Dix Range 15M Traverse, Adirondack Mountains, New York

July 2, 2018 

The Dix Range Traverse from Elk Lake is a total of 15 miles with about 5000 ft of elevation gain along the way. Not an easy hike by any means, but it certainly doesn’t rival the Great Range Traverse which has around 10,000 feet of elevation gain. I had planned to do the Dix Range Traverse CCW climbing the rock slide to reach Macomb Mountain first, then doing South Dix, Hough, and Dix in turn. But the green trail to reach the slide from the bridge across Slide Creek below was not discernible, so I continued along the mild grade of the red-blazed trail for about 4.3 miles past Lillian Brook and Dix Pond before beginning my 2-mile ascent of Dix Mountain on the yellow-blazed trail.

The climb up Dix was gnarly and steep.  In my estimate at the time it was four times 
as challenging as any climb on the Devil's Path, by comparison.  Maybe I was tired from
the previous day's effort on the MacIntyre Traverse, but I stopped for beaucoup breaks
on the way to the top.

The views from the top were wonderful on this remarkably clear day.

The top of Dix is an exposed outcropping of house-sized boulders, very
enjoyable for bouldering around on.  The photo above looks back in the direction
of the climb up Dix.

The summit of Dix Mountain.

From Dix I headed south along the obvious ridgeline between Hough and 
South Dix in the distance, as seen below.  The unmarked trail was easy to
follow as far as bushwhacking goes without giving up much elevation to get 
to the next two peaks.

GETTING THERE: To reach the Elk Lake trailhead, leave Interstate 87 at exit 29 (North Hudson) then go West for 4 miles on Blue Ridge Road following the signs for Newcomb, then turn Right off Blue Ridge onto the gravel Elk Lake Road marked with a sign for Elk Lake Lodge. At 5.2 miles there is a parking lot on the right just before the road drops down to Elk Lake.

The first four miles were easy going (above).
A nice down-climb on the ridge between Dix and Hough 

The biggest challenge of the day would be down-climbing the long slide off of Macomb Mountain for three-quarters of a mile. The amount of loose rock and scree made every step tenuous. Disaster needed to be avoided at every step.

Finally at the bottom the trail transitioned from the slide into following the very rough stream bed for another mile, as pictured below. With sore feet I followed the water down for another half mile before cutting out of the stream bed to find the trail through the forest to reach the Slide Creek bridge on the red trail. The stream was so rugged that I again could not discern an earlier exit to find an easier path.

Needless to say, I was worn out at the end of the day and ready for a day off. It was a wonderful challenge with gorgeous vistas, but very tough.