IntroductionThis route is less popular than the route which takes you along the North Fork of the Boquet River and up the Great Slide on East Dix. However this hike has more views since it is along the exposed mountain ridge. This also was my first "trailess" route in the Adirondacks. It is relatively straight forward and not difficult. The route is pretty direct and is a good starter for those wanting to get off the trail.
South Fork to the Ridge
The South Fork of the Boquet River can be found along Rt 73 just after its twisted intersection with Rt 9. Heading west on 73, just after the junction with Rt 9 there is a small pull-off on the left. Park here. The "trail" heads out of the left side of the parking area along a steep bank. It generally follows the river but often the river is not in sight. The herd-path along here is relatively easy to follow and to hike. Eventually the trail will come back to the river and follow it a short distance. Soon you will come to a fork in the river. At this junction the trail pretty much ends.
At this junction you pretty much start hiking in a general West direction. The woods here are not very think or overgrown so the hiking isn't to hard. When nearing the ridge there are a few scrambles along the ridge wall but nothing that can't be negotiated without a little exploring. Continuing generally west you'll soon be cresting the open ridge. This ridge is mostly open, the results from the great fire of 1903. If you stayed your westward course from the fork back at the river you now should be on the ridge atop Elizabethtown #4. Enjoy the view, it's wonderful! To reach Spotted Mountain simply follow the ridge towards the south, southwest.
Spotted to East Dix
This section of the route needs little explanation. Once you've come up on the ridge and have climbed to Spotted Mountain, all you do is continue the course to East Dix. After leaving Elizabethtown #4 there are spots of very thick Balsam that one must negotiate but in general the hike is straight forward up the ridge. The many open areas allow this to be one of the best hikes for views in the Adirondacks. Approaching East Dix the herd path that has not existed since leaving the river once again becomes obvious due to the many hikers who have enjoyed the summit area.
Yes you can retrace your steps...but I recommend taking the Great Slide off of East Dix's West side. The head of the slide is easy to find along the path on the summit and all you do is head down along the slide. More details can be found here. If you can not find (like me), the "trail" once reaching the bottom of the slide do not worry, just hike ahead till you come to the river and then turn right following the river all the way back to the car.