The twenty-sixth highest peak in the Adirondacks, Allen is touted as being the most difficult of the original 46 to get to. This is most likely because of the long hike in that is needed to get to its trailhead normally requiring at least an overnight stay. Allen also stands quite far from any other regular trail and has a rather obtuse route to the top due to most of the direct route residing on private land. Add to this the effects of clear-cut logging in that area and the devastating blowdowns from Hurricane Floyd in 1998 make for a most strenuous passage.
Due to this anyone wishing to try an attempt on Allen should have good backcounty navigation skills with map and compass and take enough gear with them in case they have to stay overnight.
This said the start of the trail is still on private land and starts just near the now removed Twin Brook lean-to. There is now a sign in the area that points to the cairn that marks that start of the trail. The latest facts I have is that the trail is marked with trail tape and will be one of the first trails to be improved by the 46ers come 2002.
The trail from the cairn follows along the NW side of Lower Twin Brooks until it strikes a lumber road and then a little further on it runs into a sand pit. The heard path continues from the far side of the pit and after about a mile cross the brook and generally heads SE through a small pass. Now it descends the valley SE of the pass and passes a number of beaver ponds and then one sizeable brook before crossing Skylight Boork to join the old route.
The path turns to the NE up the Skylight brook valley for over 0.7 of a mile until it turns to the SE to follow a tributary called Allen Brook. The trail from here basically follows this brook to the top up a rather steep section of an old slide and once at the head of the brook a litter further up is the summit ridge. From here the summit is only a short distance to the S.
Views form the top are good particularly if you go a small exposed ledge about half a minute from the summit. From here one can get a really good look at Pyramid, Gothics and Sawteeth and the Dix Range to the SE.
Allow for a good 4-5 hours one way to the summit longer if the weather is wet.
Jdac86 just added this about the route:
'When you get to the hurricane zone on the way to Allen Mountain, it is extremely confusing to find the trail markers. Look on logs facing you as you hike. It is extremely muddy, and the myriad of mishaped logs bogged down in the mud makes it extremely easy to fall and twist an ankle. When you're on the trail for about 1-1.5 miles (maybe more), look for a marker to the left of the main trail. The main trail branches off to the left and there is only a marker on a tiny tree that you would'nt expect a marker to be on. Be careful, if you miss that you come to a pile of logs you have to get by and then you come to a gravel road. We lost about 45 minutes missing this easily hidden trail marker. I can't stress this enough: Wear sturdy, supportive hiking boots that are waterproof. It is ridiculously muddy throughout the entire trail (if you go in the summer). "
Which nicely sums up what hiking up a trailless peak is all about even after the trail was fixed up it still is not for the avarage day hiker and one must be properly prepared for very rough and wet ground even in a summer like this one (2002) the dryest on record.
The most direct routes are either from the Upper works or Hanging Spear Falls trailheads which can be reached by heading down Rt 28N, the access road is reached after about 7.3 mi. N of Aiden Lair or about 5 mi. E of the Town Hall on Newcomb on the N side of the road. After about 6 mi. of going N on this road it forks with the main road continuing strait across a bridge over the Hudson to the mine. Turn left here on a narrower road marked with a sign “Marcy and the High Peaks” At 2.8 miles one passes the large stone furnace on the R and at 3.0 miles there is a parking lot on the R for the Hanging Spear Falls approach to Flowered Mt. Allen. Shortly beyond are some abandoned buildings and the parking lot at Upper Works is reached at 3.5 miles.
The frist part of both the Upper Works trail, Hanging Spear falls trail and the trail to Allen are on private land please observe these simple rules
1) No camping, fishing or hunting
2) No off-trail travel including rock climbing or bushwhacking, or use of non public trail
3) No boating or swimming, including portable boats brought by the public
4) NO DOGS or other pets are permitted unless on a leash
As of June 30th, 2001 all parties regardless of size in the Eastern Zone (High Peaks) of the Park must fill in and possess a self-issuing "trip ticket," which may be obtained at the trailhead. People have been fined and turned around for not having one and at the more popular trailheads the Ranger on duty will not let you pass without one. This can cause some delays in getting onto the trail.
The most popular seasons are Summer and Fall as it is dryer.
Late Fall and early Spring are more difficult due to the snow and ice are possible.
Snow shoes, crampons and good winter gear needed for a winter ascent.
General rules for the Adirondacks
1) No Camping above 4,000 feet
2) No camping withing 150 feet of a stream or other water source except at a designated campsite.
3) No soap or washing withing 150 feet of water
4) Pack it in Pack it out is the rule for garbage
5) Only dead and down wood can be used for fires and set in a proper fire pit. ( local etiquette is to use a stove and not a fire)
The mountain was named after Ref. Frederick B. Allen who was the superintendent of the Episcopal City Mission in Boston.
More interesting is the actual naming, which took place during a camping trip to Upper Ausable Lake in 1869. The party of Rev. Joseph Twichell, Dr. Horace Bushnell and guide Charles Dudley Warner where caught in the great cloudburst of August 20 of that year. This rainstorm caused the great slide on the Avalanche Lake side of Colden that very same day and the one on Big Slide a few days later. This party actually had a view of this when it happened or so the story goes. For sure they heard both of them as both were heard many miles away. Having nothing to do in the rain they simply picked names for the local mountains and the only one to stick was Allen.