Hiking The Dix Mountain Range!
What up my Road Trip Warriors!? I apologize for the delay as I am in the middle of working on my master’s degree. I try my best to post about a hike I have done within one week of doing it. Sooooo I am a little late, but I still wanted to make this post happen! Last Saturday (9/15/18), my brother Alex and I took on the Dix Mountain Range in the Adirondacks. The Dix Mountain Range is essentially right off Exit 29 of I-87 Northbound. The directions to this range are in one of my previous posts (Macomb and South Dix). The Dix Mountain Range includes five Adirondack High Peaks. These mountains are Macomb Mountain, South Dix, Grace Peak (formerly East Dix), Hough, and finally, Dix Mountain. We ascended them in that order as well. It was a tiring day as we left my house at 3:00 AM and started our hike around 4:45 AM. We did not get back to my car until around 7:15 PM! The day was well worth it and the weather was perfect. Well, enough of the small talk, lets get into the nitty gritty of this fantastic excursion!
As mentioned above, we started this hike very early (4:45 AM) because we wanted to be able to park in the lot nearest to the trailhead. Guess what? There was absolutely no parking as all the campers got there the day before! Completely frustrated, we went back to the overflow lot and walked down the long road in the dark. I had a 200 lumen headlamp and my brother had a flashlight. I must say, it was exciting to trek through the dark. It was eery and quiet causing us to pay attention to every noise we heard in the woods. It stayed pitch black until the sun rose around 6:30 AM. At 7:00 AM, we had reached the Macomb Mountain rock slide.
We hit the familiar summit of Macomb at 8:00 AM. The sights were beautiful and the weather was gorgeous. We were the only two on the summit and the only other noise that we would occasionally hear was the breeze. Everything was serene and it was very enjoyable. After taking a few pictures and having some water/snacks, we decided to move on. We had four more mountains ahead of us and we had already hiked Macomb this past summer.
Down the herd path about .7 miles is South Dix. This was the second mountain that I had hiked this past summer before having to turn back because we started hiking late in the day. The summit of South Dix is surrounding by trees and vegetation, but you can still get great shots as you head up the side of this High Peak. While we were climbing the rock scrambles, the clouds were blanketing the valley and mountains in the distance and it made for some great photographs.
We hit the summit of South Dix at roughly 9:15 AM and it sits at 4,060′. For sake of saving space, I am leaving out the picture of the sign when you hit the summit of South Dix. If anyone would like to see it, it can be found in the Macomb and South Dix post.
On to Grace Peak Baby!!
Now we have reached the exciting part of this post because, well, everything from this point was NEW! So, to get to Grace Peak, you will walk past South Dix and end up at a split in the trail. If you would like to complete Grace, go to your right. This mountain is an out-and-back along the loop and it is roughly 1.1 miles one way to get to the summit. There was nothing too strenuous in terms of ascending and descending to get to our destination. I do remember there being A LOT of mud along the trail so I recommend taking your time finding the best approach so you don’t bury your boots.
We hit Grace peak at about 10:00 AM. At this point, there were other people on the summit or on the trail. As much as I enjoy the calm and quiet of trekking through the woods, I do like talking to other like-minded people who hike. Everyone has interesting stories to tell and things to say. We chilled out for a bit and took some more pictures before heading back towards South Dix.
Next Destination: Hough (Pronounced “Huff”)
After completing this mountain, you’ll just return the 1.1 miles back toward South Dix from the trail that got you to Grace. Back at the spot you turned to head towards Grace, you will go the opposite way towards Hough. This mountain is roughly a mile away from South Dix and there was some significant descending and ascending involved while heading there. The trail also had some tough muddy spots. At this point in the day, the four hours of sleep we got and mileage was starting to catch up with us. We took our time and stopped at any outlook we could as an excuse to give our legs a break. We finally hit Hough at 12:20ish PM. Although the summit was not very big, it is worth it. You’ll be able to see Elk Lake again and the vast amount of trees that make the Adirondack wilderness so beautiful.
From Hough, you will be able to see where you’re headed and it may look a little intimidating…I promise you that it looks worse than it is….kinda..
That tall point is what is known as the Beckhorn! You must go up and over that to get to Dix Mountain behind it. From Hough, Dix is roughly 1.3 miles away. From this picture above, you can tell that you will be doing quite a bit of ascending. That makes sense though considering that Dix Mountain is the 6th highest Adirondack High Peak.
Final Summit to Complete: Dix Mountain!
As you can imagine, our legs at this point were shot. We took our time getting to Dix, and we stopped at just about every outlook that we came across. We decided to stop on this one boulder that allowed us to take in some great sights. To our unfortunate selves, on this boulder we found out about No-See-Ums. These are very tiny black flies that land on you and bite. Their bite has a minor sting to it, but what was worse for me was the relentless itching throughout the days that followed our hike. These bugs are persistent even with bug spray. I thought my brother was going to lose his mind haha. So as you all can imagine, we started moving again quickly after we got swarmed by those annoying little insects.
Soon enough, you will reach the Beckhorn. Dix is a very short distance away (a few hundred feet).
We hit Dix Mountain around 2:00 – 2:15 PM. This mountain is absolutely stunning as it offers 360º views and is a great vantage point. You can see Elk Lake, The Great Range, and Giant Mountain to name a few.
We stayed on the top of this summit for a bit talking with a few people roughly our age about hikes they’ve completed in the Adirondacks. We ate a bunch of the food we brought and tried our best to rehydrate. We were running low on water at this point as I had only brought two liters when I really should have brought three. I learned my lesson and I will ALWAYS bring three liters on every hike from here on out. It was a great opportunity to do the whole Dix Range in one day. Although it makes for a long day, it truly is worth it.
We left Dix around 3:00 PM took the Beckhorn trail down back towards the parking lot. This trail down is rather steep for quite awhile so do not rush. It is not worth getting injured, especially so far from the trailhead parking lot. Exhausted, we kept pushing forward and the only thing really motivating us was the thought of eating a vast amount of food when we got back home.
As our morale was dissipating quickly, a heavy rainstorm came in and poured on us. At this point, this seemed to have revived our spirits because the cold rain had felt so good. We also had any rain gear we needed and a change of clothes. This helped us pick up the pace and start moving along the trail much quicker. Eventually we hit a sign that said the parking lot was about three miles away. We passed Lillian’s Brook, Slide Brook, and then our morale started dropping again.
I think the toughest part of this particular hike mentally, was getting down to the parking lot and having to come to the realization my car was still roughly two miles away. It was starting to get dark, we were starving, and our legs were done. After what seemed like forever, we finally made it back to my car.
Hiking five Adirondack High Peaks in one day was no joke, especially with having to park in the overflow lot. We ended up trekking 20+ miles starting in the dark of the morning and ending with the sun setting. If you ever plan on doing this hike, or something similar, make sure that you have enough time, gear, and food/water. I clearly did not have enough water this time and I learned my lesson. I do carry a LifeStraw and I know where the sources of water are on the trails of this range so I was not worried. But I should have still brought three liters. Dix Mountain could quite possibly be my new favorite Adirondack mountain. There was so much that was visible from it, I will probably do it again at some point.
Thank you again to everyone that takes the time to read my posts. I enjoy writing them and I apologize for the delay for a new one. I would never want to rush something that I enjoy and I do not want to put out poor content. I hope you enjoyed the photos and what I had to say. Always remember to adventure hard!