My two daughters and I started out at Round Pond at 7:03 am on a perfect summer morning. The first 15 - 20 minutes consisted of a gentle ascent to Round Pond. The clearly marked Blue trail skirts not quite half away around the north end of the pond. A loon floated in silence from the middle of the pond.
The trail began an easy, steady rise from the pond to the intersection with the trail coming from St. Huberts/Ausable Club. The distance is 2.3 miles to Round Pond and 2.3 miles to St. Huberts. It is from this intersection that one can ascend Noonmark Mountain. We turned left heading south while remaining on the Blue trail. From here to the lean-to took about an hour. I was surprised at how little elevation was gained during this section of the hike. About 45 minutes from the lean-to the trail broke out onto the bottom of a big, wide slide. The view from the bottom of the slide to the top of Dix is magnificent.
We were only on the slide for about two minutes before following the trail into the woods marked by a big cairn on the west (right) side of the slide. From this point onward the trail begins a moderate-to-strenuous ascent lasting about an hour until the intersection with the Red trail coming in from the west that originates at Elk Lake. From that intersection to the summit is about 35-40 minutes of moderate climbing. There is ample water available right up until the last 1.5 hours of the ascent. This was my 45th peak and I can say the view from the summit is one of the best in the High Peaks. Total time to ascend was 4 hours and 38 minutes. This included a 5-minute rest every hour. We spent about 50 minutes on top soaking in the sun and taking in the panoramic views. There have been precious few times I've been on a summit with no wind and perfect temperatures.
The descent took 4 hours and 46 minutes and included a 20-minute rest. We were back at the trailhead by 5:09 pm. To put my pace in perspective it took me 12 hours to climb the Seward range and about the same time to climb the Santanoni range. A couple of other trip reports for this route up Dix put the time at 9 hours and 45 minutes. I opted for this route since I had done Hough, South Dix and Macomb from Elk Lake. I remember the trail in as being strewn with rocks- which is not fun after a long day's hike. By contrast, the last two hours of this trip are over well-shaded, soft ground. The only memorable exception is the first 20 minutes of the descent from the intersection with the Noonmark/St. Huberts trails back down to Round Pond. I was going to save this climb for my last of the 46 but I didn't want to waste a perfect day on Allen.