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Adirondack Hike: Rooster Comb and Snow Mountains

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I do a lot of hiking in the Adirondacks. I hope my trip reports will help future hikers on the same routes!

The views from the summit of Rooster Comb

The views from the summit of Rooster Comb

On May 5, 2022, I went up to the Adirondacks and wanted to get in a pair of the lower peaks in Rooster Comb Mountain and Snow Mountain. Rooster Comb has a height of 2,789 feet and Snow stands at 2,362 feet and both count as alternate peaks for the Adirondack 29'er Challenge.

The trailhead for these two is in Keene Valley, on the northeast side of the park, about thirty minutes to the east of Lake Placid. I planned to do them as a loop as there is a trail leading back towards Snow Mountain after one summits the peak at Rooster Comb.

The Route

According to the High Peaks Adirondack Trail Map I use (the route is in red in the photo below), the loop would be around 6.7 miles in total. The hike up to Rooster Comb would be 2.5 miles, 2.7 if I included the lookout point near the summit, which I was planning.

From Rooster Comb down to the trail over to Snow would be one mile. The side trail would be another six-tenths of a mile to the summit. The photo below says it's seven-tenths, but the actual signage on the trail that you can see in the Snow Mountain video below had it as six-tenths. I tend to go with the signage on the trail.

The hike from the summit of Snow back to the parking lot would be another 2.4 miles.

The plan in red, map from High Peaks ADK Trail Map

The plan in red, map from High Peaks ADK Trail Map

Rooster Comb

The parking lot for the hike is just past the town of Keene Valley, after the turn for The Garden lot, on route 73. It's a fairly large lot with parking for around twenty cars. Once geared up, the sign-in book is across a walkway in the southwest corner of the lot. I was on trail at 11:50 a.m. after having driven to the area in the morning.

The first thing you come to is a big pond where the trail takes a left turn and heads around the shores.

The pond just past the sign-in book

The pond just past the sign-in book

The trail markings on this lower section are yellow and the path heads into the woods before turning to the left and then starting a bit of a zig-zag up through the forest. You can see where it starts going up around fifty seconds in the video I have posted down below just before the Snow Mountain section of this story.

Rooster Comb starts as a yellow trail

Rooster Comb starts as a yellow trail

Forty minutes later, I arrived at the first signage (seven-tenths in) that had options to head left, through a blown down tree to Snow, or bear right and continue on to Rooster Comb. I went to the right and started another zig-zag section before turning up and left.

First signage

First signage

This next 1.3 mile section is just a gradual up-slope with a nice dirt trail and a few stony sections, but nothing technical in terms of scrambling. It took me about fifty minutes in the section and there were some cool photos such as one on a big boulder and a downed tree that sort of looks like an alien.

The junction at the two-mile mark has a blue-marked trail off to the right that leads up to Rooster Comb. If you were to continue straight ahead, you would end up climbing Hedgehog Mountain. There is also a trail that goes down to the left which leads to the spur over to Snow Mountain. I took the trail to the right and started heading up and to the right.

Scroll to Continue

At this point, there is a nice sized stone wall to your left and the trail eventually finds a nice gradual gap to go through to a sign. Left goes to the summit and right goes to a very nice lookout. If you start the video below around the three-minute mark, I walk out to the lookout.

The Summit of Rooster Comb

The last three-tenths of a mile up to Rooster Comb only has one little stone climb and is otherwise very gradual. You eventually pop out of the woods onto a very large stone shelf with views looking at Hedgehog Mountain and the Lower Wolfjaw a little further to the right. Mount Marcy was just visible over the mountains off to the right.

I arrived at the summit at 1:40 p.m. and sat down for a snack, spending about ten minutes up there all by myself.

Lower Wolfjaw straight away, Mt. Marcy to the right

Lower Wolfjaw straight away, Mt. Marcy to the right

Snow Mountain

The descent off of Rooster Comb back down to the junction only took about fifteen minutes. This time, I took the trail that went off to the left and immediately started losing some elevation.

After fifteen to twenty minutes, I ended up arriving at some signage posted up on a tree that indicated that Snow was six-tenths of a mile over to the right.

The trail crossed a little stream, then headed very gently back up and to the east before eventually coming to a large junction of trails. The trail for Snow is back and to the left, while the main trail continues on towards the St. Hubert's Parking Area.

As a note: for the Snow video I posted below, I edited it as if I started at the Rooster Comb parking lot and then took the first left at the seven-tenths signage.

View back to Rooster Comb on the way up

View back to Rooster Comb on the way up

On the way up to Snow, there are some great views back to look at Rooster Comb. I was also surprised to find that even though Snow is the smaller of the two mountains, the climb up to the summit was harder in terms of stony scrambles. This was kind of the expectation and Rooster Comb seemed a lot easier than I thought it would be. Snow was definitely the trickier of the two.

The Summit of Snow Mountain

I arrived at the summit around 2:50 p.m. and found that there was a family of three that I had run into back at the local gas station already on the summit, so I ended up chatting them up a bit.

Snow has some really nice views out to the north to view Giant Mountain and then to the east to see Dix Mountain, both high peaks (above 4,000 feet). I grabbed another light snack and took some photos at the summit and left just after three o'clock.

It took me an hour to backtrack the six-tenths of a mile, and then descend the final 1.8 miles to the parking lot. It was more of the dirt path hiking, with a few stony sections.

Up on Snow

Up on Snow

This hike took about four hours and fifteen minutes and both mountains had really nice views. They are pretty family friendly hikes and also make very nice tune-ups for early in the season before tackling some of the bigger mountains in the area.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 JOC

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