Mount Emmons is the peak located at the far end of the Seward Range and the only way to approach is to climb Donaldson first. The herd-path is very remote and some of the most difficult in the Adirondack Park. Emmons is often climbed with Donaldson 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.
To get to Emmons you need to follow Calkins Brook herd-path and climb over Donaldson. From the trailhead you will hike along a well-used trail that can be quite bust in the summer months. You will pass by the horse trail on your right and continue left and soon come to a second intersection. Take a right 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. From the summit of Donaldson you will snowshoe along a narrow corridor and along a flat summit. The drop into the col is quite steep and very slippery in areas over open rock. The climb is more along the moderate side and not super demanding. You will have to reclimb Donaldson to get back to the trailhead.
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.
Distance Round Trip:
2.0 Miles to Emmons and back to Donaldson
Elevation Gain or Loss:
210’ descent to col and 150” ascent to summit, this will need to be done in reverse to get back to Donaldson.
Time Round Trip:
Family with Young Kids: Not recommended
Experienced Hiker: 10+ hours for Emmons via Donaldson
Out of Shape Hiker: Not recommended