Adirondack High Peaks
The Adirondack High Peaks is the name given to 46 mountain peaks in the Adirondack Mountains that were originally believed to comprise all of the Adirondack peaks higher than 4,000 feet (1,219 m). However, later surveying showed that four of the peaks in the group are actually under this elevation, and one additional peak that is close to this elevation had been overlooked. Due to tradition, no mountains were removed from or added to the group as a result of the revised elevation estimates.
All except three are located in central and northern Essex County, primarily south of Lake Placid and Keene Valley. The others are just to the west in Franklin County. All the summits are on land owned by New York State as part of its Forest Preserve. Forty-two are in a vast tract of nearly 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) known as the High Peaks Wilderness Area, subdivided into central (26 peaks) and outer (16 peaks) zones. Nine of the peaks in the outer zone are in an area formerly known as the Dix Mountain Wilderness Area that was added to the High Peaks Wilderness in 2018. Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge are in the adjacent Giant Mountain Wilderness Area. Whiteface Mountain, which has a downhill ski area and a toll road to its summit, and Esther Mountain are set slightly to the north, in Wilmington.
Atop the highest peaks, above the tree line, there is a total of 87 acres (35 ha) of extraordinarily fragile alpine ecosystem; the amount of this ecosystem is constantly changing due to variation in the climate from year to year. Since this ecosystem above the treeline is extraordinarily fragile, it is extremely important to protect it. This is because, due to its elevation, this ecosystem may not be able to recover from any sort of harm.
The region contains many alpine lakes and meadows, wetlands, streams, and forests. The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness area is the most regulated area. Fires are not permitted; dogs must be leashed; overnight groups are limited to eight people and day groups to 15; and bear-resistant food canisters are required from April through November.
Camping is prohibited above any elevation greater than 4,000 ft on any of the Adirondack High Peaks.
How to Reach the Summit of The High Peaks
Climbing neither Mount Marcy nor Algonquin Peak, the two highest of the High Peaks, requires technical skills, but Algonquin Peak is regarded as the more challenging climb. Twenty of the peaks have no official trail to the top, although rough informal routes, commonly referred to as "herd paths," have developed over the years. No true bushwhacking is required on any of the peaks, although some trails are still quite primitive.
There are many Mountain ranges within the High Peaks. The Dix Range includes five out of the forty-six High Peaks: Macomb, Grace Peak, South Dix, Hough, and Dix Mountain. The Great Range includes seven out of the forty-six High Peaks: Lower Wolfjaw, Upper Wolfjaw, Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, Basin, and Haystack. The Seward Range includes four out of the forty-six High Peaks: Seward, Donaldson, Emmons, and Seymour Mountain. The MacIntyre Range includes four out of the forty-six High Peaks: Mount Marshall, Wright, Algonquin and Iroquois. The Santanoni Range includes three out of the forty-six High Peaks: Santanoni Peak, Panther Peak, and Couchsachraga.
The High Peaks
|Mountain||Height (ft / m)||Prominence (ft)||Rank||Coordinates|
|Mount Marcy||5,344 / 1,629||4,914||1|
|Algonquin Peak||5,114 / 1,559||2,100||2|
|Mount Haystack||4,960 / 1,512||840||3|
|Mount Skylight||4,926 / 1,501||578||4|
|Whiteface Mountain||4,867 / 1,483||3,110||5|
|Dix Mountain||4,857 / 1,480||2,830||6|
|Gray Peak||4,840 / 1,475||102||7|
|Iroquois Peak||4,840 / 1,475||151||8|
|Basin Mountain||4,827 / 1,471||725||9|
|Gothics||4,736 / 1,444||699||10|
|Mount Colden||4,714 / 1,437||876||11|
|Giant Mountain||4,627 / 1,410||2,953||12|
|Nippletop||4,620 / 1,408||1,380||13|
|Santanoni Peak||4,607 / 1,404||2,430||14|
|Mount Redfield||4,606 / 1,404||242||15|
|Wright Peak||4,580 / 1,396||270||16|
|Saddleback Mountain||4,515 / 1,376||380||17|
|Panther Peak||4,442 / 1,354||275||18|
|Table Top Mountain||4,427 / 1,349||430||19|
|Rocky Peak Ridge||4,420 / 1,347||640||20|
|Macomb Mountain||4,405 / 1,343||584||21|
|Armstrong Mountain||4,400 / 1,341||98||22|
|Hough Peak||4,400 / 1,341||374||23|
|Seward Mountain||4,361 / 1,329||2,030||24|
|Mount Marshall||4,360 / 1,329||493||25|
|Allen Mountain||4,340 / 1,323||640||26|
|Big Slide Mountain||4,240 / 1,292||1,049||27|
|Esther Mountain||4,240 / 1,292||302||28|
|Upper Wolfjaw Mountain||4,185 / 1,276||280||29|
|Lower Wolfjaw Mountain||4,175 / 1,273||663||30|
|Street Mountain||4,166 / 1,270||1,280||31|
|Phelps Mountain||4,161 / 1,268||200||32|
|Donaldson Mountain||4,140 / 1,262||138||33|
|Seymour Mountain||4,120 / 1,256||1,020||34|
|Sawteeth||4,100 / 1,250||490||35|
|Cascade Mountain||4,098 / 1,249||1,180||36|
|South Dix||4,060 / 1,237||164||37|
|Porter Mountain||4,059 / 1,237||330||38|
|Mount Colvin||4,057 / 1,236||750||39|
|Mount Emmons||4,040 / 1,231||102||40|
|Dial Mountain||4,020 / 1,225||164||41|
|Grace Peak||4,012 / 1,223||319||42|
|Blake Peak||3,960 / 1,207||558||43|
|Cliff Mountain||3,960 / 1,207||466||44|
|Nye Mountain||3,895 / 1,187||130||45|
|Couchsachraga Peak||3,820 / 1,164||250||46|
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