Colvin was named after Verplank Colvin assistant the great surveyor of the Adirondack Park. Colvin is often climbed with Blake Peak – due to it being along the same ridge and located conveniently behind Colvin
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 39 on the 46er list.
This is a very demanding climb in winter and should not be passed off as a walk in the park or a stroll. Mountaineering skills and proper equipment is a must. Look at our checklist for gear you should have for attempting a summit bid. Heavy and deep snow fall is frequent. The peak is a bit sheltered by trees so wind is not usually an issue. Primary Trail is best for winter ascent and most often broke out quickly.
Colvin has three distinctive trails to the summit, where only two are typically used; the third is located in an area where extensive hiking is involved and a multi-day excursion almost a necessity. Colvin offers outstanding views of the Ausable Lakes as well as the Great Range.
Consider combining the AMR and Elk Lake trails below for a longer TWO CAR loop.
AMR Trailhead: This is the most popular route and leaves from the AMR. Leave Lake Placid on Rte 73, follow Rte 73 through Keene and Keene Valley and into Saint Huberts. Parking is across the road from the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead for Giant Mountain.
This is a 12.5 mile RT with mixed terrain. The hike starts along a road for 0.75 miles to a wooden gate, where you will continue along a dirt road for an additional 2.5 miles before you enter a foot trail. The foot trail starts off very moderate but continues to get steeper in sections. The final approach to Mount Colvin gets very steep and it helps to have a bit of a boost or hand from a friend. After taking the winning views from Colvin you can work your way along the ridge and descend steeply into the col with Blake. For more information on that see the second approach below.
Elk Lake Trailhead: This route leaves from Elk Lake; Leave Lake Placid following Rte 73 to Interstate 87. Get off at exit 29 and follow the Blue Ridge Road toward Newcomb. Look for Elk Lake Road on the right in about 4-5 miles; follow it to its end.
This is a 21.0 mile RT with a moderate to steep ascent. Starting along the trail to Panther Gorge and Mount Marcy you will drop to cross The Branch before starting a flat approach to the beginning of a wet hike to the shoulder of the Pinnacle Ridge and then drop slightly to the Pinnacle Ridge Trail. From this point the trail is very demanding and encompasses several smaller peaks with no official names. There is a spur trail to the summit of Pinnacle, which is recommended for outstanding views. Blake will be at the end of the ridge.
From Blake you drop down very steeply through a highly eroded area where footing is difficult. From the col you will pass the third trail outlined below and then start an equally steep ascent up Colvin. There are a couple excellent viewing areas along the ridge to enjoy along the way. It is recommended to continue the traverse over Colvin and out to the AMR and a second car, unless an overnight is planned this round-trip outing would be too demanding for most hikers. As a warning~~ There is no water along the Pinnacle Ridge and none to be had until well off the other side of Colvin, be prepared and bring lots of H2O.
Elevator Shaft Trailhead: This route is also named the elevator shaft because of its very steep terrain. It is typically used for a winter ascent when the lake is frozen. In summer the hike would involve traversing Sawteeth. Start you hike in the same location as the primary trail.
This is a 24 mile RT and may require the hiker to have an overnight as an option unless it was combined with the primary route as a descent route. The hike starts along a road for 0.75 miles to a wooden gate, where you will continue along a dirt road for an additional 3.3 miles to Lower Ausable Lake. Here you will follow the trail up and over Sawteeth and locate the trail that leads to Upper Ausable Lake.
This trail gets very light use but is a very scenic one. This will deliver you to Upper Ausable Lake and eventually to the Elevator Shaft that lead to the col between Blake and Colvin. From the top of the Elevator Shaft you will join the secondary route outlined above. It is recommended you use the primary trail as a descent route for a quicker and less demanding return to the trailhead for a one-car loop.
12.5 to 23 mile RT, challenging route requiring stamina, Elevation: 4057’ Ascent: 2130'
Family with Young Kids: not recommended – all trails
Experienced Hiker: AMR trail – 3 to 4 hours to summit, Elk Lake trail – 6 to 7 hours to summit, Elevator Shaft trail – 8 to 9 hours to summit
Out of Shape Hiker: not recommended – all trails