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It's crazy for me to say, but I'm wondering if the Adirondacks are the place to be in the fall. The vibrant colors were better than the Whites this year. But the Dacks also got much more precipitation than the Whites did, which could account for that. In any event, Crane Mountain is an absolute must do fall hike south of the High Peaks.
Lauren and I were joined by Alex, Nonay, and Katy for the short 3.5-4ish mile loop. It immediately rises close to 1000 feet in the first mile without stopping. The views on the way are absolutely stunning though.
We scrambled up some ledges and saw quite a few people. Even though it's in a remote area, social media has likely made this hike into one of the most popular in the area.
At our first junction, we headed toward the summit and continued on an easy, flat path until it climbed a small ladder, and then a longer one up toward the summit block.
The ladder was in good shape and everyone enjoyed the ascent. The perfect views at the top foreshadowed what was to come.
At the summit, we saw autumn in full action. Yellow, golds, greens, reds, and oranges swept over the valley below. Because Crane Mountain is so short, you get to see them up front and center relative to the adjacent landscape. We spent a good bit of time on the summit and then continued along our loop, stopping multiple times to see other vantages which were even better than the summit.
The trail down to the pond was short and easy, but the pond proper was surprisingly uneventful relative to the views we had from the top. Many of the trees were pine, so they were all green.
But as we continued our loop, we got some more pleasant views while we descended some slabby ledges.
We finished the loop on an easy trail that actually rose a bit on the way back to the car since we dropped down so much. It wasn't too bad though.
Overall, Crane Mountain was a simply astounding little gem that would be even better to explore during the week when the crowds are slimmer.
Total Time: 2 hrs 38 mins
Total Distance: ~4.07 miles (Garmin Fenix 5x Plus)
Total Elevation Gain: ~1476 vertical gain