Little mountain, fun climb. That about sums up a trip to the top of Noonmark.
At 3,556′ Noonmark is not technically one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks. However, it’s one of the most popular hikes in the region because of its accessibility, short distance to the summit, and incredible views of Keene Valley, Dix Mountain and the Great Range.
View Noonmark in a larger map
It’s also just a hop, skip and a jump over to the Noonmark Diner for a pre- or post-hike meal. If you ask me, that’s the real reason it’s such a popular hike.
Needless to say, it was about time we checked it out for ourselves. So on Saturday morning, under an unbelievable Adirondack blue sky, we set out for the top of Noonmark.
The parking area for the trailhead is located just off of Ausable Road on Route 73 in St. Huberts, right across the road from the well-marked parking area for Giant Mountain and Roaring Brook Falls. The trail itself is about a half mile up Ausable Road on a private way near the very exclusive and mysterious members-only Ausable Club.
Country clubs intimidate me, I can’t help it. Thankfully, the start of the trail is nowhere near the clubhouse. I would have turned around and found another mountain to hike.
Soon enough we were making our way over the 2.1 miles to the summit via the Stimson trail. As with most short hikes to the top of any mountain, the hiking was steep and sustained at times. But there were several ledges along the way that provided nice resting – and photo – opportunities.
The first stop provided a great view of the Ausable Club and Keene/Keene Valley down below.
And then views of the Great Range started to open up.
The steep terrain in aided by ladders in a couple of sections. But there are still some fun rock scrambles along the way.
A few lingering sections of snow and ice posed a small challenge, but nothing that wasn’t navigable with liberal use of hands and hiking poles.
We arrived at the summit just before 1:00. Had we planned better, we would have timed it to be on the summit at noon. Unfortunately, that (very clever and original) idea didn’t occur to me until 12:15 when were still half an hour from the top. Oh well, maybe next time.
From the summit, Dix Mountain dominates the view to the southwest. While the Great Range lingers in the northwest, Giant Mountain and Rocky Ridge loom in the northeast, and the valley goes on for miles below. It’s truly a fantastic view.
It was a gorgeous day – clear, no wind, mid-60s – so we took our sweet time on the summit. I think Dave even fell asleep for a few minutes. It was only the thought of beer and a Yankee game that motivated us to start the hike down.
Instead of descend the way we came up, we took the slightly longer Felix Adler trail that skirts the southeast side of the mountain. The trail was in great condition for early spring with only a couple of muddy sections near a pretty little vlei.
After a quick mile we came to a junction for Round Pond/Rt. 73, as well as the Boquet River Lean-to/Dix Mt./Elk Lake. We continued on to St. Huberts, soon passing the turn-off for Round Mountain (which is only a mile away, if you’re in the mood to bag two non-high peaks). Before we knew it, the last 3.3 miles were behind us and we were back at our car.
And instead of driving 4.5 hours back to Boston like we would have done a year ago, we drove 10 minutes back to our house, cracked open a beer, and settled in for a Yankee win.
Yes, it was a very good day.
Where: The Adirondack Park, near St. Huberts in the High Peaks
Directions from Lake Placid: Take Rt. 73 south. The trailhead is a ways past the center of Keene Valley off of Ausable Road across from the Giant Mtn/Roaring Brook Falls parking area.
Difficulty: A moderate half-day or day hike. 5.4 miles as a loop via the Stimson and Felix Adler trails, or only 4.2 up and back via just the Stimson trail
Summary: Noonmark Mountain is an accessible Adirondack day hike that offers a nice climb to an enjoyable summit with spectacular High Peaks views. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can combine this hike with Round Mountain, only adding 2 miles to the trip. Noonmark is a very popular hike, so be prepared for crowds during peak times and particularly nice early- or late-season days.
- Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra Trail Runners – Dave’s favorite trail running shoe (they work fine in light snow/ice)
- La Sportiva Women’s Sandstone GTX Shoe – Jess’ favorite hiking boots
- Osprey React Daypack – A near perfect casual daypack
- REI Peak UL Women’s Trekking Poles – Jess’ hiking poles
- Leki Hiking Poles – Dave uses a pair of Leki’s similar to these
- Adirondack High Peaks Trail Guide – Amazon.com
- Trails Illustrated, High Peaks Trail Map – Amazon.com
Click on Thumbnail to View Larger Image