Scenic and Destination Hikes Adirondack Park Region
State Rt 3, 8.1 miles west from Saranac Lake
Length: a 5 mile round trip
Other Info: Are you a Saranac 6er? Hike all 6 peaks in a day (Ultra), in the winter, or whenever you can. Kick off weekend May 25-27, 2013. Details on www.saranaclake.com or www.saranaclake6er.com.
Ampersand Mountain sits on the confluence of the flat North and High Peaks regions of the Adirondacks. An extremely popular hike, it offers a varied experience as you transition from a gentle walk through tall hemlocks to a steep ascent over boulder stairs. Passage through enormous craggy boulders takes you to the bald summit, from which the lake sprawls out beneath you to the north and High Peaks can be seen in the distance to the south.1
The first 1.7 miles of the hike is a tranquil, idyllic "walk in the woods." The trail is basically flat, going over various streams and through deep beautiful forest. The last mile is a totally different experience, as you need to ascend 1300 ft. As you reach the 3352-foot summit, watch for yellow paint blazes and trail markers. Once you break out onto the bald summit you will be amazed at openness of the views.2
Plan on 3 hours to the summit for families with young kids and half that for an experienced hiker. Consider taking a swim at Middle Saranac Lake/Ampersand Beach after your climb. Just follow the ½ mile trail from the parking area.
The Adirondack Mountain Club High Peaks Region guidebook comments that the name for the peak apparently comes from Ampersand Creek, which was so named because it twisted and turned so much that it resembled the ampersand symbol, “&.”31 http://fivestaradk.com
3 High Peaks Region, 13th Edition, Adirondack Mountain Club, 2004