Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mt. Van Hoevenberg: 10/05/2014

View of Marcy, Colden and Algonquin from Mount Van Hoevenberg, Sunday October 5, 2014.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

Years ago, when I was young and single, I was all about the High Peaks. When I finished my first round of the 46, I re-hiked many of my favorites, often via slides or bushwhack routes. If a hike was less than 10 miles and 2,000 vertical feet, I didn’t have much interest. I still love the High Peaks (and in fact am currently suffering from High Peaks Deficiency Syndrome), but hiking with my family in recent years has allowed me to discover some of the gems I missed. Like Mount Van Hoevenberg.

Lake Placid may seem like a long way to drive from Saratoga for a half day hike, but we really wanted to get back up there before foliage season was done. Even though the Lake Placid area is past peak (some trees are already bare), there was still lots of color.

There's still plenty of reds...

...and yellows

The trailhead is on South Meadow Road, just a couple miles from Adirondack Loj and Heart Lake. On a beautiful day like Sunday, I suspect the lot at Adirondack Loj may have been full, yet there was plenty of easy parking right at the Mount Van Hoevenberg trailhead.

Flat approach trail for the first mile

View of Mt Van Hoevenberg's summit from the beaver flow

Algonquin through the trees from Mount Van Hoevenberg's lower slopes

At 4.4 miles round trip and an 850’ vertical ascent, Mount Van Hoevenberg is an easy climb for our family. The first mile is pool table flat. At the one mile mark the trail skirts a large beaver flow and then climbs steadily - but never steeply - the rest of the way to the summit. From the lower slopes, views of Algonquin and other peaks are visible through the trees - one of the advantages to hiking in the fall. The summit ledges are absolutely spectacular, with a broad panorama of the highest peaks of the Adirondacks. The view stretches from the Great Range in the east through Marcy, Colden and Algonquin. Mount Jo lies nearby, dwarfed by the larger peaks that form its backdrop. Although we had passed a half dozen other hiking parties on the way up, we had the summit ledges to ourselves.

Summit panorama, Mount Van Hoevenberg (click for larger version)

South Meadow, with Marcy and Colden as a backdrop

A mix of fall color and bare trees on Mt Van Hoevenberg's shoulder

Mount Van Hoevenberg is sometimes described as a less crowded version of neighboring Mount Jo, but the two small peaks share more than just a similar view. Mount Van Hoevenberg is named for Henry Van Hoevenberg, who built Adirondack Loj as well as trails to Marcy, Algonquin and other peaks in the late 1800s. Henry was engaged to Josephine Schofield, and he renamed Mount Bear to Mount Jo in her honor. Tragically, Josephine died before the two were married. You can read the full story of Henry and Josephine here.

Sylvie skipping her way down the trail

It’s amazing how quickly the fall foliage season comes and goes. By next weekend, I suspect most of the trees in the Lake Placid area will be bare although parts of the southern Adirondacks should still show plenty of color. With a little luck we may still get in another hike or two before we transition to ski season and winter.


  1. Beautiful pictures, certainly brightens the day sitting in my car on a gloomy street in downtown Manhattan.

  2. I agree, the pics are really nice. Jeff can you subscribe to SS by email?

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I'm pretty sure Blogger has an option for email subscriptions - I'll try to add that this evening.

  3. Thanks and done. Although I see you posted tonight and I didn't get it. Maybe I just missed on the timing.

  4. I enrolled as well, though I didn't activate the confirmation email until this morning. I don't know exactly how the timing of the feedburner email works, whether it's once per day at a specified time or it's immediately following a post. As long as you activated your confirmation email, you should be good to go. Let's see what happens next time I post, if we don't get the email shortly thereafter, something ain't workin'.