From Elizabethtown, head west on Route 9N for about 4.5 miles. The parking area is on the left.
Snowshoeing Giant Mountain
Giant Mountain in winter is a serious endeavor that should only be attempted after tackling a few of the area's smaller mountains. Snowshoes are required and will suffice on the generally well-packed trail, but snow spikes are highly recommended for the steep upper reaches of the mountain. This is especially important on the descent.
Expect a significant drop in temperature as elevation is gained, and be prepared for strong winds on the open summit ledge. Always bring extra layers, especially for higher elevations, and don't hesitate to turn around if the weather starts to turn.
Giant is a shortened name for the peak that was originally called Giant of the Valley, and that's exactly what it is — a huge landmass that towers over the surrounding valleys. Be aware that this a long, steep, strenuous climb that is not suited for beginners. If you're not an experienced hiker consider doing a less demanding trail, like those at the nearby Blueberry Hill Trails, before attempting Giant.
Giant Mountain's North Trail leaves the parking area along a dirt driveway, which it follows for a short distance before dropping into the woods. From here it's an easy climb for the first mile to a crossing of Slide Brook, then it becomes a steady, but never steep, uphill walk. The trail rounds out atop a ridge at 2.5 miles, where there's a short, steep, 0.1 mile spur trail to Owl Head Lookout on the left. If you're already tired at this point, consider making the lookout your destination for the day — the trail up Giant will get more difficult.
Continuing past the junction, the trail travels down into a valley before climbing to an open maple grove at 3.4 miles. Check out the view that's just past the grove on the left. The trail descends briefly then begins to climb more steeply to a large glacial bank called High Bank at 4.1 miles. The trail continues its long ascent of Giant, passing a lean-to at 5.7 miles before easing off a bit. Enjoy this easy stretch — the trail begins to steeply climb at 6.1 miles, it levels off again after 0.7 miles, then it again begins climbing to a nice ledge at 7.2 miles. From here the trail is pretty easy as it approaches the summit at 7.4 miles, where there are outstanding views of the Eastern High Peaks, including the Great Range.
- Elevation: 4,627 feet
- Elevation gain: 3,327 feet
- Distance: 7.4 miles
- Giant Mountain is the 12th highest peak in the Adirondacks
- Giant can also be approached by first climbing Rocky Peak Ridge
There is a lean-to at the 5.7-mile mark on the North Trail to Giant.