Mount Colvin, Blake Peak, and Sawteeth

It’s rare enough to enjoy long, difficult, multi-peak hikes; it’s rarer still to hike one with a friend and mentor. To then hike seldom-used trails in the Adirondacks with beautiful weather made it a near perfect day.

While the connector between the Colvin Range and the Great Range is a blazed and DEC-maintained trail, few outside of the dedicated Adirondack hikers ever visit it. It would be my first time on the two trails – the Carry Trail and the Warden’s Camp trail.

Our day started early — or perhaps late the night before — at 3AM from the Ausable Club. Needless to say we saw no other hikers on our way down Lake Road and up to Mount Colvin, which we summited before sunrise. It was my first time on Mt. Colvin (and later Blake Peak) in the summer, having only ever climbed the pair in snow and ice of early May.

Pre-sunrise view of Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge from Mount Colvin, Adirondack Park, New York.
Pre-sunrise view of Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge from Mount Colvin, Adirondack Park, New York.

The trip down Mt. Colvin and up to Blake Peak looks impressively steep both ways, but it didn’t seem so bad in the early morning. The down-and-up passed quickly and we enjoyed the (very) brief views from atop Blake Peak.

From Blake Peak we descended the Carry Trail, which is so steep at the bottom it has a sign calling it the ‘Elevator Shaft’. Despite the steepness, it wasn’t as eroded as similar trails elsewhere in the Adirondacks, so it was nicer than expected and we made short work of the 1.1 miles down.

Crossing over to the other side of the Ausable Lakes, we followed a road to the Warden’s Camp and turned up towards Sawteeth. This trail, while continuously steep, sees so little traffic that last year’s autumn leaves were still covering much of the trail. No rocks, no roots, just a constant sloped trail leading straight up to a ridge towards the summit. It was every bit as scenic as the official Scenic Trail (which Kathy & I hiked this summer) with views behind us of the Pinnacle Ridge and the upper Great Range.

The lush Warden's Camp trail to Sawteeth, Adirondack Park, New York.
The lush Warden’s Camp trail to Sawteeth, Adirondack Park, New York.

The Warden’s Camp trail intersects the Scenic Trail near the summit, which we enjoyed for a few minutes to ourselves before meeting a father and 11-year-old son who was finishing his 11th peak.

While we had originally planned to continue up to Gothics and complete the entire lower Great Range, a nagging injury foiled our plans. It didn’t matter; it ended up being a great way to spend the morning, and at 18 miles with 5,600 vertical feet of gain, still a respectable hike. Best of all, I got to explore more breathtaking wilderness on a perfect day with a friend and mentor.