We took a family vacation in October of 2014 to Lake Placid, New York. Leading into the planning for that trip I looked at the hiking options for the area. As luck would have it, Backpacker Magazine detailed some amazing hikes in which one could see the bounty of autumn colors. One of the spreads included Mt. Jo, which is a 2900 foot mountain in the middle of the Adirondacks with a spectacular view of Heart Lake and more late year colors than you can handle.
Unfortunately for us… we missed the peak colors by a week. Nonetheless, this short 4.0 mile circuit with about 700 feet elevation (up to a peak of 2876 feet) is a really nice hike for beginners, families, or anyone who wants some great views of the Adirondacks.
To locate the Mt. Jo Trail you have to locate Adirondack Loj, which is south of Lake Placid, New York. Adirondack Loj is the epicenter of several different hikes of varying distances. There are two different routes up Mt. Jo, as you can see in the picture above. The first route, which we took, is a more vertical and direct ascent. The other route is a circuitous trail which is a bit more gradual, but still with some steep grades. We took this route on the way down.
Despite the fact that my three-year old was completely tearing up the trail, he hit a wall with the boulders because he could not climb over them. I threw him on my back and headed the rest of the way up. I had not had a pack on my back since Denali, so it was a good work out with 45 pounds of wiggling and jiggling.
As we approached the top of Mt. Jo, it was a bit overcast. I was hoping for blue skies and big puffy clouds, but I can’t get that on every trip! The view nonetheless was just spectacular, and one that we enjoyed for quite sometime as we had a snack on the large, open rocky area at the top. We could see Heart Lake and the surrounding Adirondacks. Most of the yellows had already fallen, which left all the other autumn colors for us to take in. For such a short hike, it was well worth the view.
We made a quick trip back to the bottom. The little man was ready for a nap. Overall I was please with how he did…and how the family, as a whole, did. The entire hike took us close to fours hours, which accounts for our breaks. Of course, we wanted to see Heart Lake and get some pictures before we left. I am glad that we did. It was beautiful.