There are a number of High Peaks that can be accessed from the Garden Trailhead and many of them require a long and strenuous day hike. Big Slide is often hiked as a day hike over the Brothers, but this certainly isn’t the only way to get there. Get the full Adirondack experience by staying a night at Johns Brook Lodge (JBL) and switching up this classic hike to explore new trails. Here’s how to hike Big Slide with Yard Mt. as a loop from JBL on some less traveled trail.
Trailhead: Garden in Keene Valley. There is a $7 per day fee to park in this lot, and it fills quickly on weekends. Arrive early or hike on a weekday to avoid the crowds, or park at Marcy Field and take the shuttle to the trailhead. While parking at Marcy Field is free, the shuttle only runs Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays and there is a $5 round trip fee to use it.
Base Camp: Enjoy a 3.5 mile hike on rolling terrain following a trail marked with yellow DEC disks, also known as the Phelps Trail. After 3.1 miles, the trail comes to a T, turn right to follow it for another half mile to JBL. You’ll sleep indoors in one of the bunkrooms and never need to worry about packing in your tent, sleeping pad, camp stove, or cooking utensils. During full service in the summer season, JBL provides a delicious dinner, hot breakfast, and a trail lunch for guests. Relax in the Great Room with a good book or watch for wildlife and shooting stars from the brand new porch! Be sure to make reservations in advance.
The Loop: From JBL, you’ll backtrack slightly on the Phelps Trail for 0.3 mile to the junction with the red marked Slide Mt. Brook Trail and then ascend approximately 2000 feet in 2.4 miles to the summit of Big Slide. Take in the view of the Great Range, Algonquin Peak, Giant Mountain, and more. Return the way you came for a shorter day, or continue over the summit to make a loop over Yard Mt. and down the Klondike Notch Trail back to JBL. This loop is approximately 6.7 miles total.
Other Options: Make your hike in to JBL more challenging by traversing the Brothers on your way to Big Slide, and continue over to Yard Mt. if you’re up for it before heading down to JBL. Want to make your hike out more challenging instead? Do this in reverse.
Get Out There:
Guide Book: High Peaks Trails, 14th edition, pages 47-48.
Map: Trails of the Adirondack High Peaks Map, 14th edition
Call 518-523-3441 for reservations at Johns Brook Lodge or visit www.adk.org