Couchsachraga (pronounced “Kook-sa-cra-ga” and affectionately called “Couchy” by locals) is the lowest of the 46ers (and not actually above 4,000 feet), but don’t let that fool you – it is a trailless peak that is in a remote location, making it challenging despite its low elevation.
Dial is a pretty quick hike when starting from the Ausable Club’s Lake Road. It’s a pretty easy out and back, unless you’d like to pair it with additional peaks. If you are to make the hike a loop and include Bear Den and Nippletop (which we recommend as it makes sense to snag Dial and Nippletop in one go), keep in mind that it requires a significant amount of climbing and descending.
One of the trailless peaks in the Santanoni Range, Panther is usually hiked in conjunction with Santanoni and often with Couchsachraga as well. The trail is most easily and frequently accessed from Bradley Pond via the old Tahawus Club Road, and be prepared with a map and GPS if you have one – the Santanonis are out there!
Wright is one of the easier 46ers – it was my first at age eight! Predictably, it’s great for families with younger kids and is an enjoyable hike with good views throughout. Near the summit, there is a plaque marking the site of a 1962 plane crash, and you can sometimes still find debris scattered nearby.
One of the trailless 46ers, Redfield was named by Verplanck Colvin after Professor William Redfield, a meteorologist who organized the first expedition up Marcy. You may even thank Redfield for the “High Peaks” moniker, since he was the first to describe Marcy as the “High Peak of the Essex”.
The namesake and largest peak of the Santanoni Range, Santanoni can be a challenging climb, particularly when paired, as it often is, with Panther and Couchsachraga, the other two mountains that make up the Santanonis.
One of the high peaks that it makes the most sense to hike in a series of other peaks, Nippletop has a long level approach before climbing on steeper trails, giving it a more significant mileage number despite the fact that the climb is not terribly long.
One of the more accessible and straight-forward high peaks, Giant Mountain is a perfect hike to do as a family or in a larger group. There is a great view from the top, and afterwards, you can cross the road and go for a swim in Chapel Pond.
One of the more iconic High Peaks, Colden is known for the big slides on the side of the mountain. It is most often climbed from Avalanche Lake via Marcy Dam or Lake Colden, and if you have the proper equipment and an adventurous attitude, you can climb it via the Trapdike – a narrow chute up one side of the mountain that requires skilled and thoughtful ascension.
The tallest of the trail-less peaks, Gray is often climbed in conjunction with Skylight and Marcy, and was named by Verplanck Colvin for the botanist Asa Gray. The summit is somewhat filled with trees, but with stunted growth, so there are still great views to be seen from the top towards Skylight.