Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Peaked Mountain: 07/17/2016

Peaked Mountain Pond, Sunday July 17, 2016.

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

They say that variety is the spice of life. In my opinion it’s also one of the keys to a successful family hike. My kids are all about the streams, waterfalls, woods, ponds, plants, wildlife, wetlands, cliffs, caves, cabins and fire towers along the way that make the hike interesting. For them, getting to the top of some mountain just for a view is “boring.” Well, you can’t beat the hike to Peaked Mountain Pond and up Peaked Mountain for variety, so off we set this past weekend.

The trail first follows the shore of Thirteenth Lake for roughly three quarters of a mile, where we were treated to views up and down the 2-mile lake from rocky outcrops. A pair of loons swam and dove just off shore and the kids hunted down the first ripe blueberries of the season. I’ve paddled this portion of the hike previously, walking it this time was just as enjoyable.

Looking down Thirteenth Lake from near the trailhead

Trail along the lake


View north along Thirteenth Lake's shoreline

Loon 1

Loon 2

Kayakers on Thirteenth Lake

Before long we turned away from the lake, following Peaked Mountain Brook. The white pines and paper birches of the lakeshore quickly transitioned to maples, hemlocks and huge yellow birches. The stream must be a torrent in the spring, but even in mud-summer there was enough flow for us to enjoy its cascades and small waterfalls.

Peaked Mountain Brook

Peaked Mountain from the beaver meadows

As the trail ascends to Peaked Mountain Pond, it passes a series of beaver meadows which offer a first view of Peaked Mountain’s rocky summit. It would seem to be a perfect setting for a moose, but we saw none on our hike. As a sidenote, my sole Adirondack moose sighting was just a few miles away on Barton Mines Road nearly 25 years ago. Moose are certainly more numerous now, so I figure I’m due for another.

The kids at the pond

Peaked Mountain Pond shoreline

View from the canoe

It took us somewhere between an hour and a half and two hours to reach Peaked Mountain Pond. It’s a beautiful setting, with Peaked Mountain rising dramatically from the northeastern shore. We found a battered old aluminum canoe stashed along the shoreline that I paddled out onto the pond. It leaked a bit but was surprisingly seaworthy. I’d like to know who carried that thing 2.7 miles from the trailhead.

I knew the kids had little interest in scrambling the remaining three quarters of a mile to the summit, but I jumped at the chance when Beth suggested I run up to tag the peak and snap some photos while she and the kids got a head start back down the trail. It’s a short but steep climb to the top with views back down to the pond from several outlooks on the way up. At the summit, a series of ledges provide views in all directions, including an outstanding panorama of the High Peaks 30 miles to the north. The summit’s only 2900 feet but the views rival mountains a thousand feet higher.

Panorama from Peaked Mountain

High Peaks view

Marcy, Haystack and Gothics

By the time I caught back up with Beth and the kids they had almost made it back down to Thirteenth Lake. I love hiking with my family, but it’s great to log at least a few solo miles too.

If you go: Follow Thirteenth Lake Road approximately 3.4 miles from Route 28 in North River to a right onto Beach Road (unpaved). It’s less than a mile to the trailhead and parking area. The trail to Peaked Mountain Pond is 2.7 miles (one-way). Peaked Mountain is .7 miles beyond the pond, with approximately 700 vertical feet of climbing.


  1. IMO this is one of the great hikes in the So Adk. Easy, fun and as you say, lots of variety. Nice photos and report. :)

    1. Thanks Harv. Surprisingly we saw no other hikers once we left 13th Lake.

  2. Man, This is one awesome report. My only hiking has been relegated to walking around London town. Up in VT this weekend and hoping to get a hike in around Mount Mansfield.

    1. Thanks Ray! Mansfield's not too bad, good views back at the Adirondacks :)

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  4. That is a great hike. Great report too.
    (BTW Bunch Berry not Canada Mayflower) ;-)

    1. Yeah, you're right Keith. Definitely bunchberry. Changed my caption, thanks for the heads up!