Mount Donaldson

Hiking

Donaldson Mountain is the peak located in the center of the range and boasts the best views of the ridge. With an open rock ledge you will have outstanding views of the ridge as well as Long Lake located to the south. When doing the ridge Donaldson is the peak climbed the most, due to its location and the location of the herd-paths. The herd-paths are very remote and some of the most difficult in the Adirondack Park. So no matter the route you should also plan for a very long day and be on your A-game.

Donaldson is often climbed with Emmons and Seward, also located along the same ridge. The combination of the three peaks is a very long day at almost 18 miles and should be started early in the A.M., with expected time of 12+ hours for an experienced hiker.

This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 33 on the list.

Below are brief descriptions of the two routes, we recommend you pick up a guide book for more in depth detail or hire a local guide to assist you.

Primary Trailhead: Leave Lake Placid on Rte 86, follow Rte 86 toward Saranac Lake. In Saranac Lake follow Rte 3 toward Tupper Lake. Continue on Rte 3 for 12.5 miles to Corey's Road on the left. Follow Corey's Road for 5.5 miles to the trailhead on the right.

This route follows Calkins Brook and is an 11+ mile RT. The approach follows a well-used trail for 1.2 miles before going right on an old woods road for another 2 miles to the Calkins Brook herd-path on the left. The herd-path soon crosses the brook and then climbs high above the brook on a generally moderate grade with crossings of side brooks. The herd-path reaches the ridge near the summit of Donaldson. Turn right to finish the remaining 200 or so vertical feet to summit Donaldson. A large ledge with a good view to the north and west is just beyond the summit on the right. The herd-path continues another mile to the summit of Mount Emmons.

11-15 miles RT, very challenging, Elevation: 4140', Ascent 3490'

Family with Young Kids: Not recommended

Experienced Hiker: Primary trail - 4 to 5 hours to summit.

Out of Shape Hiker: Not Recommended

Snowshoeing

Donaldson Mountain is the peak located in the center of the range and boasts the best views of the ridge. With an open rock ledge you will have outstanding views of the ridge as well as Long Lake located to the south. When doing the ridge Donaldson is the peak climbed the most, due to its location and the location of the herd-paths. The Seward Range is known for dry micro-climate, so bring water!

The herd-paths are very remote and some of the most difficult in the Adirondack Park. Donaldson is often climbed with Emmons and Seward, also located along the same ridge. The combination of the three peaks is a very long day at almost 18 miles and should be started early in the A.M., with expected time of 12+ hours for an experience hiker.

From the trailhead you will hike along a well-used trail that is usually very hard packed from heavy winter use. You will pass by the horse trail on your right and continue left and soon come to a second intersection. Take a left along this old woods road and follow here to the Calkins Brook herd-path.

The herd-path is marked with a rock cairn, take this left and follow up along the brook. The herd-path will cross the brook on a couple occasions on its steady and somewhat steep course before moving away from the brook and coming to a T-intersection along the ridge with the main herd-path. Take a right here and start a very steep short section to the summit of Donaldson.

Elevation:

4108 feet

Ascent:

2360'

Distance Round Trip:

12.0 miles

Approximate Time Round Trip:

Families with Kids: Not recommended

Experienced Snowshoers: 8 to 10 hours

Out of Shape Snowshoers: Not recommended

Trailhead Location:

From the intersection of Route 3 and Route 30 in Tupper Lake follow Route 3 toward Saranac Lake. Continue for around 8.5 miles to Corey's Road which will be on your left. Follow Corey's Road for 5.5 miles to the trailhead on the right. The road to the summer trailhead may not be plowed or passable requiring the user to park at the Raquette Falls Trailhead, roughly 3.5 miles further from the Seward Trail.

Difficulty: 1=easiest, 5=hardest

Five: This is one of the more difficult mountains in the Tupper Lake Region.

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