Hiking

Big Slide Via The Three Brothers

on
September 19, 2018

Every year we choose an Adirondack high peak to conquer while we are camping. This year, true to form, I decide on Big Slide. I try to keep to the “easier” mountains because I generally bring a dog or two with me and sometimes a husband.

The Mountain

I liked the look of Bigs Slide for several reasons:

  1. It is about a nine-mile trip that can be done easily in a day
  2. It is a loop! Always nice to not have to backtrack and you get to see more of the area!
  3. There are views all the way up if you go via the Three Brothers!

We decided on Sunday for the hike, as my friend Holly would be able to come and there was no rain at all in the forecast. Unfortunately, it was also supposed to be about 90 degrees that day! I  knew it would be a little cooler at higher elevations but still, 90 is pretty hot!

We tried to start early to avoid the heat, but even so we only brought Quinn with us for the hike. He is my youngest and fittest dog, and the most heat adapted. My husband, Steve, bravely volunteered to stay at the cabin and watch Maverick and Holly’s dog, Rigby.

Parking?

In the past, I have stayed at the Adirondack Loj and walked to the trail-head. This time we had to drive, staying at an Airbnb in Jay, NY (read about that here!). There is a small parking lot for the trail-head to Big Slide and a few other peaks (The Garden parking lot). As we drove up the narrow mountain road leading to it at 7 am we saw several signs stating the lot was full. Of course, we ignored them hoping there was a spot. Lesson learned; it was full! A very nice ranger told us to park at Marcy Field and take the shuttle back to the trail-head.

I confirmed that Quinn would be allowed on the shuttle and we drove back down the road. After finding Marcy Field, parking, and waiting for the shuttle we finally made it back to the trail-head about an hour behind schedule. It was already warming up quickly.

The Hike

The first 1.5 miles of this hike takes you to the peak of the first brother. It is a moderate ascent but is relentless, with no flatter sections to rest. You warm up fast with this section!

With Quinn in tow and humidity rising, we took a slow pace. The trek was fun and rocky but the views on the way up were spectacular. The entire trail was sprinkled with mountain vistas. Never on a high peaks trail have I seen such nice views so early in the hike.

When we reached the top of the first brother we were greeted with a perfect 360-degree view of the peaks! Hiking this alone would make a great quick trip and well worth the views

After a rest, we started back on the trail. The second brother is only 0.3 miles up the trail and we hiked through it before we realized we were on it!  The trek to the third brother was longer. The day was really heating up but luckily the trail levels out a bit and we dove back into the woods for a while.

2.5 miles into the hike you hit the third brother! The summit is mostly wooded but does boast some nice views! We rested here for quite a bit knowing what was to come. The hike to the peak of Big Slide is another 1.4 miles or so and about 1.1 miles of that is not too steep. The last 0.3 miles is a rocky ascent to the top with a number of ladders built to help you climb.

I pulled ahead of Holly at this point, unable to contain my excitement to reach the final summit. I was concerned Quinn would have trouble navigating the ladders, but all his agility training paid off and he made it look easy.

After an exhausting but fun section of ladders and friction climbing, we made it to the top. The views are about the same as The Brothers, but the accomplishment of hitting a High Peak is worth it!

After a long rest in the shade, we headed down the ladder section once more. At this point, you come to a fork. If you go back over The Brothers you will cut about 1.5 miles off your trip. If you take the John Brooks Trail it is longer, but you will make it back to The Garden parking lot with a wooded and shallower descent. You can also cool off in the brook on the way down!

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Diana Klein
Upstate NY

Let's be honest: we have busy lives. Getting trapped in a monotonous routine seems unavoidable. 40+ hours work weeks, family obligations, and houses to clean. Americans have a lot to do and a limited time to do it! As a 35-year-old very busy professional (veterinarian), the pull to veg on the couch is strong and sometimes wins. Happily (or perhaps pathetically), my pull to be constantly active and have a project going is stronger. My main sidekicks (as you might guess by my job) are my dogs and sometimes my husband 🙂. My youngest is a 2.5-year-old VERY high energy border collie and he has led me on many adventures in my never-ending quest to entertain him and hopefully tire him out. Hopefully, our adventures will inspire you to skip the couch (at least for a bit) and get out into nature!