Back to the Daks' . . . The Dix Range

Date of Hike: 6/26/15

Hunters Pass Trail: 2.1 miles  /  Dix Range Herd Path & Whacks: 8.0 miles  /  Beckhorn Trail: 2.7 miles  /  Hunter Pass Trail: 4.7 miles
Total Miles: 17.5 miles (5,555 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- After a quick stop in the Catskills I headed north to the Adirondacks to meet my old roommate from The College of the Quinnipiac University, home of the Sleeping Giant Bobcat Braves, to hopefully get in two big hikes as said roommate, Diaz, picks away at his 46 High Peaks.
- On Friday we woke up early and headed to Elk Lake to knock off five peaks on what is one of the best hikes in the Adirondacks, the Dix Range.  It's a grueling day hike for inspiring 46er's that has elevation gain that packs a punch, a slide, sometimes narrow herd path, numerous up and downs, and the usual ADK mud.  However, it is worth the effort because of the big views from the Macomb slide and the summits South Dix, East Dix, and Dix.
- The forecast was in our favor all day, it had rained the night before but by the time we started hiking the sun was breaking through the clouds and the air temperature was in the mid fifties.  The first two miles is over relatively flat terrain on an old logging road.  It was muddy and wet in a lot of spots but the conditions improved as we approached the Slide Brook Lean-to.
- Right after the footbridge and before the lean-to there is a cairn, here we turned right and headed through a tentsite and hooked onto the herd path that would take us up to the ridge that travels along the Dix Range.
- The first mile and a half is a nice gradual climb through the woods until the herd path pops out onto the Macomb Slide.  From here we ascended steeply up a slide that is made up of boulders, gravel, dirt and slab.  It's different from most of the slides int he ADK's, as it's a 'moving' slide made up of a mixture of surfaces.  Most of the slides in the High Peaks are steep slab.  The hike up the Macomb Slide is not too hard, the only worry is dislodging boulders and starting a mini slide.  Other than that it's a blast to hike up and the view down to Elk Lake is spectacular.
- We reached the summit of Macomb around 9am, Macomb is the only mountain in the range which has a nice wooden summit sign, the rest have plastic discs or nothing at all.  Back in 2011 when I last hiked the range they all had some sort of marker.
- From here we made the quick down and up over to South Dix.  About half way down the herd path there is a small cairn and a path leading left, we stayed to our right as the cairn is a marker for the south link of the Lillian Brook Herd Path.  The last two tenths of a mile is a fun climb up an exposed ledge to the summit area of South Dix where there are great views.  The actual summit is just east of this open area in a band of pine trees and scrub.
- Next was an out and back to East Dix, it's a relatively easy descent and ascent, the trail is a little narrow in spots but easy to follow and make decent time between the peaks.  The summit of East Dix is just as good as South Dix, a big open exposed ledge where you can stare off into Vermont or back in the direction from where we just came from.  We took a nice long break on east Dix and while Diaz was eating and taking in the views I headed through the woods to the north and over some ledges above and then past the top of the Great Slide of East Dix for future reference.
- After a half mile of roaming out to those ledges and back we both headed back to South Dix where we took a right at a small cairn just past the summit.  From here we went north over a sub peak nicknamed 'Pough' on our way to Hough (pronounced puff and huff).  It's a narrow and rough descent and ascent times two and you huff and puff your way along the ridge!
-  Hough is followed by another steep descent then a pretty grueling ascent up to the Beckhorn where the trail breaks out onto an open ledge.  From here the last few tenths of a mile to the summit of Dix is a breeze and we were rewarded with the best views of the day.  It's probably one of my top five peaks for views as you have a panorama view of the Great Range and several other 4,000 foot peaks.  We took our last long break of the day here, relaxing and eating while taking in the views.
- Now it was time for the long hike back to the Jeep.  The first few tenths of a mile are a blast as you get to descend the steep exposed ledges of the Beckhorn.  After that the trail steeply descends through the woods for two miles, it's kind of a grind with rough footing and there isn't really anything extincting about it.
- At the bottom of Beckhorn Trail we headed south (left) on the Hunters Pass Trail.  This is filled with a couple of puds and is the 'slog' section of the hike but it does travel through some nice hard woods, the Lillian Brook lean-to, and an old loggers camp just before the Slide Brook lean-to where there is some cool old 'trail junk.'
- After crossing the Lillian Brook footbridge we were back on the section of trail that we hiked in the morning and made it back to the trailhead just after 5pm.  It was probably one of the most demanding day hike Diaz has had to do so far in the Adirondacks and he did toughed it out and did great.
- It was nice to be back in the Dix Range, I had not hiked the Range since the first time I did it in 2011.  I still remember it being the hike the 'sold' me on the High Peaks as I was not expecting it to be as marvelous as it turned out to be!

 We start off the hike by heading along the wet and muddy Hunters Pass Trail

 After hiking just over two miles we reach the Slide Brook foot bridge and take a right at a cairn located just past the bridge

 We now start the hike up to Macomb Mountain on a well defined herd path over mostly easy grades

 After a mile and a half the herd path pops out onto the Macomb Slide

 It's steep and filled with loose boulders, gravel and dirt on the lower end

 Looking down the Macomb Slide

 As you ascend the slide a great view of Elk Lake appears to the west 

 The upper part of the slide is made up of steep slab

 From the top of the slide are some major league views of Elk Lake and to the north over to the Great Range

 Nippletop and the Pinnacle Ridge with the Great Range behind it

 Diaz taking in the views

 Scrambling up to the summit of Macomb

 Elk Lake

 Clouds clearing off to the north.  on the right side of this picture is Dix Mountain, the highest peak int he Dix Range

 Looking north to the Great Range, you can see Marcy through Saddleback

 From Macomb summit we head back into the woods

 After an easy hike in the woods the herd path ascends the open ledges below South Dix, a real fun approach to a summit

 Diaz heads up the South Dix Ledges

 From the summit area of South Dix we can see two more four thousand footers on the agenda, Hough and Dix

 The true summit of South Dix is wooded, there is a disc up in a tree and the tree is marked

 The hike over to East Dix is another easy hike through the woods before popping out onto the open summit

 Looking over to Dix (top).  and looking back to where we just came, Macomb and South Dix (bottom)

 Diaz enjoying the summit of  East Dix

 Diaz with Macomb and South Dix behind him

 I headed into the woods for a few hundred feet and headed over to the top of the Great Slid ef East Dix

 Looking down the Great Slide

 Looking west to Macomb, South Dix, Hough, and Dix

Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge

 Dix Mountain

 After heading back to South Dix we then head down the herd path and up to Hough

 Along the way there is a great view down into the valley

 The herd path over to Hough

 It passes through a campsite in the col

 Diaz not looking to thrilled on the summit of Hough

 Looking back at South Dix and Macomb from Hough

 Next up we head along the ridge to the Beckhorn

 The Dix Range: Hough, South Dix, East Dix, and Macomb are all in the picture

 The Great Slide of East Dix

 Hough, this slide is from Tropical Storm Irene

 Anothe nice view down to Elk Lake

Heading to the summit of Dix (top).  and a close up view of Nippletop (bottom)

The Great Range rising above Nippletop

The steep descent down the ledges from the Beckhorn

Taking the Beckhorn Trail down to the valley and the Hunters Pass Trail by a pond

Lillian Brook

 Lillian Brook lean-too

 Campsite at Slide Brook

 Slide Brook lean-to

 The hike back to the trailhead

 Signs spotted along the way

 Markers spotted along the way


  1. Like the report , photos. Words cannot describe how beautiful the adirondacks are. I'm thinking of hiking the dix range in the fall. I'm guessing the hard paths are easy to follow over macomb, s & e dix and hough before dix peak.

    1. The herd paths are in better shape than a lot of regular hiking trails. You will have no issues, enjoy the Dix Range, it's one of my favorites! :)