Mt. Colden & Avalanche Lake
4,714', 11th Highest Peak, via Lake Arnold & Avalanche Lake Trails, July 2004.
Avalanche Lake Trail, Colden on right
Returning from Colden on the Avalanche Lake Trail, sheer face of Mt. Colden at right.

Alex, Joshua and I  took the "Yellow" trail from Marcy Dam, and then the Lake Arnold Route (blue trail) to Mount Colden, and returned via the beautiful Avalanche Lake trail. It was another hazy July day, so summit photography was  disappointing, and the trail from Mt. Colden down to Lake Colden was wet, steep rock face, making for a fairly hairy descent, requiring constant focus, careful balance and grasping hands. Nevertheless, the return hike via the Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake trail made it all worthwhile. The Avalanche trail  is a "chutes and ladders" game for adults, as the trail wanders up, over and around the huge rocks tumbled down from Avalanche Mountain, and across the lake from the sheer rock face of Mount Colden. Roscoe, perhaps the nimblest hiking dog ever, had to be carried down a couple of the ladders on the Avalanche Lake trail.  As you hike out from the lake through this trail towards a reunion with the Marcy Dam trail, you pass through a massive collapsed tumble of birch trees, apparently "avalanched" down the flank of Colden, when (I'm guessing) heavy rains saturated the thin, supporting forest mat, tearing it away from the rock face, and sliding it down to the valley below. Thank God for the trail volunteers who chainsawed a new path for the trail through the resulting birch debris. Colden itself is sort of a tease, as it has at least four levels to its summit, the first encountered being 4,528 and the largest being 4,714', with a col-like interloper between the first and main, and an afterthought 4,000'+ "bump", which yields fabulous views before plunging the hiker down Colden to Lake Colden. It's well worth the hike, however, as Colden affords great views of the MacIntrye Range (Algonquin et al) to the West, and the Great Range (Marcy, etc.) to the East. From Otter Chalet and Deep Woods Cabin, head west on Route 86 towards Lake Placid, left on Riverside Drive towards the ski jumps, left on Route 73 towards Keene, and right on Adirondack Loj Road.. You can park at the Loj, and hike into Marcy Dam, or park on South Meadows Road, near the less-crowded "State Truck Road", which you can also hike to Marcy Dam.

Click on Photos to Enlarge
Colden Summit, Lake Colden below Main summit of Colden in rear
On the blue trail up Colden
Lake Colden from Colden Summit, 1st Colden Summit, looking across the 2nd at Main Summit, on the Lake Arnold Trail.
Hazy MacIntyre Range from Colden Summit Break time at Lake ArnoldLake Arnold
MacIntyre Range (Iroquois, Boundary, Algonquin and Wright) from Colden Summit, & Two shots of Lake Arnold.
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