While sometimes overshadowed by its higher neighbors, Noonmark Mountain stands out among the sub-4,000' peaks of the Adirondacks. When driving through Keene Valley toward the south, Noonmark's profile looms ahead. It's known for its excellent, grandstand views of the surrounding High Peaks. A view from Noonmark even donned the cover of the last edition of the High Peaks Trail Guide. With its excellent views and relatively short approach, it sees a decent amount of traffic.
Immediately to the east of Noonmark stands its lower neighbor, Round Mountain. While not quite as popular as a destination as Noonmark, Round holds its own when it comes to scenery. Round can also be reached in by relatively short approaches as well. Round and Noonmark can be hiked together as a loop from the AMR (Adirondack Mountain Reserve) trailhead in St. Huberts, just south of Keene Valley. Combining the two peaks as a loop packs in a lot of great scenery over a fairly challenging 7 miles.
After a cool and dreary start to the week, I decided to hike these two mountains on Thursday, November 4th. Although Friday's forecast looked sunnier, I was hoping to capture some cloudy skies in my mountain photos I would take that day. It was a gamble since I run the risk of socked in summits with no views, but I took my chances. I also expected shoulder season conditions. Snow showers fell in the valleys over the previous days. I anticipated some snow and ice on the ground once I gained elevation. I started later than I usually hike and didn't hit the trail until after 11AM.
Although other approaches exist to these two mountains, hiking them together as a loop is more convenient from the AMR trailhead. On a gray Thursday in November, only a dozen or so vehicles were in the usually busy parking lot. Like all hikes from the AMR lot, I began hiking up the road. I headed up the Stimson Trail, which is reached before most of the AMR facilities. At first this trail followed a road past several driveways before becoming an actual trail.
|Lower reaches of the Stimson Trail|
|Junction to Noonmark|
|More snow as I climbed|
|Slabby section of trail|
|Early view of Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge|
|A spider undeterred by the snow|
|Lower Great Range|
|View of Dix from a ledge below the summit|
|Dix, Dial, and Colvin|
|View toward Keene Valley|
|Dial with Nippletop just barely visible in the distance|
|Ausable Club property|
|Snowy upper reaches of Noonmark|
|Closeup of Dix|
|Cloud cover to the southeast|
|Stream-like conditions on the Old Dix Trail|
|Junction to Round|
|Visibility lowered by snow|
|Looking back as I climbed Round|
|Noonmark with the Great Range in the background|
|Dix and Dial from Round|
|One of the last views toward Giant|
|Waterfall near the end of the trail|