On Friday, October 9, 2020, I drove up to the Adirondacks to get in a pair of hikes - Scarface and Baker Mountains. Both are part of the Saranac 6 Challenge consisting of six mountains that surround the town of Saranac Lake which is just to the west of Lake Placid. It was a clear and cool day with temperatures around fifty degrees.
Scarface is a 3.8-mile hike (7.6-mile round trip) to a summit of 3,054 feet with 1,480 feet of elevation gain. The trailhead to Scarface is just off to the left (.1 miles in) once you turn onto Ray Brook Road by the Maplefield's gas station on route 86 in Saranac Lake. Ray Brook Road has two entrances from route 86 as it loops around and reconnects. I came in from the west and took the first Ray Brook Road turn, which was not the one I needed.
The parking lot can hold around 8-10 cars, but there were construction workers that had parked on either side of the road and it looked like that was a normal occurrence. I arrived around noon, taking a spot right by the trail and geared up. I was on trail by 12:10pm, walking twenty feet up the trail to get to the trail registry.
The initial part of the hike is fairly flat for the first forty minutes on trail. There is a nice bridge crossing about five minutes into the hike, a little pond off to the right, and then a large boulder about twenty-five minutes into the hike as notable scenery and trail markers to note.
Ten minutes after the large boulder and thirty-five minutes into the hike, the trail turns off to the left. The turn is very well marked with signage (red markers).
Five minutes after making the turn, there is a small stream crossing that will signify when the trail starts to begin the elevation portion of the hike.
Thirty-six minutes of moderate climbing until the treeline started to thin out and views of the Scarface ridge became visible. A pair of hikers let me know that the trail was going to head up and out to the right before having to walk back to the left along the entirety of the ridge.
Soon after, the trail had an initial steep section of climbing and then you get two options. One kicks you out to the right, which I chose. It looked like a second option could have continued straight up the mountain as there was also a red marker about fifteen feet up some stone work.
After you loop around, there are some scrambles you have to navigate before getting to the views.
Including the steep climb section and the loop out to the right, it was about twenty minutes of climbing (one hour, forty minutes into the hike) until there were some views out to the west. There was a nice boulder where the sun was hitting for a great rest point before heading a little more moderately up to the ridge.
The hike across the ridge took a good twenty minutes. It starts out east, but then turns north before looping around to the wooded summit. I arrived around 2:07 p.m., close to two hours from when I left the parking lot, with only a few quick stops in there.
I left the summit around 2:19 p.m. and it was twenty-three minutes back down to where the trail gives you the option to turn out to the right or heads straight up the mountain. Just over an hour later and I arrived back at the trailhead by 3:45 p.m. for a total time on trail of around three hours and thirty-five minutes.
My Preferred Pack for the Shorter Hikes
Other Trip Reports from the Saranac 6 Challenge
- Adirondack Hike: Ampersand Mountain
A trip report from a hike to the summit of Ampersand Mountain on June 15, 2019. Ampersand is part of the Saranac Lake 6'er Hiking Challenge and sits on the west side of the town of Saranac Lake, N.Y. in the Adirondack Park.
- Adirondack Hike: McKenzie and Haystack
A trip report from a hike up to McKenzie and Haystack Mountains in the Adirondacks of Upstate, N.Y. Both mountains are part of the Saranac 6 Challenge.
- Adirondack Hike: St. Regis Mountain
A trip report from a hike to the summit of St. Regis Mountain on June 15, 2019. St. Regis is part of the Saranac Lake 6'er Hiking Challenge and the mountain resides just to the north of the town of Saranac Lake, N.Y. in the Adirondack Park.