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A tough, steep, beautiful loop.
With 3600 feet of elevation gain, this 8 mile loop route up and down Giant Mountain in the Adirondacks will test your legs — but the views from the summit, and from this descent route, are truly stunning.
Giant Mountain near Keene, New York, offers a series a steep and physically demanding hiking trails — and some of the most stunning wilderness scenery in the Adirondacks.
On a warm day, on any of these trails, there will be sweat. Before you hike Giant Mountain, make sure you have enough fluids: at least 3 liters per person, plus a Gatorade or something similar to replace lost electrolytes.
Giant Mountain Trailhead Parking
The trailhead for Giant Mountain is on the north side of Route 73, opposite the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) which provides access to The Lower Great Range, Noonmark, Dial/Nippletop, Indian Head, etc. The Giant Ledge lot is medium-sized and fills up quickly.
There are portable toilets at this lot.
I did this hike near the end of June, just before the summer hiking season really kicks off. I arrived at 9:15 am and there were several spots left. This is not always the case. I got lucky! Plan to arrive earlier.
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Hike Safely on Giant Mountain in the Adirondacks
Giant Mountain is so well-known, it’s on a lot of casual hikers to-do list. On this day, I saw many hikers wearing non-hiking footwear and carrying hardly any supplies. I was concerned to see so many people attempting what is a difficult and somewhat technical hike without The 10 Essentials.
I hiked this route when the mountain was bone dry and I was very glad. During the three warm seasons, personally, I would not attempt this hike after any rain. There are huge sections of rock slab and, up high, there are several oversized boulder scrambles. Super fun — but, after any rain, I would be challenged, personally, beyond the point of enjoyment. Learn how to enjoy hiking safely.
Giant Mountain Adirondacks Hiking Trail
All the trails on Giant Mountain are relentless. The trailhead for this climb is at 1300’ and the summit is at 4600’ — so you will climb 3300’ in about 3¾ miles. It took me about 3.75 hours to get to the summit, so I averaged about one mile per hour; this mountain slowed me down.
Although most hikers seem to be faster-paced than I am, I would still plan for a long day on this hill — partly just because you’ll be soaking in so many excellent views for so long. It’s an amazing mountain.
The terrain is lovely throughout, and ever-changing, which keeps this hike interesting the whole way. Down low there’s a mix of cool deciduous woods sprinkled with hemlock stands. Up high, there’s lots of spruce getting blasted in the sun, and smelling amazing, and even some cedar trees.
This Giant Mountain hiking trail includes…
- A fun stream crossing
- Persistently steep hiking trails
- A wooden mountain ladder
- Rock and slab scrambles
- Insane Adirondack wilderness views above 3000’
- A stunning scenic descent
Allow 7-9 hours for this route which includes Giant’s Nubble on the way out. A full breakdown is provided in the trail notes below, with 4 videos and 20 spectacular photos.
Giant Mountain Trail Notes & Gallery
Start at the trailhead and follow the red blazes.
This route passes the turn-offs for both the base and the top of Roaring Brook Falls. I did the upper falls on the way in and the lower falls on the way out.
Not far from the top of the falls, you’ll get to cross Roaring Brook itself …
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The parent mountain for this hike is Giant Mountain.
If you do this hike, LMK how it went…
Trailhead Info for this Hike
Medium-sized, very popular lot.
Google Maps Location: 44.150270, -73.767540
The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead
You’ll have cell service the higher you climb. None at the trailhead. None down low. The situation improves above 2500ft. My network is Verizon. YMMV.