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Adirondack Hike: The Dix Range

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Recreational hiker, novice trip report writer, nature lover.

The view of the Beckhorn from the summit of Hough. The Beckhorn is just short of the summit to Dix Mountain.

The view of the Beckhorn from the summit of Hough. The Beckhorn is just short of the summit to Dix Mountain.

Hiking the Adirondacks

My hiking buddy Kory and I made plans to do the Dix Range on a Sunday in September. The Dix Range is on the Southeastern edge of the Adirondacks and comprises five mountains: Macomb, South Dix (Carson), Grace, Hough, and Dix.

In terms of elevation, Dix is the sixth highest of the 46 high peaks at 4,857 feet. Macomb is 21st at 4,405 feet, Hough is 23rd at 4,400 feet, South Dix is 37th at 4060 feet, and Grace is 42nd at 4,012 feet.

A lot of hikers will do a short hike into the Slide Brook Campsite and then hike the next day in order to complete the range. We chose to do the whole hike in one day. The map below is from a group that did the overnight option and their times and distances.

The Dix Range Loop as done by a group that spent a night.

The Dix Range Loop as done by a group that spent a night.

Parking at the Dix Range Trailhead

We had both read about the small parking lot at Elk Lake Lodge. If you didn't get there early, then you had another two-mile hike in from a lot further out. So we made plans to drive up the night before and stay over at a local motel (Blue Ridge) about 20 minutes away.

We were up at 5:30 a.m. and on the road by 6:00 a.m. We arrived at the further parking area to a sign that read the lot at the trailhead was full. We thought we'd drop one of us and the gear off and then come back to make the walk easier and drove by the sign.

We were rewarded to find five or six open spots in the main lot right at the trailhead. During our hike, we came across an unlucky hiker who believed the sign and made the trek in on foot to the trailhead.

We geared up and signed in and were on the trail at 6:45 a.m.

The trailhead to the Dix Range at Elk Lake Lodge.

The trailhead to the Dix Range at Elk Lake Lodge.

Slide Brook

We signed in and made the hike towards Slide Brook. The path was pretty wide, two lanes would be an accurate description. It was relatively flat and it took us about 45 minutes to get to the bridge leading to where people were camping.

Right after the bridge is the cairn that leads up to Macomb. We turned right and got onto the trail.

We met a guy as we walked at the Slide Brook firepit who looked like he was just rising, and he advised us that when we got to the Macomb Slide, to get to the right side as soon as possible as it was easier. We thanked him and headed up the trail.

Macomb Slide

The trip up to Macomb was a pretty moderate slope through the woods at first. We were in the woods for a little over 45 minutes and arrived at the bottom of the Macomb Slide at around 8:18 a.m. There were two other groups on the slide with us and we marched to the front.

The slide was very wide with lots of loose stone and dirt. This was our first time navigating something like this, so we were pretty excited. We followed the advice we got earlier and went up and got right pretty quickly. We got to the top of the slide at 8:39 a.m.

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Kory and I at the bottom of the Macomb Slide.

Kory and I at the bottom of the Macomb Slide.

Views from the top of the Macomb Slide.

Views from the top of the Macomb Slide.

The Macomb Summit

Right after the slide, there were some pretty gnarly rocks and a couple of fun scrambles. From the top of the slide to the summit of Macomb only took us 21 more minutes as we made it there at 9 a.m. on the dot.

There was a couple that stayed over on the summit and then two more duos showed up shortly after we did. It's not a big summit, but it does afford nice views out towards Dix and Dial.

We ended up taking some pictures and grabbing a quick snack and were on the descent by 9:18 a.m.

South Dix (Carson)

South Dix is what I dubbed the tease hike. We made it down from Macomb on some gradual descent in 20 minutes. Then we started some open face scrambling. We got up the first, went through the woods, then came to a second scramble.

Then more woods and a third scramble to the top. Most of the time after a quick scramble, we're at the top, so for there to be three in a row made it the tease of a hike.

We were able to do all three though relatively quickly and made it to the summit of South Dix at 9:52 a.m.

One of the scrambles up to South Dix.

One of the scrambles up to South Dix.

South Dix Summit

As is our tradition, whenever we are in the woods for a summit shot, we do our crazy faces.

So at South Dix, there is a tree marked with an 'X' that signifies the summit, so we took our shot there.

The tree with the 'X' at the summit of South Dix.

The tree with the 'X' at the summit of South Dix.

East Dix (Grace Peak)

Coming out of the summit of South Dix, there is a cairn marker to head over to Hough on the left. The trailhead to East Dix is on the right and down a light cliff.

After dubbing South Dix the tease trail, I soon anointed the trail to Grace as stabby trail. It's a little over a mile of poking and prodding.

The trail was pretty tight and had a moderate descent for a while. Eventually, it begins to rise again and ends up on a rocky plateau looking East where we found the high point on a big boulder. To the left, there is actually a very nice lookout, but we didn't see it until later when we were on Hough.

From South Dix to East Dix only took us 35 minutes as we made it there at 10:31 a.m. It was our 16th high peak of the summer and we met about seven other hikers while we refreshed there until about 11 a.m.

To get to Hough, you have to hike back to South Dix, so we did that and made it to the cairn to Hough around 11:30 a.m.


The descent off of South Dix to the bottom of Hough is moderate, and we had been warned about the trail going up Hough. We joked that they might have called it huff instead because you're going to be huffing and puffing because of the steepness.

It's less than a mile in distance, but it reminded me of a section of trail at the top of Street and Nye just before their trails separate. It was steep and I felt like my right quad was ready to cramp up as we neared the top.

At the summit, we ran into a few groups and the viewing area isn't very wide, but does afford nice views to the south and west up to the Beckhorn. The summit is marked with a little tag in a tree.

We made it up there in a little over an hour, but that hour hurt so we made sure to hydrate and eat a piece of fruit or two. We were on the way to Dix around 12:45 p.m.

The marker at Hough summit.

The marker at Hough summit.

The Beckhorn and Dix Summit

The Beckhorn is the high tip you can see from Hough. The summit to Dix is only about 100 feet past it, but it shields it until you're past it. The trail up is moderate until you get closer to the Beckhorn itself, then you have some pretty tight scrambles you have to negotiate.

With my legs being a little tight, we made sure to assist each other up to the top. We got to the top of the Beckhorn just before 2 p.m. and made the summit at Dix right at 2 p.m.

On the summit, there are a few survey markers, so we made sure to take photos at both of them. We also ran into a group from Utica there and had our last sandwiches before heading back to the Beckhorn where the trail for our descent began.

Dix Summit: our 18th High Peak of the season.

Dix Summit: our 18th High Peak of the season.

Kory at the Beckhorn as we begin our descent.

Kory at the Beckhorn as we begin our descent.

The Descent

We started down around 2:15 p.m. and right away from the Beckhorn it was steep and rocky. It continued like this for the next hour and 20 minutes—consistently steep and brutal. It reminded me of the trails for Phelps or the long way down Big Slide.

We finally got to the sign pointing us back to Elk Lake and the 3.9 miles we had left around 3:40 p.m. At this point, we were expecting flat ground, but instead, there was some light elevation leading towards Lillian Brook. It took us about 45 minutes to get to Lillian Brook and another 20 to Slide Brook, again with a second long, steady ascent.

Once back to Slide Brook, we knew it was 45 minutes to the car and we made it there at around 5:30 p.m. So our total time on the trail was 10 hours and 45 minutes.

My Preferred Pack for Single Day Hikes

Ranking the Peaks

These were our 14th through 18th high peaks and there were some cool parts to them. The Beckhorn was a nice challenge and the Macomb Slide was something totally new. All in all, it was a very enjoyable, yet long hike on a clear and warm day.

Here is my up-to-date ranking:

1. Big Slide

2. Colden

3. Algonquin

4. Phelps

5. Dix

6. Giant

7. Macomb

8. Rocky Ridge

9. Iroquois

10. Cascade

11. South Dix (Carson)

12. Hough

13. Street

14. East Dix (Grace)

15. Wright

16. Porter

17. Nye

18. Tabletop

My Other Adirondack High Peak Trip Reports

  • Adirondack Hike: Allen Mountain
    A trip report from the hike on Allen Mountain in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate, N.Y. Allen is the 26th highest peak with an elevation of 4,340 feet.
  • Adirondack Hike: Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge
    A summary of our hike, the trials, and mistakes we made on the mountains of Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge in the Adirondacks. Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge are two of the forty-six Adirondack high peaks.
  • Adirondack Hike: The Great Range
    A trip report from our day hike to the the Great Range in the Adirondacks. The Great Range is made up of many mountains right in the heart of the Adirondack Park, which allows hikers great views. Our trip included Lower Wolfjaw, Upper Wolfjaw, Armstr

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on June 16, 2019:

Best of luck and be safe!

Brian R. Newcomer on June 16, 2019:

Thanks for the great report!, looking to do the same day loop in mid a challenge and the ADK!

JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on July 04, 2018:

I carried 3.5 liters, and once to the bottom of the Macomb slide, I cannot recall any water options until back down the descent.

Kelly on July 04, 2018:

Hi. Thanks for writing this post. My friends and I plan to hike the Dix Range in 2 weeks. We are wondering if there is any place to get water along the hike or should we carry it all with us? How much did you bring? Thank you.

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