The weather was ominous when we set out for our second hike in the Adirondack Mountains. At the trailhead for Hurricane Mountain, the tops of the mountains around us were obscured by the clouds. It would have been easy and understandable to call it off there, but you never know what’s in store for you sometimes. For many ahead of us, it meant hiking up to a blanket of white. For us, we came to sweeping fruity pebble like mountain sides made more mystic as they were revealed behind the lifting clouds. Sometimes the luck of the draw makes the risk worth it.
This is part 2 of 5 of our trip out to New York and Vermont. In this part, we cover our second day hike up to Hurricane Mountain in New York. You can find the rest of the series as they are posted in the index below.
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- name: Hurricane Mountain via route 9N
- distance: 6.4 miles
- elevation change: 2,008 ft
- time: 4:04 hours (3:01 moving)
- location: Adirondack State Park, near Keene, New York, USA (google map directions)
- Hurricane Mountains is one of with a fire tower on its peak and part of the ADK Mountain Club Fire Tower Challenge (ADK.org)
There are several ways to access Hurricane Mountain Summit (lakeplacid.com). We headed up the most direct trail from Route 9N.
Alternatively, Hurricane Lane trail is a 2.7 mile one way from the east with 1,700 ft of elevation gain (alltrails) and Crow Clearing is a 3.0 mile on way from the north with 1,600 ft of elevation gain (alltrails).
With a rainy forecast for the morning, we delayed our start and didn’t get to the trailhead until noon. There were plenty of parking along the road and a small pull out parking area across the road. Parking was very easy for us as there were plenty of hikers that had already finished their hike at this point of the day.
The initial 0.4 miles of the trail was on the uphill at roughly a 15.7% grade to get our heart pumping right away. For the most of this uphill, the trail climbed above Spruce Hill Brooks. There are a couple of spots you can get down to the running stream.
After turning away from the stream, we came to the first opening of the hike looking south toward the Route 9N. Immediately we could see the peak of Knob Lock Mountain being obscured by the low clouds so we didn’t have great prospects of a clear view at the top. The beta from many of he hikers we saw coming down didn’t help either. However, we did hit the foliage in the area at its peak so at least the trail itself would be pretty.
The next 0.84 miles was relatively flat after the viewpoint. We would travel through the forest before crossing Spruce Hill Brook over a bridge and coming to an open marshy meadow. There were a few planks here to help hikers keep their foot dry.
Unfortunately for us that would be a losing battle as the sky opened up on us. At least made the crossing of an intermittent stream easier when we were already wet. Knowing the possibility of rain, I was very happy with my choice of bringing my umbrella along. (Yes I did do the gentleman thing offer it to Meg, but she turned it down since she decided to leave hers in the car).
The stream crossing here at the 1.25 mile mark of our hike was also the beginning of our long uphill over the next 1.34 miles at roughly even 17.8 % grade mostly in the forest. We kept our heads down for the uphill as were rained on for majority of the time, so we didn’t stop to take in the foliage until our way down later in the day. This goes for my picture taking as well.
As if we planned it all along, the rain stopped as we poked our heads out from the forest at long last at the next view point. The clouds seemed to be lifting as well revealing what looked like a field of pebble flakes covering the hillsides.
At the next outcrop a few steps further, we could see the summit of Hurricane Mountain. They gave us the confirmation that views were to be had all around.
We would duck back into the forest for the next third of a mile gaining elevation at a milder 8.8% grade until we reached the junction with the Northern Trail from Crow Clearing (alltrails).
The final approach to the summit after the junction involved a little scramble
to gain the rocky bald of Hurricane Summit. Hurricane Mountain didn’t use to look this way, but was cleared by early surveyor Verplanck Colvin in 1873 to triangulate the summit among others (Adirondack Journeys).
From here, we had an expansive views in every direction here. To the south was accented by Green Mountain.
To the east, it is said that you can see Lake Champlain in the distance on a clear day.
On our way down, we faced west looking out toward the town of Keene.
Before we returned, headed up the fire tower here. On the busy weekend day here, a local ADK member staffed the entrance to allow for social distancing of hikers looking to access to the fire tower.
This allowed each group to enjoy the fire tower without the overcrowding.
Without the rain, our way back down the mountain was rather a nice stroll through the fall foliage.
After our hike, we stopped in at the Baxter Mountain Tavern (tripadvisor) for a nice meal and dangerous drinks on their heated patio with view. Perhaps the heat and drinks were very biasing there.
The rating below are based on an unevenly distributed scale of 1-5. For full description of the ratings and the categories, see the explanation here.
views/experience: 3. The expansive 360 views from Hurricane Mountain is the highlight of the hike. However, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the forest that the majority of the hike took us through if it wasn’t peak foliage season.
difficulty: 2. The hike goes over 2000 ft of elevation gain so there is some endurance required. It can get a little muddy, but there were plenty of trail work done here including boards to help keep your feet dry.
technical: 2. The trail is well signed and well traveled. Near the summit, there are some minor scrambling.
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