Hiking Mount Colden via Avalanche Pass

Today I’m writing my trip report in a form of a Day in the Life Post-Enjoy!

3:50AM – Wake up before my 4AM alarm. I was convinced I was going to toss and turn all night but I slept fairly well and got a solid five hours. Get up, put in my contacts, and finish packing my hiking pack. Fill up my 3L platypus bladder with filtered water (I know from experience that putting filtered water vs. tap water makes ALL the difference in taste when your water sits in a bladder all day) and my 1L hydroflask. Make bagel and cream cheese to bring for breakfast and PBJ for lunch.


4:30AM – Meet Jenna at the park & ride in Clifton Park. This is a popular spot for hiking meet ups since it’s very accessible from the Northway, right off of Exit 9.

5:30AM – Pit stop, usually in Warrensburg. We missed the exit this time, but decided to stop at Stewarts in Keene instead.

6:15AM – Arrive at Keene Stewarts for a bathroom break and to pick up some granola bars for the hike. Realize I left my hiking socks on my chair at home and discover Stewarts does NOT sell socks. Ask a stranger in the parking lot if they have spare socks—someone does! Thank goodness, the day was saved.

7:00AM – Arrive at trailhead called South Meadows. It’s located on the left a few miles down Loj Road off of Route 73 going toward Lake Placid. Drive down a dirt path and discover a number of campsites along the road. Park car, put on boots. We’re ready to tackle Mount Colden!

7:05AM – Sign into trail register. Notice that there are two people ahead of us taking the same route. Make the 3 mile trek down the truck road to Marcy Dam. It’s a little chilly at 5o degrees. These miles go by quick! We are excited for an awesome day in the mountains.



8:30AM – Arrive at junction for Avalanche Pass, Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden. We’re taking the steeper and scenic route up to Mt. Colden through Avalanche Pass and will come back down to Lake Arnold for a loop.


9:10AM – Finally get to Avalanche Lake! It’s gorgeous. The trail around the lake is extremely rocky-there are many ladders and boards crossing large boulders, it’s tiring and feels like a jungle gym! There are shovels hanging from the trees that I can only assume are for digging people out of the snow in case of an emergency. We are thankful it is not winter, but a fine summer day.







9:50AM – Can officially say we’ve hiked through Avalanche Pass! We arrive to the trail register for Mt. Colden—but we won’t be signing out of this one since we’re doing a loop. It is only 2.1 miles to the summit, with a total gain of 1913’.


10:00AM – We can see Lake Colden!


10:45AM – The trail starts to get super steep! It’s not the worst I’ve ever seen, but it is tough.


11:15AM – We get our first great views while climbing! Amazing day.




A great view of Mount Marcy. I’m coming for you next!


11:45AM – Finally get the summit of Colden, 4.5 hours after leaving the car. Enjoy the summit for about 30 minutes.







I’m at 24/46 – That’s Wright and Algonquin behind me!





12:30PM – Start to head down to Lake Arnold-the trip down is rocky and tough on the feet. After almost 9 miles of hiking, we are getting tired! We reach the false summit of Colden and look back to where we were just 10 minutes ago.



3:10PM – Finally back at Marcy Dam after what felt like forever. From here, it’s only a few more miles until we can take our boots off!

We get to enjoy some pretty scenery on the hike back out on the truck trail.



4:00PM – Back at the car!! Time to change and drive back to Stewarts for an ice cream cone. What a day!

7:15PM – Finally back to Troy. Time to shower, have a beer and veg out for the evening. 15 miles of hiking is tiring.

Mount Colden via Avalanche Pass to Lake Arnold
Distance 15.1 miles
9 hours, 3 minutes
Total Elevation Gain 2887′


Gear used Osprey Sirrus day pack, Kelty trekking poles on the descent only, 3L Platypus bladder, 1L Hydroflask, EMS hiking shorts, Steel Rail half marathon tshirt, Keen hiking boots, random guy’s cotton socks (not recommended for hiking, but did the trick in a pinch !)


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  1. Hi Jen! I tried to email you this note, but it bounced back.. So here we are 🙂
    I’m Sarah, I’m from Queens, NY and my husband and I have been slowly tackling the High Peaks whenever we’re in town (usually once a year 🙂 for the past few years.

    I came across your blog today while looking for some trail descriptions and I think it’s wonderful! I was hoping you could help me out with a recommendation for our next high peak which we are going to tackle this weekend.

    So far we have hiked Marcy, Cascade, Porter, Algonquin, Armstrong, Gothics, and Giant. The trouble is I’ve developed this really, really bad fear of slides. They’ve always made me nervous and slowed me down a TON, but we hiked Giant last year in the rain and I took a few bad falls. I remember on the last fall just being completely paralyzed by fear.. sitting in the middle of a slide unable to move. I was thinking earlier today that maybe I don’t want to hike anymore high peaks. Even as I sat at my desk thinking about that feeling of being trapped on the side of the mountain I started getting so anxious. 🙁 Then as I was reading your blog, I thought maybe you could suggest one that might be manageable? I don’t want to write off the High Peaks forever, but I think I need something to ease me back into them.

    I was thinking of doing Colden via Avalanche Pass. Do you remember if that was particularly covered in slides? Also, if you have any tips for how to navigate them, I’m all ears 🙂

    Thank you so much in advance.
    Really enjoying your blog and will be checking out more of the hikes you’ve done in the Adirondacks so I can pick another “nice” one for our trip.

    1. I’m sorry that I’m just seeing your comment now, wish I had seen it sooner! I hate slides too. Usually when I see something hard like that, I try to find the easiest way up, I look to each side to see which route has the best trees and roots to grab onto and sort of pull my way up (sometimes on my hands and knees). Colden is awesome, but it does have an exposed scramble (at least the route I took). I’d suggest something like Sawteeth, Phelps, or Big Slide next, those are “easier” and don’t have anything too tricky. Good luck, and let me know how it went!!!

      1. Hi Jen! That’s ok, I see that you were busy this weekend!! Congratulations on becoming a 46er!! That’s incredible!!
        We decided to do Indian Head on Sunday and then Noonmark on Monday. Both were gorgeous and I guess if I didn’t start panicing about the high peaks we never would have found them via your blog.. so that’s good, I guess haha
        Noonmark scared the hell out of me, but I MADE it and I think that has helped restore sooomme of my confidence.
        I’ll put Sawteeth and Big Slide on the list for next year.. thanks for the recommendations!
        Congratulations again 😀

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