Balm of Gilead Mountain Cliffs, NY

I’ve wanted to post about the cliffs on Balm of Gilead Mountain for quite a while now. We hike up to the outcrop regularly, but I never seem to get pictures that represent the true beauty of the view.

Balm of Gilead Mountain sign

My last walk was no different, except this time I’m posting.

For me the hike starts from the Garnet Hill Lodge Ski Center in North River, NY. It’s not an official trailhead, but it’s probably ok to park here in the summer when lodge demand for parking is lower than it is in winter.  If you’d like to use this access point, I’d recommend asking for permission in the ski shop or in the lodge.

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The Peaked Mountain Pond Trail, NY

The Peak Mountain hike at the northern end of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness is normally reserved for clear days, to take advantage of sweeping views from the summit. But with forecasts calling for thunderstorms later in the day, I was looking for a close-to-home hiking option, so I could be at the trailhead early.

Twin Pines campsite on 13th Lake.
Balm of Gilead from Thirteenth Lake

I hadn’t been up the Peaked Mountain Pond Trail in several years, so I decided to go for it. The morning dawned clear, and I had visions of snagging fleeting views from the top. I made it to the trailhead at the end of the Beach Road at 7am.

As I walked along the shore of Thirteenth Lake, I could see that Balm of Gilead summit was in and out of the mist, and I knew the odds of seeing anything from the summit of Peaked were slim.

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The Halfway Brook Trail

The Halfway Brook Trail was another traditional path through the Garnet Hills, in the Southern Adirondacks. It was used by locals for decades prior to the land’s inclusion into the Forest Preserve. In the 1930s, it was traveled by mine workers moving from their North River living quarters to the mine each day. In the last 50 years, the trail has been used mostly during the winter by backcountry skiers.

William Blake Pond.
William Blake Pond

Halfway Brook Trail now officially extends all the way to the old farm road, absorbing (and shortening) a trail that had been called “Overlook” on the Garnet Hill trail map for years. I was never sure if Overlook was actually a new name for part of the Halfway Brook Trail, or something truly distinct.  To further complicate things, the first section of the trail, became known as the William Blake Pond Trail — another result of the way lodge guests used the route.

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