46er Peak Summary and Guide

While there are infinite possibilities in how to group these peaks and hike the 46, below you’ll find common groupings and routes, along with approximate distance and other helpful info. Groups are listed in order of difficulty. If you’re just beginning your 46er journey, try starting at the top of this list. Or, if you’re completely new to hiking or to the Adirondacks, try doing one of the other challenges first, such as the Tupper Lake Triad, or the Saranac Lake 6er, or the Lake Placid 9er!

If you are new to hiking in the Adirondacks, be sure to invest in the High Peaks Map and Guidebook. Review them before setting out on your trek, and also bring them with you in an accessible location in your pack or pocket to reference frequently while out. In addition to reviewing the map and guidebook, I also plan each hike by reading blogs and trip reports from other hikers – I’ve linked my own trip report entry for each peak I’ve done below. Note that the newer editions of the map don’t show any trail indications for the ‘trailless’ peaks. See the trip reports for images from my older map for these – I find they’re pretty helpful!

Not sure what to pack for your hike? Check out my packing guide here: Gear and Tips.

As always, be sure to follow the tenets of Leave No Trace any time you’re recreating in the ADK wilderness. See below for details, taken directly from the link above.

Plan ahead and prepare
Travel and camp on durable surfaces
Dispose of waste properly
  • Research the best activity for you. Know the limits for your group and always base your distance and expectations by the least experienced or weakest individual in your group.
  • Know the rules and regulations for New York State public land.
  • Bring a map and compass and know how to use them.
  • Check the weather report, pack, and dress accordingly.
  • Visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Backcountry Information page for conditions in the Adirondacks.
  • Always stay on the trail when hiking.
  • Walk single file on trails, even if it means through mud.
  • Walk through mud rather than around it to limit erosion.
  • Stay on rock surfaces whenever possible; don’t trod on alpine vegetation.
  • Wear proper footwear (traction on ice & snow) so you can safely stay on the trail
  • Know where you can and can’t camp on Adirondack land. Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond, or other bodies of water except at areas designated by a “camp here” disk. Camping is prohibited above 4000 feet elevation.
  • Lean-tos are available by a first come first serve basis. You must share the lean-to with other campers.
  • Carry out what you carry in. Yes, even apple cores, orange peels, and dog and human waste. Fact: It takes up to two yearsfor an orange or banana peel to decompose. Don’t leave it behind for people to find this spring.
  • Use the bathroom or privy provided. If there is no privy, to dispose of human or pet waste safely, dig a hole 6″-8″ deep (use a stick, rock or shovel) and a minimum of 150 feet from water or campsites. Then cover the hole with soil and leaves.
  • Pack out toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.
  • Do not wash yourself, clothing, or dishes with soap within 150 feet of water.
Leave what you find
Minimize campfire impacts 
Respect wildlife
  • Do not pick wildflowers or leaves.
  • Do not stack rocks.
  • Do not carve into trees, lean-tos, or rocks.
  • Do not leave painted rocks.
Be considerate of other visitors
  • Respect other’s experience in nature.
  • Avoid being loud and let others hear the sounds of nature.
  • If listening to music, play through headphones, not speakers.
  • When other groups approach, step to the side of the trail and give them space.
  • When taking breaks or camping, keep to one area so other groups can enjoy the view too.
  • Do not build fires where it is marked “No Fires.”
  • Only emergency fires are permitted above 4,000 feet in the Adirondacks.
  • Extinguish your fire completely before leaving your campsite.
  • Where fires are permitted – use the established fire ring or mound.

Source: https://www.adirondackcouncil.org/page/leave-no-trace-tips-for-the-adirondack-park-244.html

The 46 High Peaks of the ADKs

  1. Cascade and Porter
    • 6.2 miles
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead on rt 73
  2. Big Slide
    • 8 miles (minimum)
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead at The Garden
    • Highly recommend going up via the Brothers
  3. Street and Nye
    • 9.1 miles
    • Trailless
    • Trailhead at the Adirondack Loj
  4. Whiteface and Esther
    • 9.5 miles
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead at ASRC
    • Recommend walking back on the road for the views, if hiking when the road is closed
    • ** This would be a good one to save for last, to have friends/family meet at the top by driving up the road**
  5. Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge
    • 10.4 miles (minimum)
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead at Roaring Brook Falls
    • Popular Alternate – do this range as a traverse, starting from Rt 9. Can also hike RPR alone as an out-and-back from this starting point to avoid the col between Giant and RPR.
  6. The MacIntyre Range: Algonquin, Iroquois, and Wright
    • 10.2 miles (minimum, if done as ‘out and back’)
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead at Adirondack Loj
    • Recommend doing as a loop, ascending Boundary peak from Lake Colden (would add ~3 more miles)
    • Recommend hiking Wright last so as not to ‘orphan’ Iroquois! Wright is much easier to come back and get by itself; to get Iroquois though, you have to go over Algonquin or Boundary peak first, depending on the route
    • Popular Alternate (and the way I hiked it) – make it a loop, going up to Boundary Peak from Lake Colden, summiting Iroquois first, then Algonquin, and Wright last.
  7. Colden
    • 12 miles (minimum, out and back)
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead at the Adirondack Loj
    • Recommend doing as a loop (would add ~2 more miles)
  8. Tabletop and Phelps
    • 12.3 miles
    • Trailless on Tabletop, marked elsewhere
    • Trailhead at the Adirondack Loj
    • Recommend climbing Tabletop first, then Phelps
  9. Nippletop and Dial
    • ~13 miles
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead at St Huberts
    • Recommend starting on Lake Rd, climbing Nippletop first, then Dial, and coming down Bear’s Den
  10. Colvin and Blake
    • 13.7 miles
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead at St Huberts
    • Recommend starting on Lake Rd, and climbing Indian Head and Fish Hawk Cliffs along the way (would add 1.6 more miles)
  11. Marshall
    • ~14 miles
    • Marked, then trailless up to Marshall
    • Trailhead at Upper Works or ADK Loj
    • Recommend descending via Cold Brook to see the plane wreck
  12. Skylight, Gray, and Marcy
    • 17 miles
    • Marked trails, trailless up Gray
    • Trailhead at either ADK Loj or Upper Works
    • Can split up Marcy from the other two
    • Popular Alternate – many folks start their 46 with Marcy alone starting from the Loj, and doing Skylight and Gray by themselves later on. Choice is yours!
  13. The Santanoni Range: Santanoni, Couchsachraga, and Panther
    • 17 miles
    • Trailless
    • Trailhead on Tahawus Rd, before Upper Works
    • Recommend climbing in winter.
    • Recommend absolutely not skipping Couch in favor of the other two – come back for Panther or Santa if you have to break it up, not Couch!
  14. Cliff and Redfield
    • 18.8 miles
    • Marked, then trailless up to each mountain
    • Trailhead at Upper Works
    • Recommend camping overnight at Uphill Leanto
  15. The Lower Great Range – Sawteeth, Gothics, Armstrong, Upper Wolfjaw, Lower Wolfjaw
    • 17 miles
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead at St Huberts
    • Can split it up – Sawteeth Gothics and Armstrong (with Pyramid) one day, Upper and Lower Wolfjaw another day
    • Popular Alternate – start from The Garden or the Rooster Comb lot. Whatever you do, don’t miss the steep climb up Pyramid as it purportedly has some of the best views in the ADKs despite not actually being a high peak!
  16. The Seward Range: Seward, Donaldson, Emmons, and Seymour
    • Over 21 miles, if done all together
    • Trailless
    • Trailhead at Corey’s Rd
    • Recommend splitting it up. Seward Donaldson and Emmons (15.9 miles) on one day, Seymour (14 miles) by itself on another day
  17. Dix Range: Macomb, South Dix, Grace, Hough, and Dix
    • ~16 miles, if done together
    • Trailless
    • Trailhead at Elk Lake Rd
    • If splitting it up, try to get Macomb, S Dix, Grace, and Hough, then come back for Dix.
  18. Allen
    • 20 miles
    • Trailless
    • Trailhead on Tahawus Road, on the right side before reaching the Upper Works
    • Can camp ~5 miles in to break it up
  19. Saddleback, Basin, and Haystack
    • 18.7 miles
    • Marked trails
    • Trailhead at The Garden
    • Can split it up by camping

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