Looking back at Schroon Lake 
These hills are mostly hardwoods and they are pleasant to hike when the leaves are down.  You get a much better view of your surroundings.

Rev found a spine, probably from a deer and later found a deer leg (which she proudly carried around with her)! 

Animal spine  

Although it was cold, I was moving fast and actually had to occasionally take off my hat and mitts. The strong sunshine and blue skies were a nice perk. 

Rev... near the top of Franks Hill

This hike was nice because the snow conditions were perfect and the rolling terrain was easy to negotiate.  Most of the trees were on the small side.  I don't know if this area was ever logged, but there was evidence that parts of it had been farmed.  I saw rock piles in the middle of nowhere and stone walls and a foundation hole along the Sucker Brook Trail.

After I summited Pine, Orange, Franks, No. 6 & No. 7, I wasn't sure I would have time for No. 8, but I headed in that direction.  

Looking at No. 8 hill from the north side of No. 7.

I attacked No. 8 from the west and stayed left of the rock faces.  I ocntinued to move quickly and I reached the top of No. 8 Hill at 3:30.  This is an awesome summit!  If you want an easily reached open rock summit with a 360 degree view (including views of many High Peaks) this peak is for you. 

The summit of No. 8 hill.

Unfortunately with the cold and the lateness of the day, I couldn't linger.  I did snap a bunch of pictures though (see below).  This is a peak I'll come back to.  This peak reminded me of another great peak in the area that is similar - Stevens Mountain.

Pharaoh Mountain to the north.

Looking SW, Schroon Lake in the distance

Looking NW to the high peaks

zoom view

Rev looking eastward from No. 8 Hill.

Leaving No 8 Hill at 3:30, I had to chose the fastest way back to the car.  I retraced my steps down the west face of No. 8, then continued downhill to the Sucker Brook Horse Trail.  From there it was a 3.5 mile trail walk back to the car.  

The new style horse trail discs 

... and the old

old stone walls along the Sucker Brook Trail.

An old foundation hole along the Sucker Brook Trail.

All these hill are worth exploring, but make it a point to visit No. 8 Hill.  It is a special place.  I ran out of time and wasn't able to visit "The Dam Hill", but I'll visit that one too; perhaps when I go back to No. 8.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  9.5 miles 

The route (click image to enlarge) 

The route on the Nat Geo map


  1. Hi Mike,

    I particularly enjoyed this report because my wife and I whacked to No. 8 Hill from the horse trail back in April 2006. What a great little peak! We also went down to the clifftop at the end of the eastern shoulder for an awesome view up the Desolate Brook valley to the cliffs of Pharoah. One of my all-time favorite Adirondack vistas. During that mini-vacation I also enjoyed a whack to ledges on Grizzle Ocean Mountain. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks Steve. I should have done this one sooner, but now that I know how nice it is, I'll go back. Nearby Stevens Mountain is great also.

    2. Thanks Steve. I should have done this one sooner, but now that I know how nice it is, I'll go back. Nearby Stevens Mountain is great also.