Canada has its fair share of glorious mountain peaks and summit views. Montreal is even built around a mountain. But just across the U.S. border there are some truly magical hikes begging to be explored. In fact, many of our northern neighbors argue that New York’s Adirondack Mountains and hiking trails are among the very best.
Hiking the Adirondack Hike Peaks
Located within Essex and Franklin Counties, just 2 hours south of Montreal, the 46 High Peak mountains are grouped together based on their shared elevation of at least 4,000 feet. Part of the New York State-owned Adirondack Forest Preserve, these truly majestic mountains offer several hikes for experienced and expert hikers, as well as a few for beginners. Hike them all and become an official Adirondack 46er.
Cascade Mountain is considered the easiest High Peak to summit with a relatively short 4.5-mile out and back trail to the 4,098-foot peak. Offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, Cascade is a good introduction to hiking in the High Peaks, but the trail is heavily trafficked in the spring, summer and fall.
At the other end of the spectrum, Mount Haystack is arguably one of the most challenging of the hikes in the High Peaks. Although the view is well worth it, Haystack features a rugged, rocky ascent that traverses 16 miles out and back over demanding terrain, including the infamous “Devil’s Half Mile”.
Hikes Outside the High Peaks
While the High Peaks are impressive, there are literally hundreds of less-traveled trails outside of the High Peaks that offer the same quality hiking and scenic views without the crowds that can take away from the Adirondack wilderness experience.
Less than 90 minutes from Montreal, Lyon Mountain in Saranac NY is the tallest peak north of the Saranac River at 3,819 feet. The 7-mile out and back hike has a fire tower at the summit that offers amazing views of the Green Mountains in Vermont, the High Peaks to the south and even Montreal on a clear day.
Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain in Chesterfield NY also has a fire tower at the summit and stunning views of the High Peaks, as well as Lake Champlain and Burlington, Vermont. This historic 4.6-mile out and back hike includes a separate side trail to a large stone chimney and the remnants of the cabin that housed the mountain’s Fire Observer until 1988.
For a challenging hike, Jay Mountain in Essex County is well worth the difficult climb. Just outside the High Peaks, Jay Mountain offers a unique view of the Adirondack Park, as well as the Champlain Valley. The 7-mile out and back hike is long, but the trail extends along a ridgeline and on open rock in several places to keep things interesting.
Where to Stay When Hiking in the Adirondacks
Although all of these hikes are within 150 km of Montreal, a 2-hour drive is likely the last thing you’ll feel like doing after a day in the mountains. Luckily, there are many welcoming mountain towns in the Adirondacks, like Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Malone NY. All of these communities offer a variety of accommodations, including national hotel chains, luxury resorts, economy motels, historic bed & breakfasts, and private lakeside vacation rentals.
Of course, once you hike the Adirondacks, we know you’ll want to return again and again. For those looking to own a vacation home or mountain retreat near the area’s best hiking, Adirondack Mountain Land has several parcels of land for sale near Montreal, including waterfront property, deeded lake access, build-ready plots, and land with stunning mountain and lake views. Browse our property listings or contact us for assistance with your search.