Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sawteeth Mountain (ADK 16/46), New York, August 8, 2017

Sawteeth Mountain (4,150') via Weld and Sawteeth Trails, 8/8/2017.

Mileage:  12.3 (RT)

Elevation gain:

Trailhead: This hike starts at the St. Hubert parking area on Route 73 in St. Huberts, NY.  The parking lot is located 7.5 miles west of exit 30 off I-87; and 3.3 miles east of the Noonmark Diner (in Keene Valley).  Parking is on the corner of Ausable Road directly across from Roaring Brook trailhead parking. The lot fills up quickly and parking is not allowed along Ausable Road or at the Ausable Club.  It's a half-mile walk up a small hill to reach Lake Road (and the AMR gate). Walk up Ausable Road and turn left between two tennis courts - the gate is directly ahead.  No dogs or bicycles are allowed.  

Hiked with Jill, Ken and Ed today.  We rented a house in Keene for the week and today the owner allowed us to park at his cottage on Ausable Road, which shortened our hike by a quarter mile (and about 100' of elevation gain).  

Rain was predicted so we opted to hike to the summit of Sawteeth, a moderate to steep wooded hike.  At 3.3 miles up Lake Road we reached a sign pointing to the trailhead. This took us down to the dam and across the bridge.

Roadside sign.

Maintenance road (there's a shed at the bottom).

We'll check out Rainbow Falls on our way out.
Crossed the bridge.

There is so much signage here! Just follow the signs to Sawteeth (we opted out of the Scenic trail today because of the forecast).

We went right.

Taking the Weld trail.

Reports describe the path up to the col/trail junction as moderate. While the footing is good, it's steeper than we expected. The beginning of this trail flies up to the top of the falls, a stretch that really gets your blood pumping!

Along this portion of the trail are two unremarkable water crossings, some stone steps and a few switchbacks.  Some flat areas provide a welcome break from the climb.

The col/trail junction came up quickly.

The junction of Sawteeth and Pyramid-Gothics trails.

After a break at the junction we made our way left up a mellow path surrounded by sweet woods.

That doesn't last however, and soon we were treated to steeps - steeps that require scrambling and a bit of thought to scale. Fortunately the rocks aren't slippery, even when wet like today, and soon the views appear and they are fantastic!  Here you'll see views better than those on the summit so drink it in and take some photos!

Going up the steeps.

It's clear from this photo that it wasn't going to rain after all!

The trees shorten and at last the summit appears. There's no summit sign, no USGS marker - just a trail sign and small rock outcropping. I hiked another tenth of a mile farther to a second junction just to be sure we were on the summit.

We were.

Summit view.

Rock on the summit (popular place today).

After some lunch we headed back, carefully descending the slabs.

Heading down.

When we got back to the beginning we had some time so we hiked the short path to Rainbow Falls. Caution - the rocks at the falls are very slippery and you'll want to get as close as you can to this amazing sight!  The combination of sun and mist refuse you a clear shot; instead colors will "rainbow" your photo!

Awesome Rainbow Falls!

Although forecast, rain did not appear today - had we known we might've done a bigger hike but all in all we loved this peak!

I highly recommend this peak, the trip's quick for the mileage indicated and features provide much in rewards.

Ausable Club boathouse at Lower Ausable Lake.