While not a very high one (doesn't even make the top 200) the Comb is one of the more popular short day hikes in the Adirondacks. This little peak is the first in the great range and offers a neat view of Lower Wolf Jaw and Marcy far off in the distance as well a side trail takes one to a lookout over the lower Keen Valley.
This little peak has benefited from a great deal of trail maintenances over the past few years, with some of the old keen valley trail being abandoned and basically a new trail being created from the parking lot along Route 73.
This makes this a very good hike for anyone who is not up to the rigors of the high peaks or just wants to waste a Sunday morning before heading home. A moderate grade, great trees and an excellent trail make for a great little romp.
One should take note that the summit is surrounded on three sides by a 300ft cliff so it is advisable to keep a close watch on any young children on or even near the summit.
My favorite route up it is from the parking lot on route 73 as there is never any problem finding parking there.
There is a large lot just .8 mi south of Keen where the trail 19 starts. Please note that this trail crosses over private land for the first bit until it reaches the pond. Take the trail to the left and follow the pond to the far end.
Parking at the other trailhead in the village of Keen can be a real pain since one is only allowed to parked off the road before the stone gates near the bridge.
Normal restrictions apply. Just watch the parking in the village of Keen.
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 best time of year to climb is late fall after all the leaves have fallen since at that time one can get a very good view of the large rockface on the South side of the Comb.
Same as for all Adirondack mountains.
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 name of this peak came rather late in the history of the local area. It was named well after it was clear-cut in early 1870s. At that time the numerous sub peaks and knobbles on the peak resembled the Comb of a Rooster thus the name "Rooster Comb”.
Most of these “Comb” features are now obscured by new growth but with just a little imagination one can get where the name comes from.
The South face cliff saw a great deal of climbing activity in the 70s but it is rarely visited since most “trad” types do not take to the 5k walk in and the 1 hour bushwhack to the rock face for only a few well established low grade and long routes (5.6 to 5.9+).
So if you want to do some climbing in relative solitude this could be the place for you since most of the rest of the local Trad areas are usually quite over-run with hang-dogging "Gym Types"