I do get a lot of emails from people who are coming to or new to the Adirondacks and are unfamiliar with them asking for a suggestion on which mountain to climb,
Whether you are beginner, intermediate or expert I will suggest
Giant from the Ridge trail
Giant from Snow Mt.
If you personally don't have a lot of experience or taking people who don't have a lot of experience climbing and/or who you are unsure of the shape they are in, Giant from the ridge trail is the mountain for you.
The simple reason is most other mountains you have to get to the top for the views and/or travel really far but with Giant this way you get the 1st big view at only 0.6 miles and there are many more awesome views/open spots before you reach the summit at 3.0 miles. So if they are unable or unwilling to make the top you will still have a good time. Most other mountains if you donít make it to the summit you just see a bunch of woods which blows and it ends up being a wasted trip but with Giant even if you just make Washbowl the trip still ends up worthwhile.
For intermediate or experts Giant from the ridge trail should be more than challenging enough for you and if you end up being really good and you get to the top really fast and you have the energy you can always go on to Rocky Peak Ridge.
Here's an email I recieved and responded to with more info.
Email: Received 9/27/99
I plan on hiking the Adirondacks during a camping trip next summer. This hike will be my first hike in the Adirondacks, and basically it will be my first "big-time" hiking experience. I have been looking forward to hiking the Adirondacks for some time. I own the ADK hiking books. I have searched the Internet to find sites that help with answering my questions. Your site is the best I have found! I plan on hiking Mt. Jo first to get comfortable hiking, so to speak. I guess I just need a little advice on: 1) What is the best mountain (good views for a beginning hiker) to hike for the first time?
Thank you very much for your time!!!!!
PS--I am 18 years old and I am in good, but not spectacular condition. I play sports so I have pretty good endurance, but I am no marathon runner. Any advice you could give would be more than I have right now! Thanks again!!!!
You are probably going to think I am Crazy but....
My pick for you would be Giant Mt. from the Ridge (Chapel Pond) trail.
Driving on 73. East as you pass Chapel Pond, the trailhead is a few hundred yards on the left. Going West just as you see a huge rock face on the Left Side. The trail is a few hundred yards on the right.
You are probably wondering why I picked a seemingly hard one. Here are 3 reasons I picked this for you.
1) The Ridge trail up Giant is open and has great views the whole way up. The first big view is only .6 miles in (up). It is easier to get to the 1st view on Giant then it is to get to the top of Mt. Jo and the view is just as good. Because of it's openness you don't have to get to the top to have a great trip. So if at any time during this hike you feel like you can't go any further and choose to turn around, you will still have a great trip.
2) Giant from the ridge trail is not that hard. You say you are in good shape, so you should be able to make it. I have brought people in so-so shape to the top. The trail is mostly smooth & easy to walk and it is very easy to follow. There isn't any cliffs or any other Dangerous Spots that you have to get around. The Trail is well treaded and obvious so it is pretty much impossible to get lost.
3) Giant is a popular and crowded Mountain. Too Crowded for most. However for someone like you who hasn't hiked much, just knowing there is a bunch a people around should make you feel safer. (Though some what exciting, when I hike a mountain that I am the only one on, I still get somewhat nervous). Plus most hikers are generally very friendly, so if you have any questions while you are on the trail, most will be very happy to help you.
Notes on Giant and Camping in that Area
** I would recommend not camping on Giant, but certain areas around the base and climbing During the Day.
There are some camping spots by Chapel pond. If you are Coming West on Rt. 73 just as you pass Chapel Pond (There is a sign and small parking area off the road and it is the only lake in that area), you will pass a small rock face on your left. At the end of the Rock face there is a little driveway. (There is no obvious landmarks if you are coming East so goto the Chapel Pond parking lot and turn around) Turn Left into the driveway and park in the open area straight ahead. (Don't take the road to the Left). There are camping spots all around, you might have to search around for them, but they are not to hard to find.
If you want to climb a little. The best place to Camp on Giant is near Washbowl (Washbowl is the name of a pond) . It is .7 miles in, a little strenuous with a pack to get to, but nothing to hard.
** Make sure you have plenty of Water, carry at least 2 liters per person. In Spring and in early summer after .5 miles there is none, late summer there is none at all.
** If you hit any snow or if it gets foggy turn around. The Snow seems to melt off Giant sooner then other mountains so it shouldn't be a problem if you come in the summer.
** Don't be intimidated by that high rock face you will see at the trailhead, you will not be going that way.
** If you are still not sure about Giant. I would suggest doing Baxter Mt. It's about the Same Difficultly as Mt. Jo. I would say Baxter has better views than Mt. Jo.
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