4,035-foot Mount Colvin and 3,970-foot Blake Peak are located in the Colvin Range, right in between the much better known Great Range and Dix Range. While Blake Peak is undoubtedly only hiked by peakbaggers, Mount Colvin is an underrated summit that offers fantastic views of the Great Range.
These two mountains are accessed by the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, a privately-owned club that gives outdoor enthusiasts access to the state trails via the Lake Road, a gravel road closed to public traffic. Skiers use this road in the winter. The parking area is located off NY 73, and a 1-mile road walk along the private golf course is required to get to the start of the gated Lake Road.
Walk about 3.5 miles on the road before turning left toward the Gill Brook Trail. The road walk is very pleasant in the fall when the colors are at their peak. The Gill Brook Trail follows the beautiful brook until the junction to Elk Pass. At this point, most of the ascent to Colvin is behind you. Turning left toward Elk Pass leads to the summit of Nippletop. Save this one for another adventure and head straight toward Mount Colvin.
The last section before the summit is rather steep and gets icy in the winter, but a few trees have grown just in the right spot and can be used for assistance if necessary. Eventually, Mount Colvin is reached. From the summit, fantastic views of the Lower Great Range are visible, which includes some of the Adirondacks’ highest summits: Mount Marcy, Mount Haystack and Basin Mountain. To the north, the Upper Great Range can also be seen, as well as beautiful Lower Ausable Lake and parts of the Giant Mountain Wilderness area.
At this point, there are two options. Continuing over to Blake Peak will allow peakbaggers to tag another Adirondack 46er, but there will be no good views along the way. Those not working on a peakbagging list should turn around and return to the trailhead.
Blake Peak has an interesting history. The Adirondack 46ers list originally included all peaks that were believed to be above 4,000 feet. Recent advances in technology have allowed more precise measurements, and Blake Peak became one of four peaks on the list to see its elevation revised below 4,000 feet. However, the list remained unchanged for historical reasons and, as a result, Blake Peak sees more traffic than it otherwise would.
To tag Blake Peak, follow the trail past Mount Colvin and head down. The descent is gradual at first, but it quickly steepens. A few ladders have been built to make it easier and safer, but they are usually mostly covered with ice or snow in the winter. Snowshoes and proper traction are a must. The ascent to Blake Peak is slightly less steep, but equally as icy. The underwhelming summit is identified by a small clearing sign that might be more confusing than anything else. There’s a half-view just before the summit sign.
Retrace your steps all the way to the parking area, knowing two more Adirondack 46ers are in the bag.