Autumn in the Adirondacks: Mt Jo, The Brothers, Big Slide Mtn


Jul 5, 2014
Adirondacks, NY
October 2nd - 4th, 2015

This past weekend I took my wife up to the Adirondacks in the hopes of finding some fall foliage. It turns out we were a little early as it was probably about a week before peak. But this was good enough for us since everything is still green in New Jersey.

On day 1, I packed up the car and we left by around 9:30 am. After stopping for lunch on the way up we arrived at the trailhead for Mount Jo. This is a pretty short hike of only a few miles. Unfortunately it was pretty cloudy our first day.


Not far from the Mt Jo trailhead you can see the ski jumps used in the 1980 Winter Olympics.



There were a nice amount of red sugar maples in this area.


Summit of Mt Jo. Heart Lake is below.

The first night, we stayed at the hiker hostel in the ADK's that I stay at sometimes. My wife was very hesitant to stay there at first (she had never stayed at a hiker hostel) but she actually liked it. This hostel is clean, cozy, convenient, and always filled with friendly adventurers.

Some interesting license plates in the parking lot of the hiker hostel.



This refers to the 46 ADK high peaks. A 46er is a hiker who has done all 46.


After checking into the hiker hostel we drove to the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery for some food and some flights for dinner.

The next morning we arrived at the Garden Parking lot. I decided to defer to the wisdom and expertise of one of our most respected BCP members @ram. He had given me a suggestion for this area in another thread.

Big slide is a great choice from the lodge. Still, the Brothers route from the garden toward Big Slide is a notch or two up on the "awesome' scale. Your timing for fall colors is perfect if the peak is a week late or so and still likely very good unless it is very early this year. Again, the Brothers begs to be done by you, whether you go the rest of the way from the 3rd one (birch forest) to the summit, or stop at the open landscapes of the first two brothers.

As per @ram's advice, we took the Brothers Trail which traverses over 3 mountains named Brother 1, 2 and 3, then climbs Big Slide Mountain, one of the 46 ADK high peaks. To no surprise, @ram's advice was spot on, as this was a beautiful route. This route passes the Johns Brook Lodge (which ram references) which is where we stayed our second night. The JBL is operated by the Adirondack Mountain Club and was about a 7 mile hike to get to, but would only be a 3.5 mile hike taking the direct route to return to the trailhead the next morning.


A multitude of different loops and traverses begin at the Garden Lot, so it is always jam packed.


Not so much color down low on the trail.



As we climbed more color started to appear.


Unfortunately the clouds were hanging low earlier in the day so many of the views were at least partially obstructed.


Tyne handling a steep section that goes straight up a rock face.


And she's ok!


Before the clouds started to lift.





Much of the trail on the ridge is open rock like this.


The clouds were starting to lift here and there. This is looking at Brother 2 from Brother 1.



I learned how to stitch images thanks to BCP!


Down in the col between Brother 1 and 2 was a mossy little stream. I forgot to turn the stabilizer off on all of my long exposures which is why I think all of my water shots came out a little out of focus (learned this on BCP too!)


As we headed up Big Slide Mountain we could see that the top was frosted.


Tyne confirms it is indeed frost.


A view of the Great Range from the summit of Big Slide Mountain.


A stitched panorama of the Great Range. The pointy peak about an inch from the right edge is Mount Marcy, the tallest mountain in New York.


The trail from Big Slide down to the valley where the lodge is located follows a nice brook with some nice cascades.






And we made it to the lodge! We put socks and boots on the ledge of the fireplace, pulled our chairs up to the fire and cooked our dinner in the kitchen.


Tyne sitting next to the fire.

The next morning we were up at first light to start the 3.5 mile hike back to the car because Tyne had homework and I wanted to watch football. Unfortunately there was some drama. There was a couple who had reservations in the lodge for Fri, Sat, Sun. They spent Friday night at the lodge and early Saturday morning, they left their sleeping bags, etc. at the lodge and left for a long loop day hike to cover 3 high peaks. They never made it back to the lodge on Saturday night (the night we stayed). It was in the low 30’s in the valley that night and definitely colder up high. Since they didn’t have sleeping bags or tents and it was hypothermia temps, a SAR was being organized at the lodge as we left. A few hours later after we were done hiking, we saw a helicopter fly from the Great Range and land in a field next to an ambulance. I assumed it was them. I inquired on the ADK High Peaks forum and found out later that the couple was fine and eventually returned to the lodge later that morning after we had left and that the helicopter was for someone else who had sustained an injury.

My inquiry on the ADK High Peaks forum:

Well, it was nice to see some color even though it wasn't perfectly timed. I'll be heading up north again this weekend in search of foliage. This time I'll be trading New York for Vermont and bringing my dog instead of my wife (which means I can trade the bunks for my tent).

Thanks for reading!

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May 3, 2013
Wow! Those colors will be popping the next few weeks up there. Looking forward to more of your TR's. Gotta love fall!
Heading into the southern Appalachians this weekend for 3 days. Very little change-over down here, peak looks to be 3 weeks out at the earliest.


Jul 5, 2014
Wow! Those colors will be popping the next few weeks up there. Looking forward to more of your TR's. Gotta love fall!
Heading into the southern Appalachians this weekend for 3 days. Very little change-over down here, peak looks to be 3 weeks out at the earliest.

Nice! I'm not sure where you're going but would you be able to find some color if you get up higher in elevation asumming you don't run into alpine zone (which I don't think happens in the southern Appalachians anyways right?). When I was in Shenandoah earlier this year I didn't see any alpine vegetation, even up near the summits.
Last edited:


May 3, 2013


one step at a time
Jul 29, 2013
such beautiful fall foliage @Vegan.Hiker - thanks for sharing!
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