Scenic and Destination Hikes Adirondack High Peaks
Length: 11.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 4,714 ft. Elevation change: 2404 ft.
Mount Colden is the eleventh highest peak in the High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. The peak is named after David S. Colden, an investor in the McIntyre Iron Works, in 1836. The peak was briefly renamed "Mount McMartin" the next year, but the older name persisted. The mountain is known for its distinctive Trap Dike, a large crevice running up the center of the mountain, which can clearly be seen from Avalanche Lake.1
There are two maintained trails up Mount Colden. The first, which approaches from the northeast (shown above), passes by Lake Arnold before ascending the summit after crossing over several false summits. The second trail, which is steeper, approaches from the southwest, starting from Lake Colden. Both approaches can be attained from the popular Adirondak Loj trailhead. Additionally, the summit of Mount Colden can be reached by climbing the Trap Dike from Avalanche Lake. This approach leads to a long slide and a short bushwhack to the summit. This last approach does not follow a maintained trail, is extremely steep in places, and should be used with caution.1
Its east side is dominated by a number of large slides, which have stripped off a lot of its vegetation. The peak is usually less crowed than Marcy and Algonquin but do expect a few dozen people on it most weekends. Not to be missed is the trail on Avalanche Lake, which gives an impressive view back up the mountain and no end of ladders, bridges, rocks and the famous 'Hitch ‘er up Matildas'. 2