Northville-Placid Trail 2021 Winter

The Northville-Placid Trail (“NPT”) is a 138-mile/222km hiking trail that traverses the 6-million acre Adirondack Park in New York. The trail was built by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1924, traveling from Northville to Lake Placid, two towns that were easily accessible by rail in the 1920s. The trail generally follows waterways as it passes through the wildest and most remote parts of the Adirondack Park, including the high plateau that surrounds the Spruce, West Canada, and Cedar Lakes area, along with the Cold River. The highest point on the NPT is only 3008ft (917m), on a ridge east of Blue Mountain. The NPT offers solitude and opportunities for wildlife sightings of moose, loons, otter, beavers, deer, and bears. The journey through farmlands, hardwood forests, wetlands, lakes, streams, and waterfalls ends at Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 winter olympics.


Elevation profile, shown South to North:


This page is dedicated to the winter thru-hike I made in February 2021 with Mark Eis and Jim Daley. This trail is seldom traveled in winter, and finding information to plan a winter trip was difficult. But, with our combined 50 years of winter travel and camping experience as instructors with ADK’s Winter Mountaineering School, we had a solid foundation to start from. Our gear lists and hiking itinerary refected the conditions we expected to see – temperatures between 0-30F, a deep unconsolidated snowpack, a mostly unbroken and overgrown trail, and frequent snow squalls. We allowed for up to 3 weeks to complete the thru-hike, with a couple of zero/nero days in-between sections to resupply. My usual daily journal entries here are supplemented by those of Mark and Jim, to include their perspectives as well.

Daily Blog Posts:

Day 0: Roadwalk WarmupDay 0: Getting Ready for Bigfoot TrailDay 0: Getting Ready for Bigfoot Trail
Day 1: Into the High Peaks Wilderness
Day 2: Embracing the Suck
Day 3: Breakable Crust
Day 4: Tracks and Lakes
Day 5: Fast food, Slow climb
Day 6: Downhill to Tirrell Pond
Day 7: Stephens Pond
Day 8: It’s Always Snowing
Day 9: Following the Cedar River
Day 10: West Canada Lake Wilderness
Day 11: Back to Spruce Lake
Day 12: Into Piseco, New Friends and Old
Day 13: An Uphill Carwash
Day 14: An On-Trail Zero
Day 15: Skiing into the Sun
Day 16: Down to West Stony Creek
Day 17: Finishing in Northville