Thanks to a tourism initiative begun by the village of Saranac Lake in May 2013, hikers who climb all six peaks earn a patch and the right to ring the 6er bell at downtown’s Berkeley Green. The peaks range in height from 2,452 feet (Baker Mountain) to 3,322 feet (McKenzie Mountain). In between are Haystack, Scarface, St. Regis, and Ampersand mountains.
Last weekend, it was our turn to become members of the 6ers family. We had already hiked five of the six summits, and only remained Baker Mountain, deemed to be an excellent family hike.
Baker Mountain from Moody Pond
Baker is definitely the easiest and most frequently climbed. The hike begins across the road from Moody Pond on the outskirts of the village. The trail climbs nine hundred feet over 0.9 miles. Going up, there are a number of side trails. It seems that every inch of Baker has been trod by someone. The red disks are few and far between, but sticking to the well-beaten path is good enough.
Saranac Lake village from Baker Mountain
About a third of the way up, the trail levels for a spell, then steepens again after surmounting a short rock wall. The forest changes from hardwoods to evergreens. Nearing the summit, there are bedrock slabs with views of mountains, lakes, and, directly below, the village of Saranac Lake. Nearby is a ledge with superb views of the High Peaks in the distance.
End of October, we went hiking McKenzie Mountain. We are on our way to become an official Saranac Lake Sixer. To do just that, you need to climb all 6 of the following mountains:
- McKenzie Mt (Elevation 3822′)
- Ampersand Mt (Elevation 3353′)
- Scarface Mt (Elevation 3054′)
- St Regis Mt (Elevation 2874′)
- Haystack Mt (Elevation 2864′)
- Baker Mt (Elevation 2452′)
Obviously, this is not anything to compare to the Adirondack 46ers, but I like the marketing idea of putting together another “mountain club”.
We’ve already hiked Haystack and Ampersand, so McKenzie seemed to be the most logical next choice. It’s the highest peak of the 6ers, visible from many locations in Saranac Lake, and easily recognizable due to its 2-peak shape.
The hike is pretty easy at the start, under the forest, and becomes very steep at the very end (the last 45mn can be difficult, especially with 3 inches of snow making the last climb quite slippery). Views from the top are widespread, from Whiteface Mountain to the north to Mount Marcy to the south. A ledge to the west of the trail offers views of the village of Saranac Lake while another one on the east does the same for the village of Lake Placid.
It was an enjoyable experience, on a less traveled path.