Allen Mountain


We chose to tackle Allen Mountain (26th highest at 4,340 ft.) in two days. Please note that at the time of planning this trip, I was following another hiker’s website who had recommended an old campsite at the base of Allen, at Skylight Brook. This sounded very ideally placed for our journey. When we got there, we didn’t encounter or see any “no camping” signs, and in fact, there were clearly flat areas and log benches indicating a campsite area, so we camped there. Years have now passed, and it is more clearly apparent that this area used to be a campsite, but is not to be used anymore. It has been removed from hiking maps now, and “no camping” signs have been placed on trees. So if you wish to make Allen a 2-day hike like we did, you may find that there really are no good campsites along the way, and that this may prove impossible. Consequently, you should really consider Allen a day trip only.

Now, back to how we attacked Allen: we did the long flat hike to the campsite at the base of the mountain the first day, a Saturday. Then at first light the next morning, (Sunday), we climbed to the summit with smaller day packs and and then back down to camp, ate a quick lunch, packed up tents and backpacks and hiked back out to the cars. So that was 6.7 miles on day one, and an exhausting 9.4 miles on day two.

The hike to get to Allen Mountain is long and difficult. While the first section, (in red in the map below), is generally pretty “flat”, it isn’t without some ups and downs, especially once it turns off the official DEC marked trail, 5.2 miles in. After that, you’re on a marked herd path, where you start climbing, then falling down into the Skylight Brook valley. This part gets more difficult with full packs on.

The terrain is extremely varied; ranging from cedar-lined dirt paths, to mud-holes, to beaver dam flooded bogs, to grassy Savanna, to a plank crossing across a lake. And that’s all just to get to the base of the mountain itself.

The trail then quickly ascends Allen, following Allen Brook. It is shown in dark blue on the map below, where you climb almost 2000 feet in a mere 1.35 miles to the summit. A majority of that is up a steep and slimy wet open rock slide. Yes, this ascent is dangerous, ladies and gentlemen.

Compounding things significantly was the ever-noticeable effects of Hurricane Irene, which hit a couple of months previous to our hike. We had to hike around, over, and under countless downed trees, which is inconvenient, to say the least. Worse yet, there were 2 river crossings which used to have footbridges, (the Hudson and the Opalescent), but we were forced to remove our socks and boots, and wade across.

The pictures below tell the story much better, so without any further ado, enjoy...

Topographic map courtesy of National Geographic

October 2011



The hiking crew. From left to right: Andy, Pete, Jonathan, me, Chris and Tanner.

The trailhead for the East River Trail, (which is marked with yellow markers)

Just a mere 0.1 miles in, and we have trouble. The footbridge that crosses the Hudson River was severely damaged during Hurricane Irene. We’re forced to cross upstream a bit, through the river.

Crossing the river, with boots in hand, pant legs rolled up, and cold toes!

This is the shattered remains of the former footbridge over the Hudson.

Ahh, with that nastiness out of the way, we can start progressing faster down the trail.

Saturday – Trailhead to Skylight Brook – 6.7 miles

Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes

(Part of my Original 46er quest)