TRIP REPORT: Noonmark Mountain – Adirondacks, NY 9-24-16
Hiking stats at a glance:
Trailhead: St Huberts
Miles Round Trip: 4.6 miles (including Ausable Club Road)
Elevation Gain: ~2,300 ft
Hike Highlights: Noonmark Mountain (3,556 ft)
On this particular trip to the Adirondacks, we had a couple of hikers new to the area with us so we decided to pick a hike that would offer great views but without too much difficulty. We ultimately picked Noonmark Mountain which fit the bill perfectly. With only 4.6 miles round trip and 360 degree views from the summit it was the perfect choice. Knowing that crowds have been an issue at the trailheads lately we made sure to arrive at the St Huberts lot as early as possible. We arrived at the St Huberts parking lot at about 7:30 am and were lucky enough to get one of the last spots left. We packed a couple of light bags and hit the trail just before 8am.
The hike actually starts by following the Ausable Club Road before reaching the intersection of Noonmark Trail Road.
Once you make a left at Noonmark Trail Road you will see the trailhead register right on the road near the corner. This trailhead is mostly used for hiking Noonmark but you can also reach the summit of Dix Mountain from here as well. Although this route to Dix is not very popular and also a bit longer.
Once I signed us into the register we continue down the road for a little ways passing some private homes along the way before eventually reaching the junction leading up into the woods. You want to keep walking down the road until you reach the junction which will be on your right side just before reaching a large red home at the end of the street.
From here the trail was fairly well worn and only had a gentle grade as it climbed upwards on the steep hill along a dry brook (at least on this particular day it looked bone dry from up above). There weren’t many rocks on the trail and we were able to keep a nice steady pace as we worked our way upwards.
From here it wasn’t too long before we reached the next trail junction. From here we hung a right and continued on our way towards the summit of Noonmark. From this junction it is only another 1.5 miles up to the summit.
However, despite the mileage not being very much there is still 2,300 feet of elevation gain on the hike which means it is a fairly steep hike overall. After passing the second junction the grade steps up quite a bit and doesn’t really let up all the way to the top.
The trail continued up the fairly steep trail for a while before we started reaching the large cliffs and outcrops that dominate the upper slope of the mountain below the summit. From here the trail weaved its way up down and around various outcrops as we made the final approach towards the summit.
Once we got past the first set of outcrops the trail began to open up on top of the rocky ridge. From here we started to get our first views of the valley around us. From here to the summit it seemed like every few steps brought us to better and better views.
From here the trail passed in and out of the woods passing increasingly better views and taking you over steeper and more challenging rock slabs. None of the scrambling on the hike is terribly hard or scary but it does add some fun and interest to the hike.
Before too long we could see the summit off in the distance from one of the larger outcrops on the ridge. From here we also had our first views of the Great Range off in the distance.
From here the trail winds its way along the ridge and behind the steepest sections of rock you can see from the previous outcrop. These sections are the steepest parts of scrambling on the trail but also the most interesting.
If it wasn’t for all the time we took stopping to take photos we would have reached the summit in no time at all. The most time consuming part of this hike is just taking in all of the amazing views!
Once we were on the summit we dropped our packs and decided to hang out for a while taking it all in. It was pretty chilly but we packed accordingly so it was no problem hanging out for a while. There were some clouds in the sky but luckily it didn’t rain and we were still able to see in every direction without any problem. We were even lucky enough to have the summit mostly to ourselves for a while before more people started to trickle onto the summit.
After spending a good amount of time on the summit we worked our way back down the way we had come. The hike down took no time at all and we were back to the parking lot without incident early in the afternoon. Noonmark was a great little hike and just goes to show you that you don’t always need to hike one of the 46 High Peaks to have a great day in the Adirondacks! After we arrived back at the parking lot, since we were already parked we decided to walk across the road and check out Roaring Brook while we were here. It wasn’t flowing very much on this particular day but its always a great stop if you are in the area.