I'd been wanting to explore the Jay Range for many years now, and never had gotten around to it. What was all this talk I was hearing about a remote, super-scenic Adirondack trail that I hadn't yet been on? Well, the time had finally come to explore it for ourselves.
The trailhead is, shall we say - not super obvious. Have a look at the pictures and my GPS data and tracklog to pinpoint it for yourself. It had snowed a few days before, and there was a good couple of inches even at the trailhead.
The snow was heavy and wet. There were also a lot of leaves still on the trees. These two things together contributed to a pretty bad case of what I like to call 'bend-down'. This is similar to blowdown, except that the trees haven't actually fallen or broken - instead, their branches are bent over double down to the ground. This, along with the snow, made finding the unofficial herdpath very very hard. There are only a few weak blazes on the lower portion to guide you. After that, you better have your ranger instincts about you!
A beautiful fall or winter day?
Despite all our troubles, the day was sunny and beautiful, and not cold. We struggled and scoped our way upwards, making for a should of Jay Peak we could see above. With a good eye and a bit of exploring, I think we mostly kept to the almost-invisible herdpath. As we got higher, though, the snow got deeper. Much deeper!
We'd heard it had snowed a little in Lake Placid on the last weekend of October 2005. But boy, we definitely miscalculated on the amount! I was starting to think we could have actually used snowshoes!
Impressive October Accumulation
By the time we made it to the rocky fore-summit (which btw, is very open and beautiful and lots of good views), we decided we'd had enough. The wet, heavy snow was now so deep it was really hard to make forward progress. If we'd had snowshoes, it would have been no problem. So, we stopped at the rocky knob, had lunch, and turned around. Definitely worth a return, winter or summer!
Lunch Break and Turnaround spot
This is what you are looking for
The map below is a fully-interactive google-based map, with the location of our Jay Peak hike highlighted and the actual GPS tracklog shown in red. If you double-click on the map, you will get a full-size popup that includes the GPS track in 10x higher detail, clickable icons for each picture taken on the hike, and the ability to view all of this on a highway, satellite, or USGS topographic map.
All-in-one GPS Trackmap, Annotated Topo Map, and Picture Location Viewer
Attempt on Jay Peak - Hike Data
* : +/- 75 feet
Elevation Profile over Distance
Elevation Profile over Time