Bald Peak & Blueberry Cobbles
Scenic and Destination Hikes Adirondack High Peaks
Lot on Rt 9, 4.9 miles north of Rt 73 junction
Length: a 6.8 mile round trip
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Other Info: NOTE: Multiple sources list the hike to Bald Peak as 3.9 miles, however the GIS software computes this as only 3.4 miles for a 6.8 mile round trip.
Bald Peak at 3060 ft, offers good views in all directions. In season, Blueberry Cobbles is aptly named and a delightful stop along the way.
The following hiker’s experience from an All Points North blog is included for your enjoyment, http://www.apnmag.com/summer_2009/Kittle_bald%20peak%20review.php
As the name implies, Bald Peak’s summit is mostly treeless and affords a view that justifies the effort required to reach it. And yes, this hike does take a fair amount of effort. The grades range from easy to very steep, especially near the summit, but the trail winds its way through so many fine overlooks that I never felt guilty stopping to ‘admire the view’.
Leaving the parking area on the level, the path heads straight into a beautiful, open forest before crossing a small stream. Turning left, the path climbs away from the stream at a moderate grade and rejoins it at just under a mile. Here the brook is a mossy, tumbling affair, lined with large rocks and decaying logs, adding pleasant background music and rich, earthy smells to the trail as it ascends to the base of Blueberry Cobbles, the first of two small mountains that stand in the way of Bald.
An example of thoughtful trail design, the path keeps to a level area as it skirts around the series of rocky outcrops that ring the Cobble, effectively circumnavigating the steepest sections. As soon as there is an opening, the trail turns left and heads up, alternating between moderate and steep pitches along the way. The first of many views is indicated by a small sign that simply says “view”. I felt compelled to check it out, and was rewarded with a glimpse of my destination, Bald Peak.
Continuing on, the path maintains its moderate ascension before reaching a short, flat stretch that ends with a fork. A sign on a tree clearly marks the way; right is a short cut and left leads up to Blueberry Cobbles. I am not the type to opt for the easier route, so I turned left and made my way up to the mostly open, hump-like crest of Blueberry Cobbles.
The view here is decent, but it’s the trees, nestled between carpets of lichen and bare rock, that make the setting worthwhile. Twisted and broken from exposure, some of the smaller pines have a bonsai look, while the larger pines and white birches are utterly mangled. I took my time here and explored the nuances of the gnarled fauna, delighting in its crooked posture and uncooperative approach to mortality. Distracted by fascination, I rounded a bend in the path and found myself face to face with Bald Peak, now much closer and significantly more imposing. The view alone makes the climb up Blueberry Cobbles worthwhile, and it is to the trail designer’s credit that the path includes it.
Inspired by the climb ahead, I ignored the urge to linger and followed the route steeply down to the notch between Blueberry Cobbles and Weston Mountain, where it merges with the short cut. The trail is steep as it climbs Weston, winding up small rock slabs and climbing over exposed roots to the summit, which offers good views back to the Cobbles. To my delight, the trail wastes no time dipping down the north side of Weston, after which it makes a short bee-line to the base of Bald Peak.
Feeling confident and eager to reach Bald’s rocky crown, I immediately began the unrelentingly steep climb up the side of the mountain. After just minutes my pace slowed as I was confronted by section after section of precipitous open rock. On a mountain like Bald, there is no other route for a trail to follow. It must go straight up; the only other options are cliffs or thickets of balsam so dense they will slice open your flesh. This is where the real fun is, where a hiker can see the elevation gain as it occurs, where the use of hands is required to keep moving forward, where the threat of falling off the mountain is not idle. It is where I feel most at peace, and this trail has finally delivered.
More experienced hikers may want to continue on to Rocky Peak Ridge and Giant Mountain (not shown).