Mount Allen

Mount Allen is another one of those remote, viewless summits that people really only climb because it’s on the 46er list of Adirondack peaks over 4,000′.  It’s an 18-mile round-trip day-hike climb from the trailhead, so I decided to break up the hiking (and the driving) over two days.  I drove over on Friday afternoon and headed into the woods around 4:30pm, planning to follow the marked trail to the point where the herd path begins, then a bit further to where the map shows it crosses a brook and where I hoped I might find a spot to camp.  I queried the outbound hikers for clues about where they may have seen campsites along the way, and got a few tips.  I reached my intended location only to find that a pair of other hikers had had the same idea and were camped in exactly that spot.

Skylight Brook - where I camped.There were no other good spots there, so I proceeded onward, arriving at Skylight Brook around 8pm, about 7.5 miles from the trailhead.  What a great choice!  This pretty brook has a small waterfall, and a pleasant gravel-bottomed pool suitable for a nice bath after a sweaty and muddy hike. Avoiding the marked-illegal camping spot next to the brook, I found a legal nook around the corner and popped up my new ultralight 1-person Big Agnes Flycreek tent.  (A great find!  weighs less than two pounds.)  After a quick bath and a tasty pasta dinner, with red wine, I snuggled in to enjoy the evening as the brook’s subtle rushing noise filled the night air.

David on the summit of Allen before 7:45am.On Saturday morning I rose with the sun at 5:30 and quickly packed up my camp.  A warm breakfast of oatmeal and tea is my habit, but I still managed to hit the trail at 6:15am.   At this point the trail starts climbing Allen itself, and quickly reaches Allen Brook at a lovely waterfall.  From here the herd path is steep, following the brook and the slippery Allen slide on the most direct route to the top.   The slide is famous for “red slime”, but I found it mostly clean and with enough dry spots that the going was not too rough.  I reached the tree-enclosed summit at 7:45am and explored until I found a nice view to the north and the Great Range.

View of Skylight, Marcy, Haystack, Gothics and more from Mount Allen.Leaving the summit before 8am, I scampered quickly but carefully back down the slide, reunited with my stashed pack at Skylight Brook, and began the long and tedious hike back out to the trailhead.  I was astonished to pass about a dozen other groups of inbound hikers.  I counted 40 people, including myself, planning to summit Allen today.  Gosh!

Although remote and tree-covered with poorly maintained trails (the herd path was actually better maintained than the official trail!) I found Allen to be quite a pretty spot to visit.  The overnight was well worth the extra time.

Check out the photos.

Distance (backpack)  – 15 miles round-trip
Distance (dayhike) – 3 miles round-trip

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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