Blue Mt. from NP Trail
Blue Mt., while not considered one of the Adirondack High Peaks, is nonetheless a popular hike. This is due to its short trail (2 miles, gaining around 1550'), a fire tower which provides panoramic views, and its central location within the Adirondacks. In good weather it is an easy hike for any fit person, and requires nothing more than class 2 hiking. It is also just up the road from the excellent Adirondack Museum, and the venerable Northville-Placid Trail runs just to its east. Though not one of the 46 "High Peaks," Blue Mt. comes in at #66 on the Adirondack Highest Hundred list, and #79 in New York State.
Getting There (Don't miss The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mt. Lake!)
Blue Mt. Lake
The main trailhead is off Rt. 30/28N about 1 mile north of the village of Blue Mountain Lake, on the east side of the road. This is a popular hike, but the trailhead parking lot is large, and unlikely to be full on all but the busiest weekends.
The hike up Blue Mountain is short, only a few hours round-trip, so be sure to stop in town at the Adirondack Museum. This museum, which consists of many different buildings on several acres overlooking Blue Mt. Lake, is the best museum of its kind in America, and possibly the world. The goal of the museum is to trace the history of the people living in the Adirondacks, from the native Americans to the trappers to the lumberjacks to the ultra-rich vacationers of the late 1800's. It should not be confused with the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, which just now opened in Tupper Lake, and which is evidently also a wonderful museum.
Just standard Adirondack rules. No toileting or camping within 150' of the trail or water sources, bury human waste, no camping above 3500 feet, no littering... you get the idea. I believe that, in the part of the Adirondack Park in which Blue Mt. is located, dogs do not have to be leashed on the trails unless otherwise posted, but this could be subject to change. You know your dog; use discretion.
The popular Eastern High Peaks zone is heavily overused, so if you go there be advised that the rules are different. Bear canisters are required for overnight campers, fires are not allowed, dogs must be leashed at all times, etc.
Backcountry camping is allowed 150 ft. off the trail on almost any public lands anywhere in the Adirondacks, with certain restrictions. A bear canister is required in the eastern High Peaks, but Blue Mountain does not fall within this zone. Fires are permitted but strict rules of etiquitte should be observed.
If you want to go to the beach, or camp next to your car, you can go to Lake Durant State Campground, 2 miles east of Blue Mt. Lake village on Rt. 30/28.
The trail on Blue Mountian gains a fairly steep 1550' in 2 miles (the majority of this is in the 2nd mile). Because the trail is so popular, it is deeply eroded, and in many places it is worn to the bedrock. For this reason, it can be much more treacherous in foul weather than when it is dry. If it is raining or wet, the footing is awful. In good weather, though, a fit hiker can practically run up this short trail.
In the Adirondacks in general, hikers are required to have skis or snowshoes when there is more than 8" of snow. On mountain trails such this, winter conditions require poles and aggressive snowshoes, such as MSR Denali models. Also, crampons might be necessary depending on recent weather conditions, so they should be carried as well. An ice axe is not needed for the ascent.
Weather conditions in the Adirondacks change rapidly and even though this is a short hike, you should not assume the weather will hold. In the Adirondacks they say, "If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes." This highly variable, unpredictable weather could lead to hypothermia in Summer, or heat exhaustion in Spring.
Spring (April-May) is wet and muddy. The wet bedrock on the upper parts of the Blue Mt. trail may be very slippery from runoff, even on a sunny day. Summer (June-August) can be very hot, up to 90F, or it might be very cold and wet. Fall (Sept-Nov)can have wonderful days and freezing nights. Winter conditions in the Adirondacks (Oct-April some years) are some of the worst "low mountain" conditions in the world, comparable to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Rain could come on any day of the year, seemingly out of nowhere, so good raingear should always be carried. Snow could come in any month, but especially October-April.
Please contribute to this page!
This is my first attempt at creating a page here on SP, and is a work in progress. Constructive criticism greatly appreciated! Thanks to several of you for input and information. Adirondack hikers, your images would help!
I just wanted to mention to anyone who doesn't know, that the black bears in the Adirondacks are notorious for stealing food. If you don't have camoflauge rope, and know how to string your bear bag perfectly, they will get it. They might get it anyway. If you keep your food in your tent or pack, that will definitely NOT stop them from getting it. Hell, they might just break into your car back at the trailhead to get those extra powerbars you left in there. In the Eastern High Peaks, as mentioned above, overnight campers must have a bear canister. In other areas of the Adirondack Park, you may still use just your bear bag and your wits. Just a heads up!