From the parking area at the High Peaks Information Center (HPIC), the bulk of the traffic heads south toward Algonquin, Marcy, Phelps, and other popular High Peaks. This outing ditches the masses and instead goes west in the Street Mountain Range. While Street and Nye mountains don’t offer the best views, they make up for it by providing more solitude, some off-trail snowshoeing and epic buttslides on the descent. They are also Adirondack 46ers.
The trail starts across the street from the HPIC parking area. It skirts Heart Lake using the Mount Joe Trail and Indian Pass Trail for about a half mile until a sign indicates the “Old Nye Ski Trail.” From then on the trail is no longer maintained, but it sees a lot of traffic, so a well-defined herdpath has developed. In winter, if other parties have summited before, the snowshoe tracks make route-finding easier. Proper navigation skills and devices are still recommended.
The trail is initially rather flat, and the first challenge comes in the form of Indian Pass Brook, reached 1.5 miles from the trailhead. If the conditions have been cold for a few days and there is a good base of snow, the brook will be frozen and passable. Otherwise, it may get tricky. If crossing is too treacherous, heading a few hundred feet south allows for safer crossing on big boulders. Checking the conditions before starting this hike is a smart plan.
After the brook the path starts ascending steadily and directly to a col (around 3,770 feet), from where Nye Mountain (3,839 feet) is a quick 0.2 mile away. The summit is identified by a wooden sign, but there are no views. After backtracking to the col, Street Mountain (4,134 feet) is a 1.2-mile round-trip. There are a few excellent views along the way to Street, most notably of neighboring Algonquin and Wright Peak.
While Nye Mountain is unlikely to become a favorite, combining both Street and Nye makes for a very enjoyable snowshoe outing that will provide much more solitude than the other peaks in the area. It should be noted that this is outing is much nicer in winter than in the warmer months as the trail follows a brook and gets rather wet and muddy unless it is covered by snow.
Both mountains must be summited by anyone on a quest to become an Adirondack 46er. Nye Mountain doesn’t meet the minimum elevation requirement of 4,000 feet to be on the list, but it was still added and remained on it as it was believed to be over 4,000 feet when the list was originally created. We now know there are 11 mountains in the Adirondacks that are higher than Nye and under 4,000 feet.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.