The trail to high peaks Wright, Algonquin, Iroquois, and Marshall is steep, rocky and most of all rewarding. 3 out of these 4 high peaks offer full 360° views with all 4 offering up spectacular views of the valleys below and miles out. These mountains over look the towns you go through to arrive at their trail heads. It’s great to see the forest among the trees when you get to the top of these beautiful Adirondack mountains.
The Trail head:
The trail head you’ll want to reach to do this hike is called The Adirondack Loj OR South Meadows trail head. This is located just south of Lake Placid off State Highway 73. Use this address for easy GPS navigation.
The Loj parking lot fills up fast especially on holiday weekends so your best bet is to get there early or you may have to park at the South Meadows lot which is about 1 mile north on Adirondack Loj Rd. To park at the main trail head will cost you $10/ day (as of Aug. 2018), but parking at South meadows is free. If you don’t mind walking a little bit then this may be a good cost savings as parking on multi-day trips can add up quickly.
Once you have made it to the main lot continue on the main road south past the Adirondack information center. You will come to the Algonquin trail start and walk past heart lake. This is a calm lake with great campsites ($$) surrounding it. Continue south about 1 mile which will then start the steep climb. This trail is very well marked and traveled so navigation should not be a problem. There are a couple nice waterfalls along the way and if going on a multi-day adventure water is quite abundant.
Wright Peak is number 16 on the High Peaks list coming in at 4,580 ft. It boasts a completely exposed summit and has an excellent view north to Lake Placid and Heart Lake. Caution!! Do NOT take Wright ski trail expecting to reach the summit. There is signage warning of this, but be sure to stay south on the Algonquin trail.
At approximately 3.3 miles you will come to a trail junction. The Wright Trail proceeds east up a very steep incline. If carrying a full pack it may be a good idea to drop your pack just off trail and proceed with less weight. You will descend on the same route and can pick it up on the way down. The path up is very steep and slippery when wet or raining. You’ll soon be above tree line, but keep going you don’t reach the top for another 0.2 mi. Follow the yellow blazes and be conscious of the fragile vegetation that exists on the top of this beautiful peak.
Once done enjoying the views atop Wright proceed back down the Wright Trail back to Algonquin trail. Head south again and continue the steep climb to Algonquin. Again mind the yellow blazes painted on the rock once you get above the tree line. In about 1 mi. You will reach the large balding summit. Algonquin is second on the high peaks list totaling 5,114 ft. second to only Mt. Marcy at 5,343 ft.
Algonquin offers full 360° views, but it’s best views are probably east to the valley below that contains two lakes. Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake. After your Algonquin summit proceed down the backside of the peak following the cairns and blazes to a junction sign. Proceed right to go onto Iroquois Peak.
The trail to Iroquois Peak is narrow and wet with boards along the path as to not become completely submerged in the boggy mud. You will need to climb a false summit which is actually Boundary Peak. Although this is not a high peak it still offers a nice view from the base up Iroquois Peak. After heading about 1 mi. south you will have reached the summit to Iroquois. It is #8 on the High Peaks list chiming in at 4,840 ft in elevation.
Retreat back down Iroquois Trail, over Boundary peak returning to the trail junction sign on Algonquin. Meet back up with the Algonquin Trail to begin your descent into the Lake Colden area.
Algonquin Trail Descent
The descent from Algonquin trail into the Lake Colden area is approximately 1.6 miles of steep, rocky, and slippery mountain terrain. Be sure to take this area cautiously and ensure your footing as to prevent slipping and falling. After following the stream all the way down You have two choices to get on to the summit of Mount Marshall.
To get to the summit of Mount Marshall you have your choice of two trails. You can either take the Cold Brook Pass trail to an approach trail to the North of Marshall, or you can proceed approximately 1 mile south to Herbert Brook Trail. Each trail has their own difficulties, but be aware that the Cold Brook Pass is no longer managed by the NYSDEC. There will be blown down trees and slightly degraded trail conditions. This trail will most likely continue to be travelled due to the airplane crash site that is still located on the mountain side off a short side trail which is an attraction that some hikers wish to see.
Each of these trails follow a water source and in fact crosses them several times so be careful and take your time. Be sure to pay attention to the cairns on the Herbert Brook Trail that navigate most of the stream crossings.
After getting down from Mount Marshall you can return a variety of ways, but the the most beautiful one is by way of Lake Colden Trail and Avalanche Pass Trail. These trails will pass by the two lakes that you saw on the summits of Algonquin and Iroquois. This trail passes directly by the west side of the both Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake. Take in the views and enjoy the ladders section that passes by Avalanche lake and looks up at Mount Colden.
After heading north on the Avalanche pass trail for 3.2 miles you will reach the Marcy Dam Camping area. You can switch to the Van Hoevenberg Trail and follow it for approximately 2.5 miles to return to the Adirondack Loj. All together this hike is around 19 miles round trip and can be done in around 13-15 hours.
These 4 mountains can easily be turned into a multi-day/weekend trip which may make it more enjoyable. If you have hiked this before be sure to leave your comments and tips below to help others planning their trip. Actual trip date was 8/19/2018