The Seward Range

Seward, Donaldson, Emmons and Seymour


Topographic map courtesy of National Geographic.

July, 2012

The Seward Range is  a group of 4 peaks in the northwest corner of the high peaks region. They are very isolated, and some of the most remote peaks we’ve visited yet. The trailhead is located on Corey’s Road, which is halfway between Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake.

As you can see from the topographic map below, there is only one way to attack the range, if you’re doing the entire range in only one visit. You need to hike in to the lean-tos at the base, and then have 2 separate days for hiking. Day 1 is tougher, climbing 2.1 miles up boulder-strewn paths to reach Seward (24th highest at 4361 ft). But then it is a treacherous descent down to Donaldson (33rd highest at 4140 ft.), and across the ridge to southernmost Emmons (40th highest at 4040 ft.). Now that you’ve gotten all 3 of those peaks, guess what? You have to go back the way you came, and hike up Donaldson. Worse even still, you have to ascend through steep chimney-like boulder slides up the back of Seward again. It is exhausting. So even though you got credit for 3 peaks that day, you actually climbed up 5! Then it is a long, slow and incredibly technical decent down Seward.

Day 2 is a shorter 1.4 mile climb up the lonely Seymour (34th highest at 4140 ft.). The trail is quite surprisingly different than it’s next door neighbor, Seward. Instead of a boulder-strewn streambed, it is mostly a soft dirt trail, which was nice. But, there were tons of slippery tree roots to navigate, so caution was necessary. There was a steep section near the top that was a wet rock slide, which required slow navigation though...

Planning this trip was difficult, in that I didn’t know if it should be a 3-day trip, or a 4-day trip. I trusted that my training would be sufficient enough for me to do this range in 3 days, so we went ahead with that more ambitious plan. Here is the result of that, in detail...

From let to right, Emmons, Donaldson, Seward and Seymour, as seen from Couchsachraga to the south.





(Part of my Original 46er quest)