Out on the far side of Keene Valley, Jay Mountain rests away from the usual Adirondack 46er Crowds at the intersection of Jay Mountain Road and Upland Meadows Road. It boasts spectacular 360-degree views of the Adirondack High Peaks, Whiteface Mountain, and Lake Champlain.
The trail was redesigned in 2012 by the Adirondack Mountain Club and Student Conservation Association, an effort commissioned by the Department of Environmental Conservation. It now meanders and switchbacks up to a lesser summit for 2.5 miles before traversing 1.5 miles of open ridgeline to the 3,600 foot summit.
Near the bottom hikers will cross the remnants of stone fences, through open hardwood forests, into birch groves, and over the occasional stream. At the top of the initial climb hikers will be rewarded with excellent views from the top of a lesser summit. The long exposed ridge to the peak is clearly visible to the south.
There is little shelter along the ridge to the summit, and the weather can change quickly. Be prepared for high winds. At times the trail branches and braids, but the paths generally all lead to the same place. When in doubt, look for the small rock cairns that dot the ridgeline.
The final push to the summit is quite steep and rocky, and there are plenty of route options for the more adventurous. At the top, enjoy the views of Lake Champlain and Vermont to the east, Whiteface Mountain in the north, and the High Peaks Wilderness to the west.