It’s Easter Sunday. Dinner is at 2:00. How does one get a nice hike in while still making it to dinner? The possibilities are numerous. I needed a short hike but still wanted a view. many of the shorter hikes can provide all of the exercise one needs, but do not offer the reward of a great view. Poke-O-Moonshine would be perfect in this situation, but I wanted to visit some different scenery. Bring on Scarface Mountain. Not just a popular children’s movie villan or 1980’s cult film, it’s also a mountain in Ray Brook New York. This low peak is just over 3,000 feet with a total round trip hike under 8 miles. Scarface Mountain sits in the town of Ray Brook between the towns of Saranac lake and Lake Placid just off of Route 86. The trail head is easy to find only 1/10th of a mile down Raybrook Rd.
My hiking partner and I anticipated that we would have the trail to ourselves while everyone else was already deep within their Easter traditions. We didn’t have the trail to ourselves, but we might as well have considering the frequency of running into other hikers. Today’s hike is my equivalent to an Easter egg hunt for people over 30. The weatherman was calling for some less than pristine conditions with a good chance of snow and rain until 2:00, but that never stops me from getting outside to breathe some clean Adirondack air.
With bags packed for every possible weather scenario (under 40 degrees), we begin. The Scarface trail is a nearly level trail for all but the last mile. This nearly level terrain brings with it back country hikers, trail runners, and mountain bike enthusiasts alike. The trail immediately started in a thick pine forest with a mossy substrate as far as the eye could see off the trail. The beautiful carpet of moss covering the forest floor and a foot or more up the base of each of the trees was a welcome addition to the brown colors of this early spring day. The pine forest and mossy floor are by large the most common sight along the level sections of the trail. Pine forests bring with them pine roots. Some sections can be considered a “tripper trail” with the number of exposed tree roots on the path. It’s easy to trip along as you gaze off.
The trail meets up with a babbling brook near the steeper portion. The sound of the water rolling over rocks, birds chirping in the distance, and sights of the green moss lends itself to a moment of rest before the hike takes a much steeper turn. Past the tranquility of the brook, the forest quickly turns from tall pines to a sparse mixed hardwood forest, boulders and glacial erratics. It also marks the portion of the trail that climbs steeply to the top.
This relatively short, one mile, steep climb is worth the visit. The view I was looking for awaited just below the treed summit on a narrow rock outcrop that faces to the west with views into a valley surrounded by the high peaks and holding in it some of the best canoe and kayak lakes in the Adirondack Park.
This Easter I managed to get in a beautiful hike all before making it to dinner with my family. I never did find an Easter egg, but I did find the beauty and serenity that I was looking for. Scarface Mountain might not hold a place in the top hikes in the Adirondacks, but it certainly holds in it’s boundaries a great place for anyone looking to save time while still getting out in the Adirondack air to enjoy the wild of the Adirondack Park.