Adirondack High Peaks

The Adirondack High Peaks is the name given to 46 mountain peaks in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, USA that were originally believed to comprise all of the Adirondack peaks higher than 4,000 feet (1,219 m). However, later surveying showed that four of the peaks in the group are actually under this elevation, and one peak that should have been included was overlooked. Due to tradition, no mountains were removed from or added to the group as a result of the revised elevation estimates.

All except four are located in central and northern Essex County, primarily south of Lake Placid and Keene Valley. The others are just to the west in Franklin County. All the summits are on land owned by New York State as part of its Forest Preserve. Thirty three are in a vast tract of nearly 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) known as the High Peaks Wilderness Complex, subdivided into eastern (twenty six peaks) and western (seven peaks) zones. Others are in the adjacent Giant and Dix wilderness areas. Whiteface, which has a downhill ski area and a toll road to its summit, and Esther are set slightly to the north, in Wilmington.

The Adirondack Forty-Sixers is a club open to all who have climbed, or intend to climb, all the peaks. Neither Mount Marcy nor Algonquin Peak, the two highest, require technical skills, but Algonquin Peak is regarded as the more challenging climb. Twenty peaks have no official trail to the top, although rough informal routes, commonly referred to as "herd paths," have developed over the years and no true bushwhacking is required on any of the peaks, although some are still quite primitive.

Atop the highest peaks, above the tree line, there is a total of 87 acres (35 ha) of extraordinarily fragile alpine ecosystem; the amount of this ecosystem is constantly changing due to variation in the climate from year to year.

The region contains many alpine lakes and meadows, wetlands, streams, and forests. Unfortunately, the high number of visitors is degrading the natural beauty of some of the more heavily travelled areas of the region, and it has been necessary in recent years to more strictly regulate access and use. The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness area is the most regulated area. Fires are not permitted; dogs must be leashed; overnight groups are limited to eight people and day groups to fifteen; and Bear Resistant Food Canisters are required from April through November.

Read more about Adirondack High Peaks:  The High Peaks

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