TRIP REPORT: Chimney Mountain – Adirondacks, NY 9-26-15

For a change of pace this past weekend I made a geology fueled adventure to the south central Adirondacks. The goal of the trip was to explore a new area of the park I haven’t seen and also to collect some minerals from old mines in the area. I will be making a separate post for my trip to the Barnett Garnet Mine which was a really cool place to check out in the area. We arrived late on Friday and camped out at the DEC Lewey Lake campground which is really quite beautiful all on its own and I would highly recommend staying there if you got a chance.

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Early morning view of Lewey Lake.

Since no trip to the Adirondacks is complete without at least hiking something, we choose to do a short trip up Chimney Mountain before heading over to the mine for some fun with Mineralogy. Chimney Mountain is only 2,500 ft in elevation but it does have a pretty commanding position in the center of the area. The summit also offers you 360 degree views from its bald summit which is pretty unique, especially for a summit at such a low elevation. The hike also includes some pretty unique geologic features and is only a short 1 mile hike to the summit from the parking lot.


Trail register right next to the outhouses.


Start of the trail to Chimney Mountain

The trailhead is located on private report property but the parking lot was pretty empty when we arrived. As a note it is required (recommended?) that you pay a $2 parking fee so bring a couple of singles. There are boxes in the parking lot for your money and it is handled on an honor system. The start of the trail is just to the left of the trail register just a little ways past the parking lot.

The trail itself is in great shape and very easy to follow. It is also only 1 mile each way which is easy and short by Adirondack standards although I will note the trail is still quite steep despite the distance, but it is still perfectly accessible for people of all abilities.


The easy flat start to the trail.

After just a short time walking on relatively flat trail you will hit the steeper section which does not let up until you reach the summit. If you take your time you should have no trouble making it to the top regardless of your ability. This mountain is fairly popular but on this particular day we did not see many people until we were headed back down the mountain.


Steeper slab sections on the ascent.

Once you make it past the short steep section you will top out on the ridge of Chimney.


At the top of the steep section.

From here its just a short jaunt over to the rocky section of the ridge where the unique chimney is that gives the mountain its name. This is not the actual summit of the mountain but if you hop up on the rocks right off the trail you will get some pretty spectacular views of the valley including Snow Mountain off in the distance. Snow Mountain is the tallest mountain in the southern Adirondacks.


The chimney on Chimney Mountain



Looking off from the boulder overlook on the ridge.

The chimney itself is claimable but I would not recommend doing so. It is an easy climb and probably only barely breaks the grade of 5.0 on the climbing YDS scale, but there is not really any natural gear and descending can be problematic if you are not proficient in down climbing technical terrain. A fall here would also be pretty disastrous so it is probably best just to stay off of it.

We stayed here for a bit enjoying the view before making the trip over to the true summit. The trail for the summit can be easy to miss as it actually follows the path through the campsite which is just off the trail to your right before reaching the chimney. There is also a campsite marker on the tree near the trail junction marking the way. Just follow the trail through the camp and you will make just a short little side trip up to the bald summit of Chimney Mountain. From the summit you will be greeted by beautiful 360 degree views of the surrounding area. On this particular day  it was quite clear and we could actually see the High Peaks of the Adirondacks off in the distance.


View from the true summit.



View from the true summit.

After spending just a little bit of time on the summit we made our way back down the mountain and made it back to the parking lot in no time at all. All in all Chimney Mountain is great little hike if you only have limited time or are looking for an easy hike to do with friends or family. I would highly recommend checking it out if you are in the area because it is certainly worth the detour.



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