A Guide to Hiking in the Adirondacks

High Peaks

The summit of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondack Mountains.
The summit of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondack Mountains.
Blue Line Pictures/Digital Vision/Getty Images

There are 46 Adirondack High Peaks, the name for the particular region of the highest, most treacherous summits that provide the most challenging hiking experiences available in the otherwise easy-to-moderate Adirondack hiking scene.

These are not family hikes, nor are they solo hikes. These are hikes for a seasoned hiking pro. They tend to be more than 10 miles (16.1 kilomters) and might take the typical hiker at least a full day to complete. But who has the stamina to hike uphill for 12 hours a day? That means that you're going to want to bring camping gear with you, as well as a hiking companion to keep things safe. (And make sure to bring lots of water, and to tell someone back home or at headquarters the exact peak you were attempting, so if anything happens, someone can locate you.)

Ranked on a scale of 1 to 7, in which 1 is the easiest and 7 is the most difficult, 35 of the 46 peaks rank at least a 5. That's because the ascent of the climb for most of these peaks is at least half of the total elevation, meaning you've got a steep climb almost the whole way up.

A few of the truly killer peaks have a ranking of 7. Mt. Haystack is 4,960 feet (1,511.8 meters) high with a 17.8-mile (28.6-kilometer), 12-hour hike. Mt. Redfield is 4,606 feet (1,403.9 meters) high for a 17.5-mile (28.2-kilometer), 14-hour hike. The toughest is probably Mt. Emmons, 4,040 feet (1,231.4 meters) high for an 18-mile (29-kilometer), 18-hour hike.