Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Baxter Mountain (New York), August 13, 2018

Baxter Mountain via Baxter Mountain Trailhead (Trail 20), Keene, NY

Mileage:  3.2ish (RT)

Elevation gain: 887'

Trailhead:  This hike starts on Baxter Mountain Road in Keene. Heading north out of Keene on NY Route 73, turn right onto NY 9N and drive for about two miles.  Trailhead sign and small parking area on right.

Hiked BMS (by myself).  After a week of hiking, today's plan was simply to relax in Lake Placid.

But....the day was so nice! No storms were predicted, temps in the 70s.....  I couldn't waste it.  A compromise was in order: spend the morning hiking Baxter Mountain, then relax.  Great choice - hiking Baxter Mountain took only two hours, leaving me time to enjoy the lake.

Parking area is small - mostly on the roadside.

Marked with blue discs, the wide trail starts out pretty flat and soon crosses power lines. The morning sun sparkled through the trees - a nice dry day free of Adirondack mud.



Power lines - stay straight on trail.

The trail gently heads up hill.  Trail crews built switchbacks here about ten years ago to remedy some of the steeps. (I have some suggestions of other area trails that would also benefit by switchbacks!)

A fine looking switchback.

Follow the blue discs to the summit.

The trail intersects with Trail 21 about a mile in.  Left takes you to Beede Farm (red discs). To reach the Baxter summit go right and head up another switchback. 



As if to protest it's reputation as a short, easy hike, Baxter serves up a few small scrambles, and some cliffs and rock slabs.






The views to the north and east are clear and wonderful today.  There are several nice areas for lunching.



It was my mission to find the summit (there's no summit sign) and I did, but not before hiking past end of the blue discs and onto the yellow discs for a bit.  


This is the first yellow disc (by this large rock).

The trail really dips down at the first yellow disc but if you keep going it pops back up to more views.  Still, a few minutes later I hit a height of land and decided not to go further.  I turned around.


Height of land on the yellow trail. Turned around here.

Back at the blue discs, I poked around and found the cairn that marks the summit.  It's not on the trail, it's on the left in the woods.  


Summit cairn.

As noon rolled around more people were headed up the trail as I was descending. I reached the trailhead and road in no time.  What a great little hike!

If you have just a few hours to spend in the Keene area, this is the hike for you!