Dial, Nippletop & Elk Pass Loop
with Noonmark Fire Field & Bear Den, September 2003
Nippletop: 4,620', 13th Highest Elevation in the Adirondacks; Dial: 4,020', 41st
Nippletop looking South towards Elk Lake
On Nippletop, Looking South towards Elk Lake

The H.G. Leach trail leaves the Lake Road at the Ausable Club in St. Huberts, and leads to Dial and Nipple Top, by way of the '99 fire scar on Noonmark's western shoulder and Bear Den Mountain. This is a hike that features great views of Dix to the East, and Upper and Lower Wolfjaws, Armstrong, Gothic and Sawteeth to the West. To complete the Loop, I returned down the Elk Pass Trail, which descends steeply from the Dial-Nipple Top junction trail, just north of Nipple Top, spilling out into beautiful Elk Pass, which winds it's way back to the Lake Road, for a total hike of about 15 miles. This is overall a fairly non-strenuous hike, except that I found myself slipping into fatigue-carelessness on the way down the steep stretch of the Elk Pass trail. On the other hand, I should think that starting the loop from Elk Pass would leave you huffing and puffing, with the longer part of the hike still to come, before you reached either peak. From Otter Chalet and Deep Woods Cabin, take Springfield Rd. south to Jay, 9N south into Keene, and 73 southeast through Keene Valley and St. Huberts. Hiker parking is off the second intersection marked "Ausable Club" as you're driving south on 73 towards the Northway. You have to walk about 1/2 mile from your car to the Lake Road sign-in point.

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Dix, Dial and Bear Den from Noonmark Shoulder Red Eft high on Bear Den trail

Dix, Dial and Bear Den from Noonmark shoulder.                                          Red Eft high on the trail up Bear Den.
Looking west from shoulder of NoonmarkLooking west through flanks of Noonmark and Bear Den
Views on the Leach Trail from Noonmark forest fire area: left, Wolfjaws, etc.; right, view west through Noonmark/ Bear Den
Noon Mark erratic Steve on Dial Summit Moss-covered erratic on Bear Den trail
Yours Truly on Dial Summit, flanked by huge erratics from Noonmark (left) and Bear Den trails.

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