Columbus Day On Mount Van Hoevenberg - 10/10/16
Mt. Van Hoevenberg is named for an early pioneer in the Adirondacks, who cleared the first trails and built the original Adirondack Lodge in the late 1800's. One side is home to the Olympic bobsled/luge track and the other is home to another great bang for the buck hike up this 2940 foot high mountain. Unlike the day before, when we hiked Mt. Jo, the skies were clear of clouds and the trail almost free of people. Parking was easy to find on South Meadow Road and we set out up the 2.2 mile trail early in the afternoon with temps a fall like 50 degree and skies as blue as they can get.
Slept in and woke up to this view from the balcony
Mount Whiteface over Mirror Lake
Mount Van Hoevenberg with it's bobsled track and the Olympic ski jumps
NY's two 5000 footers & friends
Top of New York looking frosty
This hike starts off flat for about a mile, entering the High Peaks Wilderness and passing through some really nice woods with towering pines and a golden canopy of leaves all around. A really enjoyable warm up mile brings you to a beaver pond where you get a view ahead to the summit ledges of Mt. Van Hoevenberg. It seemed really far away but it was only about a mile, and with an easy climb of about 750 feet the mile was steady but never steep. The forest became dominated by towering golden trees casting a magical light on everything along the way. After about half an hour of this you walk past some ledges and make a final short steep push to the view ledges, which you get to by popping out of a dark tunnel of pines, similar to Mt. Willard in the Whites.
Someone should tell them they spelled the guys name wrong
For a minute, in the pines, it still felt like summer
That changed quickly however
Walking among the golden giants
Mt. Van Ho across the beaver pond
After the pond the climbing begins
Just a beautiful day to walk through this for a mile or so
What have we here???
The view you are greeted by on the first ledge is breathtaking in any season, but the foliage was nothing short of that itself. Combine those two and the WOW
factor was tremendous. Most of the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness was laid out across the horizon, with a forest floor full of peaking foliage and South Meadow, which is an island of pine trees in the center of it all that South Meadow Brook flows through. Mt. Jo, from the day before, looked like a bump off to the right, dwarfed by the higher rime ice dusted summits of the Great and McIntyre ranges. There were three or four more ledges similar to this in the next few hundred yards, each with a similar but slightly different view. We started to descend a bit, realizing we were on our way down the other side and would eventually wind up at the top of the bobsled track, so we turned back and stopped at the last of the viewpoints, which I think was the best of them all, for an extended break.
Popping out of the woods to this is tolerable
Eastern High Peaks Wilderness
Mts Marcy and Colden across South Meadow
The previous day we hiked up Mt. Jo seen here
The final view ledge was the best of them IMO
Life is so good
NY's highest across South Meadow
South Meadow Brook snaking its way through the valley
Avalanche Pass between Colden and Algonquin
We chatted with another couple who had driven 6 hours from Long Island to spend the weekend up there also. And I thought 4 hours for us was a long ride!
Eventually they left and we had the place to ourselves and took an extended break just enjoying the amazing sight in front of us (and photographing the hell out of it!
) before my wife finally pointed out it was 4 O'clock and we still had a four hour drive to make. She asked if I was ready to go, and I said no, but sadly ready or not it was time to hike down and head back to the real world, so we left one of the finest sights I've ever seen behind and had a race back to the car, stopping only for one last view from the first ledge on the way by. With extended viewing and photo ops this 4.4 mile RT hike took us about 3 hours and was a great way to finish up the weekend. After that there was nothing left to do but hop in the car and head home. My wife loved the area so I'm sure we'll be back camping with the kids sooner rather than later. Same drive as Acadia so for long weekends and summer vacations this place is officially in the mix now. Sweet.
Last look around
Cascade Lake looking good as we leave town
Next year we hope to be back with the kids for a camping trip