Friday, August 9, 2019

Combining Algonquin and Wright in the Adirondacks

On the top of Algonquin in the Adirondacks

This was our first adventure in the Adirondacks and we were hooked.  Although this is a long day and the second highest peak of the 46ers, we wanted to give it a try.  The path was clearly marked and provided a wide range of variations while on the trail, from wooded trails, bare rocks, rock hopping and a few scrambles along the way to the peaks.  The kids were 9, 11, 13 at the time and concurred these peaks with a sense of accomplishment.  Although most websites suggest adding Iroquois as well, this was our first hike so we did not want to push it too much.  But we will need to redo Algonquin in the future towards the 46ers, which is not bad given that the trail is worth doing again!

Algonquin's elevation is 1,559 meters (5,115 ft), which is the second highest peak in the region and Wright Peak is 1,398 meters (4,567), which is the 16th highest (the also known to be the windiest).  The trail is approximately 8.4 miles to complete, which makes for a long day, but doable as long as you leave early. 

Sign indicating entering alpine region

As you leave the tree line and into the alpine region, you encounter a dramatic difference in the landscape.  Here you will want to stay on the trail so not to damage the volatile plant life.  This is especially concerning due to the recent explosion of hikers on these trails, which is having its toll on the vegetation by overuse and careless footprints. We have always taught our children that the number one rule of hiking is to respect the sport, which includes the plant life.  Stay on the trail even if there is a better view off the trail. 

Once you get above the tree line, the trail is marked by cairns and it is mostly a scramble to the top.  There are some challenging sections that may require some assistance for our younger hikers, but it was more technical than scary!

The top of Algonquin is amazing and provides views of the High Peaks Mountain Range (From here, you can make a list of your next adventures).  We took a break at the peak of Algonquin to take in the views.  There was a helpful Ranger at the top, who provided great information about the mountain range.  Our kids thought that this is the coolest job in the world, to hike up a mountain every day and talk with hikers!

View from the top of Algonquin
On our way down from Algonquin, we were still feeling pretty good so we decided to also summit Wright, which gave us an incredible view of Algonquin in the background and showed us what we had already accomplished that day.  Wright had a some pretty cool features itself, including the remains of an old plane crash that happened many years ago.

Before making the long journey back to the gate, we gave time for the children to have a rest and to regain their energy (It was also a great opportunity to the parents to rest the knees before heading down).  

The decent is not difficult, but it can be heavy on the feet and tough on the knees for the older parties in your group (e.g. the parents!).  


Algonquin and Wright is the perfect combination for a day hike with children.  Although websites suggest completing Iroquois on the same hike, we decided that the two peaks would be sufficient for our first hike with our children (and glad we did, as we had complaints of sore feet by time we returned to the gate).  Give yourself lots of time to do the trail and be prepared to be amazed by the views and the cool crisp air above the tree line.  

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