This is a spectacular route to Wright Peak. The loop is almost as short as taking the main trail, but takes you on an adventurous bushwhack up a now established herd path route to a tremendous slide with wonderful views. This is not a beginner's trek, so be prepared in advance with necessary navigation skills. Be further warned that the path is not always easy to follow. Navigation is, however, aided by a stream and the slide itself. A short trek from the top of the slide takes one to the peak. Having summited, it is recommended that one returns via the maintained trail, avoiding addditional herd path impacts, an inconvenient descent down the slide, and unnecessary backtracking.
Starting from the Adirondack Loj/Visitor Center parking area, take the trail to Marcy Dam. Follow the trail toward Avalanche Pass, but before you reach the old Avalanche lean-to site, leave the trail for Marcy Brook.
A stream drains east from the col between Algonquin and Wright. Find where the stream enters Marcy Brook and follow the stream west. The route follows the south side of the stream, but crosses and wanders in and out of the stream. Just follow the stream, which is quite beautiful, with quaint falls and a few shallow swimming holes.
At approximately 880 meters (2,900 feet) in elevation, a rock cairn marks an intermittent stream/herd path that leads NORTH to the base of the slide. The slide will become visible through the trees to the RIGHT of this herd path.
Near the top of the slide is the site of a 1962 U.S. Air Force plane crash. The 380th Bombardment Wing lost a B-47E on a routine training flight when it crashed on the southeast slope of Wright Peak. The plane was destined for the Plattsburgh Air Force Base (approximately 60 miles to the north). Remnants of the fuselage and other parts can be found strewn in a large area near the top. Please leave these artifacts in place, so that others can later enjoy the discovery. A plaque located near the summit commemorates the loss.
At the top of the slide, where a large cleaved rock sits, climb over toward the LEFT, where you will find a heard path that will take you to the top. If you continue straight or to the RIGHT you will be on a needless bushwhack along the shoulder of Wright.
Crampons and ice axe essential in winter.
No ropes or pro necessary, except for the purpose of instilling confidence in the particularly squeemish.
Topo of cairn location:
Information on the 1962 plane crash:
This route is described in Discover the Adirondack High Peaks
by Barbara McMartin.