Snowy mountain is part of the Adirondack fire tower challenge. We had previously attempted this hike just over three years ago but turned back just shy of the summit (or so I thought) due to time constraints. For a lesser peak, this is certainly a rugged hike. The first two miles are a very pleasant hike, that ends quickly as I gained over 1500' in elevation in the last mile and a half.
Snowy mountain trailhead is off Route 30 just southwest of the hamlet of Indian Lake. The state has done well with the trailhead parking and has made for a nice wide area that can hold a fair amount of cars. That said, I suspect this is a busy trail in the summer months.
I had left the house at 4:30 am to make the 2-hour drive south. I had given thought to traveling down the night before and spending the night to allow me the option to sleep in but opted to just do the drive, arriving at the parking lot almost exactly two hours later. I quickly packed up and was soon on my way under headlamp. There was already one couple ahead of me that I would eventually meet up with on their way down.
The first 2 miles of the trail is a nice hike in, passing through a mixture of hardwoods and pine, and crossing over several streams with some small ups and downs. The first time we had hiked this the trail became quite wet about a mile in, and this would hold true today as well, in fact, the last mile of vertical climbing is quite steep and follows a drainage line up, making for a wet hike. My previous attempt was in the winter so it was quite icy at that time.
The last mile and a half of the trail are steep and this is where I made up the elevation. Going up slowed me down quite a bit (going down would not be much faster in the steep section). Once I got to the top of the drainage I had thought I reached the top of the hike, not yet. On our previous attempt, we had turned around before this section. The trail eased a bit from the drainage before I came to a headwall, once I got above this I found myself on a partially open ledge. Not the summit yet, but a nice area to catch my breath. There would be no views today with the low-hanging clouds, but I can't help but think the views of Indian Lake and surrounding mountains would be beautiful.
After a quick break, I made my final push and continued on up to the fire tower. While there would be no views I still wanted to climb the tower. I was hoping the clouds would have opened up a bit to offer some views, but that wouldn't happen until I was almost back at the car later in the day.
Started: 6:30 AM
Trip Time: 8:41:00
Dist. Traveled: 7.21 mi
Average Speed: 0.83 mph
Max. Speed: 3.74 mph
Max. Elevation: 4026 ft