Known (and named) for the rock slide on its south face, Big Slide is one of the less challenging high peaks and offers incredible views from the summit to boot. It can be hiked as an out and back or as a loop, hiking over two smaller peaks on one leg of the trip.
|Distance||9.5 miles round trip|
|Ascent||1,924 feet from John’s Brook Lodge|
Since Big Slide can be hiked from a few different routes, we will detail the loop that begins at the Garden in Keene Valley and then takes you up the mountain, hiking over the Brothers (the two smaller peaks) on your way to the top. Then, rather than retracing your path down, you can hike down to John’s Brook Lodge and back out to the Garden from there.
Following the Big Slide trail from the Garden, you will hike 0.2 miles before intersecting with the Porter trail. Continue on the Big Slide trail, which will drop down to Juliet Brook and then climb upwards for half a mile, at which point it will begin switchbacking up a steeper pitch. At 0.8 miles you will reach a ledge with decent views of Keene Valley. Continue on another 0.7 miles before you reach the summit of First Brother. The trail then continues on only another 0.2 miles before reaching the summit of Second Brother. The trail then drops down into a col between Second and Third Brother, climbing back up to reach the summit of Third Brother at 2.6 miles. You should definitely pause here to take in the up-close view of Big Slide from the summit of the Third Brother.
When you continue on to Big Slide, you will hike briefly down on a rolling trail that takes you over some brooks, before reaching the summit of Big Slide at 3.9 total miles. For the quickest return route, you can turn around and retrace your steps, but for something different you can take the Slide Mt Brook Trail down to John’s Brook Lodge. Another option (though slightly longer) is to continue on to hike Yard Mountain and return to John’s Brook Lodge from there. The Slide Mt Brook Trail will take you 2.4 miles from the summit of Big Slide down to John’s Brook Lodge. You will then hike out the 3.2 miles remaining miles to the Garden via the Phelps Trail.
If you’re driving into Keene Valley from Lake Placid, there is a DEC sign after the post office on the right, at Adirondack Street. Take this right; the road will turn into Johns Brook Lane and you follow it 1.5 miles until you reach the Garden Parking Lot. If the parking lot is full, you will have to park in Keene Valley and walk the 1.5 miles along the road or park before Keene Valley at Marcy Field (coming from Keene it will be on the right, shortly before you pass the Mountaineer) and take a shuttle from there to the Garden. You should do your research before coming because the shuttle schedule changes seasonally and as of 2016 only runs on weekends.