Snowy Mountain is the tallest mountain in the southern Adirondacks, the highest peak in Hamilton County, and the trail to its top, especially the final climb, is very steep and demanding. From its top, especially from the fire tower, you will enjoy outstanding views of Indian Lake, the distant High Peaks.
Snowy is the big boy west of NY 30 and south of the Town of Indian Lake. Some people confuse it with the much smaller Chimney Mountain because its top does resemble a chubby chimney. It is short of being a 4,000 foot peak by just 101 feet (3,899). If you climb it, you will think it is a High Peak and then some. You will be gaining about 2,106 feet from the trail-head and that doesn't include all the ups and downs along the way, and covering almost 4 miles one way, meaning you will be doing more climbing than you would on some of the High Peaks. The views from the summit are worth the effort. And now that the fire tower has been fixed and reopened, the views are even more impressive. But not if you are in the clouds.
Access to the trailhead is off the west side of NY 30, 6.5 miles south of Indian Lake village and 4.7 miles north of Lewey Lake Outlet. The parking area is obvious on the east side of the road and is opposite of the trailhead. The trail is marked with red DEC trail markers and heads west up Beaver Brook Valley. Several times Beaver Brook is crossed and sounds from the highway are gradually left behind. Silence can be one of the main attractions when hiking in the Adirondacks. The world seems to slow down and it is even possible to imagine it going backward to a time before our so-called civilization. You can hear your heart beat and your lungs fill with air while you exert yourself ever onward and up.
The stream and several of its tributaries are crossed repeatedly. Steady climbing begins and you might begin to wonder, "Are we there yet?" No! As the trail steepens, you will see the signs of erosion caused by tens of thousands of boots going to where you are going. When you notice the trees seem to be getting smaller and you start being able to see through breaks to Indian Lake below and to the east, you will know you are getting close and that the steepest climbing will soon take you to the summit.
What a relief! You climb your last step and take in the view. Your lungs catch up to you and your heartbeat begins to slow down. Besides the views, there is much to see before going back down. There is a closed fire observer’s cabin. It is near a cliff that looks out to Indian Lake and beyond to the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. Don't venture too far out on the rock slab that becomes the cliff. It's a very long way down and we don't want the Rangers to have to go looking for what remains of you. This is not an idle warning. It has happened.
There is also a spring near where the trail continues to the fire tower. The actual summit is about 500 feet to the SW and up a slight grade. With the fire tower now open, you can climb up it for 360-degree views. Also, you should find a short trail to the west that will take you to a cliff that looks down on Squaw Valley and out to Squaw and Panther Mountains. Mt. Morris, near Tupper Lake, can be seen beyond Panther Mountain and the mountain with the fire tower to the west is Wakely Mountain. Enjoy! You deserve it. You know you do. Take time to look around. Take photos and have your lunch before heading back down.
A word of caution! And this applies to all of the mountains. Don't get careless on the way down. Your legs will be tired from the hike up. Going down can be very jarring upon them. You will be thinking the hardest part is over and this might cause you to become a little careless. More ankles are sprained and legs broken on the way down than they are on the way up. So watch your step and don't hurry.
Excerpted from "Adirondack Hikes in Hamilton County: Second Edition" by Peter Klein. Copyright © 0 by Peter Klein. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.