With large, sweeping slides across much of its face, Gothics is one of the most spectacular high peaks to view from afar. It was these slides and the arched nature of the mountain’s peaks that inspired its name, according to local lore. Regardless of the verity of the claim to Gothic’s name, the mountain is stunning to behold from afar and on the way to the summit. There are many ways to climb the peak, but we’re going to detail the ascent via Johns Brook and the Orebed Brook Trail.
Distance: 13.6 miles round-trip from the Garden
Elevation: 4,736 ft
Ascent: 2,360 ft from Johns Brook
Your hike will begin from the Garden, hiking 3.1 rolling miles towards Johns Brook Lodge – at 3 miles you will pass a campsite, taking a left at a junction shortly following the campsite. This left will lead you to the DEC Interior Outpost, where you will follow the trail briefly down to a bridge over Johns Brook. Shortly after the bridge you will reach the junction with the Southside Trail – continue right on the Orebed Brook trail, which will quickly connect with a dirt road. Keep your eyes peeled for a poorly marked turn away from the road, as the Orebed Brook Trail turns left away from the road and climbs along an older road until you reach a five-way junction at .6 miles. Continue straight along the old road – the trail will cross a number of larger and smaller brooks, coming to the base of a slide at 2.3 miles. The climbing begins in earnest here, getting quite steep until the 3 mile point, where things level out for a view of Gothics’ summit. The trail continues along the peak’s west ridge, mostly in the open, with incredible views along the way. At 3.4 miles the trail leaves the mountain’s west summit and continues gradually down and along rolling flats for another quarter mile to the mountain’s official summit at 3.7 miles.
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.