Route: Adirondack Dix Range Traverse (NY)

New York, US
15.5 mi
Vertical Gain
5,420 ft

Posted by Mark Coates:

I'd like to start an FKT thread for the Dix range in the Adirondacks.

When I was preparing for my trip this past July, I saw on Wikipedia that doing the whole range in a day was a popular route for speed-hikers. So I assumed that there would be an established FKT, and being a slow old man, that my time would be much slower. So I wasn't very careful about confirming the details of my hike. Someone should go there soon and do a better job than I did! When I got back, I searched around for the FKT, and couldn't find one. I suspect someone may have done this traverse faster as part of an ADK46 FKT, but I've been unable to find a time posted for this route alone. Although my time was pretty pedestrian, I hope it's worthwhile to post it here in hopes that others will lower it soon. It was a terrific loop with a nice variety of steady uphill slogs, some mildly technical scrambling, and a few runnable section. I highly recommend this traverse, which is much more accessible than the GRT.

Route description: Park at the Elk Lake trailhead. Follow the maintained trail northeast, choosing one of the two routes (Hunter's Pass or Buckhorn) to the summit of Dix. From Dix, follow the unofficial trail south to Hough and South Dix, and then east to East Dix. Then turn around, return to South Dix, and continue to Macomb. From the summit of Macomb, descend along the slide then the unofficial trail or the brook to the maintained trail that leads back to the parking lot. The summits can also be done in the counter-clockwise direction (Macomb, South Dix, East Dix, South Dix, Hough, Dix). For someone who hasn't visited the range before, I would recommend the counter-clockwise route, since I think you will have an easier time finding the route up Macomb than I did finding the route down.

My run: I arrived at the parking lot at 7:30am and left my car at 7:30am on July 15, 2015. The entire run was unsupported. I started my Spot GPS on tracker mode, but due to cloud and tree cover I did not get a signal through until I reached the peak of Dix at around 10:00am. I followed the route described above (the clockwise route), taking breaks and photos at each of the summits. Apart from a small party 200m from the parking lot, I did not see any other hikers until the saddle between Hough and South Dix; after that point I encountered two or three more parties on South Dix and between South and East Dix. When descending Macomb, I missed the beginning of the unofficial trail at the bottom of the slide. Instead, I continued down the brook, bushwhacking where needed, until I reached the official trail at the Slide Brook campsite. By that point I was pretty wiped and wasn't running much. I made it back to the car a little before 3:30pm.

I posted my trip reports here (posted under my middle name): and here:

Let me know if you have any questions. And please, someone go and do this traverse properly!


Note that there is a Strava segment for this route:

GPS Track


User Picture
Profile picture for user FrankieDiSomma07

On August 2, 2019, I ran the Dix Range Traverse via the route noted about in 3 hours 49 minutes and 49 seconds. I started and ended at the trailhead from the Elk Lake Road Parking Lot. 

Descending from Macomb I made it down the scree field farily unscathed. However, after hoping on the trail that runs parallel to the brook I sent it a little too hard and smacked the top of my head against a downed tree. After being knocked down for a moment, I got back up and started running only to find that my hat was soaked in blood. Blood started gushing down my face but I quickly gathered myself and ran the last 4 miles to the parking lot as quick as possible knowing that I needed to get my head looked at. Luckily I only needed three staples but without a hat it could have been much worse. 

PSA: Always send it hard but watch out for trees!