Gothics Mountain in the Adirondacks is one of the best hikes in the northeast, with breathtaking scenery and epic climbs. Not for the inexperienced, this challenging trail takes explorers to the top of the mountain, rewarding their efforts with 360-degree vistas that can’t be beat. Located in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, Gothics Mountain is the tenth highest mountain in the Adirondacks region (4,736 feet / 1,444 meters high) and is one of the most difficult hikes in the region – although still doable if one has the stamina, a good level of hiking experience, and the right amount of preparation.
Depending on the route taken, this strenuous hike can be 15 miles round trip and take up to 10 hours. Given its level of difficulty and length, the hike to Gothics Mountain is not ideal for children or those out of shape. Instead, they will first need to practice tackling easy mountain hikes in the Adirondacks to build their fitness and experience. For seasoned hikers in great shape who are ready to challenge this grueling trail, however, this guide to hiking Gothics Mountain covers everything they need to know about this incredible Adirondacks adventure, including the best Gothics Mountain trails in try – and there’s more than one!
Note that the paths of the Montagne des Gothiques are not recommended for beginners, kids or hikers without a decent level of fitness.
Gothics Mountain main trailhead
- Length: 10.2 km one way
- Time: 7 to 10 hours
This 6.2 mile one-way route is commonly cited as Gothics Mountain’s best hiking trail and offers many steep ascents and descents. Hikers must therefore be physically ready for the challenge. A seasoned hiker in good shape can expect to reach the summit in about three to three and a half hours; however, the hike is not recommended for people with children or people who are not in good shape. To hike this trail, hikers can park at the St. Huberts parking area, accessible by taking Route 73 from Lake Placid and following the road to St. Huberts. The parking lot here is located directly across from the Roaring Brook Falls trailhead.
Visitors will need to enter the Adirondack Mountain Private Reserve (AMR) to get to this parking area. From May 1 to October 31, parking reservations are mandatory and can be made a maximum of two weeks in advance via the AMR website – walk-in visits are not permitted. Also, signs at the AMR say dogs are not allowed – so leave Fido at home for this hike.
From the St. Huberts parking lot, visitors follow a dirt road that eventually leads to a paved road. About half a mile from the parking lot (just before the clubhouse on the Gothics Mountain trail map), hikers should turn left and head between the two tennis courts on Lake Road Way in order to reach the gate of the AMR. The AMR is privately owned with rules that visitors must abide by – these can be seen posted at the main gate.
After reading the rules at the gate, walkers can begin a two-mile hike following a dirt path that leads to the Gothic Trail. First, the trail goes through the beautiful forest, providing beautiful views everywhere. Then it takes hikers to a bridge that crosses the Ausable River, after which they continue until they reach the base of Beaver Meadow Falls.
At the bottom of Beaver Meadow Falls, the trail begins a steep climb. To the left of the falls, hikers climb a ladder before ascending to a more steady climb. However, this section of the route involves steeper portions, so hikers are advised to proceed with caution, particularly about two miles from Lake Road, which becomes very soak. After this section, ladders allow hikers to descend to the junction with the Range Trail. To the left of this junction are the Gothics, with Armstrong on the right. Those who make it to the top of Gothics Mountain must climb the left side of the junction, climbing the ridge until they reach the wide-open summit with a chilling breathtaking view.
How to Hike to Pyramid Peak via the Gothics
Hiking the Gothics from the Adirondacks Mountain Preserve also opens up the opportunity to visit Pyramid Peak, home to some of the best views in the Adirondacks. Although this challenging trail is a little longer combining Pyramid Peak with the Gothics, the extra trip is well worth it.
To reach Pyramid Peak from the top of Gothics Mountain, hikers must travel approximately 200 meters to the left of the latter. From here the trail descends steeply and then climbs to Pyramid Peak which is another steep trip up. Once at Pyramid, hikers can soak up beautiful mountain scenes; almost all of the great range can be seen from the top of the pyramid, with views of many slides on the surrounding peaks thrown in for good measure.
After admiring the beauty of Pyramid Peak, the hike descends steeply until it reaches a junction about a mile from the top of Gothics Mountain. Hikers should turn left at this junction and follow the trail down before passing Rainbow Falls and accessing the bridge under the dam. Then, to return to Lake Road and complete the trail, explorers can cross the bridge and drag their laboring legs for about another 100 yards. Luckily, Lake Road then brings tired feet back to the main parking lot.
Gothics Mountain Trail Map Secondary Hike Trailhead
- Length: 10.2 km one way
- Time: 7 to 10 hours
The Second Trailhead is another fantastic Gothics Mountain hiking trail. Also, dogs are welcome to walk this trail with their humans so Fido can accompany them for this one! To access this trail, hikers must first go to Keene Valley Garden. Parking here costs a small fee and it is recommended to arrive early on weekends due to limited spaces. If there are none left, visitors can find additional parking at Marcy Field. Alternatively, visitors can take the shuttle from Keen Valley Airport, which has been in operation for several years.
How to Hike the Second Trail to Gothics Mountain
- Length: 7.1 miles one way
- Time: 7 to 10 hours
The secondary Trailhead to Gothics Mountain is a 7.1 mile one way hike. It covers varied terrain and experienced hikers should be able to reach the summit in about four or five hours – but, as with the first trail, this one is not suitable for unfit hikers or those with children following them.
After the parking lot, the first part of the trail remains fairly flat. Although there are a few climbs, the majority of the first half mile is fairly easy. Later, at the junction with Southside Trial, hikers continue walking straight along the rolling hills until they come to a steep drop into the Johns Brook valley.
To the right, hikers will be able to see Johns Brook Lodge, which is the perfect stopping point for a break if needed. Then a direct route to the top of Gothics Mountain is to the left of the DEC Inner Outpost. Hikers cross a bridge that spans Johns Brook, immediately after which they should turn right. After this bridge there is a gradual but very noticeable ascent along the Ore Bed stream.
Soon hikers come across a five-way intersection, at which they continue straight on the Ore Bed Trail, staying on this road for a mile until it steepens. Upon arriving at the top of the Ore Bed Trail, hikers can choose where they want to go next: Saddleback is on the right, while Gothics is on the left. Although the Gothics offer the better views of the two, the climb is much more strenuous.
If goths are the goal, hikers can climb left up the cable route, which is extremely steep and exposes challengers to harsh elements. Luckily, this route has a coated cable to aid hikers in the ascent (hence the name). After climbing this final section of the trail, hikers are fully rewarded for their efforts in the form of the wondrous western peak of Gothics Mountain. However, the hike to the true summit requires a bit more time on foot.
Best time to hike Gothics mountain
The Gothics Mountain hike promises incredible year-round adventure with mesmerizing views. However, the route can be difficult in the spring when high water levels make the trail wet and slippery, making some trails impassable. Summer and fall are inviting, with lots of forest color decorating the landscapes, but when winter comes, many people enjoy the adventure – which is also a great opportunity for snowshoeing.
Although winter hiking at Gothics Mountain is exciting, it is important to be aware that deep snowdrifts and intense winds can sometimes impede progress along the trail. Also, from the mountain ridge to the summit, whiteout conditions can occur making it almost impossible to see. Therefore, hikers should check the weather forecast before venturing out to challenge the Gothics Mountain hike – remembering that dressing for the conditions and packing appropriately is a must. Of course, bringing wind protection and waterproof clothing is a given, but hikers should also be prepared for all weather conditions and the unexpected, packing a change of clothes as well as hiking essentials and gear. security tools – just in case.
When hiking in the Gothics in the winter, allow an extra two or three hours to complete the trail; although quite beautiful and a memorable experience, the trek is even more difficult in ice and snow!