The fortieth highest peak in the Adirondacks, Emmons is also the lowest and last peak in the Seward Range. It also holds the distinction of being the farthest west of any of the major peaks in the Adirondacks and as such is the highest peak until one gets well past the Mississippi.
The best way to get this peak is from the summit of another trailless peak (Donaldson), which makes it rather more isolated than the majority of the other Major Peaks. The long heardpath over two other trailless peaks means that this peak sees few visitors in a year, perhaps only a few hundred. This, in combination with its distance from any maintained trail makes this peak, in my opinion, the most secluded of any of the major peaks in the Adirondacks.
Like the rest of the Seward range this peak is very dry, one has to bring all of one’s water with them as there are few places to get a drink from while up in this area.
The 46ers will, most likely, be very active in this area during the summer of 2002. You will most likely be “Shanghaied” or otherwise “convinced” into volunteering to do some work or at least packing in some stuff. Most likely you will be asked to stick to the tape trail that the weekend trail crews use to set the trail path.
The normal route to Emmons follows the same approach as the other Seward Range Mountains. This is to approach from the W and hike into any one of the many camping or lean-tos sites that are found along the Ward Brook Truck Trail. One can also come from the SE from Duck Hole.
The unmarked trail to Seward Range begins about 0.2 of a mile SE of the spot where the trail for Coreys joins the fire truck trail. Just past the bridge there should be a cairn on the right hand side marking the start of the heard path.
The trail crisscrosses a brook a number of times avoiding sink and mud holes and the occasional blow down. Well after the brook runs out you should reach the summit wall of Seward. Simply follow it to the left until you can climb up and over it to the summit ridge. It is then about a 10-15 min walk up to the summit.
From the summit of Seward a well-defined heardpath descends to the S flanks of the Western Seward ridge and then basically follows a compass line from both peaks across the ridge until the summit of Donaldson is reached.
From Donaldson another heardpath descends down to the W side of the ridge between the two mountains until to starts to climb the ridge near the top of Emmons.
The trail is quite nice and open in parts allowing you a view of both Emmons to the front and Donaldson to the rear. At the summit of Emmons there is another one of those hulking great rocks that when climbed gives one a great view of the other peaks in the range and very faint glimpse of the Santanoni Range to the S and what I believe is the Macintyre Range far to the N.
This area is very remote so come prepared and have some knowledge of backcountry navigation with Map and compass.
Note: This is one of the few trips in the Adirondacks that I tried to use a GPS and I found it was actually quite useless due to the large number of overhanging trees. I only had good tracking and fixes while in the one or two open areas I found. Defiantly not enough to navigate on. It was an older GPS I had but even with a newer 12-24-channel job I would still depend on the map and compass when in this area.
Check out the entry for Santanoni
for detiled directions to the trailheads for Duck Hole Trail or the Coreys/Ward Brook Truck Trail.
The frist part of both the Upper Works trail and the Duck Hole trail are on private land as well, the Ward Brook trail skirts along private land (you will see many many sings pointing this out) 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
The Seward Range and all of the Adirondacks for that matter, has a big game hunting season that starts on the next to last Saturday in October and lasts until the first Sunday in December. Do have on bright coloured clothing and do not be alarmed is you hear shots, or men (99.999999% of the time it is a guy but I supose that there are some women hunters out there too) with guns.
When To Climb
Fall is the best time as the colours give some joy to ths hike.
Watch out for summer as there is little water in the area.
In winter it is a very good ski trip up from Duck Hole or along the Ward Brook Truck Trail. In winter crampons may be needed to get up some of the steep parts of the trail.
Same as for all Adirondack mountians.
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)
some good links
Adirondack Hiking Portal
What's In a Name
Emmons honours our good old friend Professor Ebenezer Emmons who led the first expedition to the area in 1837 while acting as Geologist-in-Chief of the Second District of the Geological Survey of New York. He made a number of first recorded assents, such as Marcy and Algonquin, named a large number of peaks and discovered the source of the Hudson River.
His most important contribution was the popularizing of the name “Adirondacks” for the area. Up until this time the area was normally called Essex .