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The 46 Adirondack High Peaks
High Peaks Wilderness
Algonquin Peak is in the MacIntyre Range in the town of North Hudson, in Essex County, New York. It is the second highest mountain in New York at 5115 feet, and one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks in Adirondack Park. Its name comes from its reputedly being on the Algonquin side of a nearby informal boundary between the Algonquin and their Iroquois neighbors.
Algonquin is popular with hikers, who almost always start at the popular Adirondak Loj trailhead near Heart Lake outside of Lake Placid for a day trip that, while shorter than that to nearby Mount Marcy, is steeper, requiring almost as much vertical ascent in a considerably shorter distance. Ambitious ones, particularly those aspiring to join the Adirondack 46ers, add Wright Peak to the itinerary as a side trip and sometimes even continue on to Iroquois Peak, both also High Peaks (over 4,000 ft) in their own right. It is a 7.2 mile round trip just to Algonquin Peak. This is a strenuous hike.
The usual route for this adventure is to follow the blue-blazed Van Hoevenberg Trail 0.9 miles to its junction with the yellow-blazed MacIntyre Range Trail and follow that the remaining 2.7 miles to the summit, during which the route gets progressively steeper and rockier. The elevation gain for just hiking to Algonquin is 2900+ feet.
Even those who just hike Algonquin find the experience rewarding. The mountain's summit is an alpine zone above tree line, and thus stunning views are available in all directions. However, the large numbers of hikers on the summit have in the past caused damage to the fragile plant life that calls this area home, and strict regulations have been put in place both at the trailhead and on the summit (all hikers must sign in; no dogs are allowed without a leash) to protect it. On busy days a Summit Steward both reminds hikers of these rules and educates them about the ecosystem.
Hikers traveling to Wright Peak will find pieces of wreckage of a B47 bomber that crashed on the peak on January 16, 1962. All four crew members on board were killed and a speciall plaque with their names grace the summit.
For more information on the Adirondack 46ers, get the book Exploring the 46 Adirondack High Peaks and for more info on hiking in the High Peaks Wilderness get the book Adirondack Trails High Peaks Region.
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