If you're ready for some of the more challenging hikes in the Adirondacks, the Dix Mountain Wilderness offers some steep but very rewarding treks. Dix Mountain, the sixth highest peak in the Adirondacks, lies at the area's heart and four additional High Peaks - Hough, South Dix, East Dix, and Macomb - surround. Evan and I got an early start on a Saturday morning, heading to the Elk Lake parking area. Even arriving at 7:30 there were only two spots left, so make sure you get to the lot early or else you may have to park further down the road and walk a few additional miles.
Heading out toward Dix on the Hunter Pass trail, we passed two lean-to camping areas and some beautiful brooks. At a little after the 4-mile mark, we broke off to the right and followed the Beckhorn Trail to Dix. This steadily, and often steeply, inclining trail continues on for about 2 miles before it meets the rock wall of the Beckhorn. Being a great place to stop to take in the scenery, Evan and I pulled out our ultra-light chairs and enjoyed some lunch. After filling up and spotting an eagle gliding on the air currents, we continued the 0.2 miles to the summit of Dix. The vistas from the summit of the Great Range and the Giant of the Valley make the hard work all worthwhile.
The next stage of our trek took us down a narrow, but clear, herd path along a ridge line that runs down from the Beckhorn. Following this path, we reached the summit of Hough Mountain and soaked in the views of Elk Lake and the surrounding peaks. Shortly after arriving, we began our journey back to the trailhead via Lillian Brook, a trail found in the col between Hough and South Dix, near a flat spot with a firepit.
All in all, a tough but beautiful journey... We even spotted some moose tracks in the mud on the trail! Still no sightings though!