Nippletop and Dial via Elk Pass
ElevationAscent: 3,504' 1,068 m
Descent: -3,501' -1,067 m
High: 4,574' 1,394 m
Low: 1,300' 396 m
GradeAvg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 39% (21°)
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“Classic high peaks epic.”— Tristan Smith
- The Noonmark Diner is a long time favorite of locals and visitors alike. Located just down the road the Village of Keene Valley, they are particularly recognized for their homemade pastry.
Follow Lake Rd. for just over two miles until it intersects with the Gill Brook Trail to the left. Following the Gill Brook Trail, you'll begin a gradual descent out of the Ausable Valley; be mindful on the Gill Brook Trail as signage can be poor at times until you pass into State Land. For those completing this as a multi-day trip there are several Designated Campsites along the Gill Brook Trail, with the last of them being at Elk Pass approximately 2.5 miles in. Elk Pass, while offering scenic views over the pond, can often be very wet, so it is recommended to stay at one of the earlier sites unless the run is being completed during the winter months when the area is frozen.
Shortly after Elk Pass, turn right onto Leach Trail which will head sharply upward during a quick ascent of Nippletop before delivering you to the peak where you are rewarded with a panorama of the Great Range's East Face. Continuing on from Nippletop, backtrack on Leach Trail as you enjoy a two-mile ridge run through pine growth and exposed rock until another steep, but rapid, ascent to the peak of Dial Mountain.
From Dial, on a clear day, you can catch views up Keene Valley. After descending the peak of Dial, you'll complete just over two miles of rolling ridge descent until crossing a small cobble south of Noonmark Mountain and beginning a rapid one-mile descent back to Lake Rd. You'll follow the road back to the parking area.
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Land Manager: NY DEC - Region 5 Office