The trailhead (start) is located directly across from the Cascade Mountain trail on Rt. 73. The area is located about halfway between Lake Placid and Keene Valley, NY. The end of the trail of about 2.6 miles east of this location so a second vehicle is handy.
From the trailhead, the trail ascends fairly directly to the first summit (tree covered) at 2.0 miles. If your not careful, you will walk right by the summit rock (on the left) that marks the true summit of Pitchoff, without noticing. The next 1.6 miles crosses over the rest of the summit ridge with 4 other lesser summits. The next portion winds down and around the 5th summit rock and then descends (steeply in parts) to the end of the trail at 4.9 miles.
The decent off the ridge is pretty steep for most of the way. In fact the only faster way to descend the mountain would be to fall off the cliffs that line the southern face.
There are good views found along the entire trail, beginning at .8 miles and continuing until the final descent after the 5th summit. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow, but there may be some wet spots at any time of year.
Total ascent is 2000'
Daypack with the standard equipment (Plenty of water) are all that is needed in summer and fall. Winter climbs may be aided with additional gear. There are several steep descents between summits that may require care during icy conditions (October to April).
With smaller children present, a rope may be handy to assist with some of the steeper sections (particularly between the 4th and 5th summit). We made it with a 6 and 8 y/o without any aids in July (It should be noted that both children were pretty well trail conditioned, even at their young ages).
A fun little mountain that is great for conditioning for the higher peaks in the area. Good for all ages (provided they have some hiking background). This hill is NO SLOUCH. Some areas are steep and overall it is much more difficult then the nearby Cascade (which is a 4000'er). One of the better non-high peaks hikes in the area.
We made the trip with our 6 and 8 y/o children, who did fine, but were pretty tired at the trail end. End to end the hike lasted 5 hours (it would be faster without children). Linger on the summits to really grasp the true nature of the High Peaks.
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