On July 2-3, 2016, we did the Seward range in a 2-day hike. On the first day, we hiked Seymour (1,247m - 4,091ft) and summited Seward (1,325m - 4,347ft), Donaldson (1,252m - 4,108ft) and Emmons (1,231m - 4,039ft) on the second day. You will get four 46er peaks with this trip. Black flies and mosquitos were still present.
We left Montreal at 6am on Saturday morning and headed straight to the Trailhead by Ampersand road. In the summer you can park directly at the trailhead, however, if you do this hike in the winter you have to park at the winter parking lot which adds another 3 miles (one-way) to your hike. At 10:30 am we started our hike. The first two hours follows along a marked foot path that is fairly flat. After about 15 min, you will reach a crossing, where the foot trail continues straight ahead and a horse trail to your right. We followed the foot trail as this is in better condition. After about 2 hrs (8.5 km), we reached the Ward Brook lean to which is the second out of four lean to's on this path. The Ward Brook lean to lies between the trail crossing for hiking Seward/Donaldson/Emmons and Seymour.
As it was a long weekend for Canadians (Canada day) and Americans (4th of July), there were a lot of people out there hiking. The first lean to was full and about 6 tents were pitched around it. The second lean to (Ward Brook) had 4 sleeping spots left, however, about 5 more tents were pitched around it as well. We reserved the four spots at the lean to and continued to the summit of Seymour with our day packs. From the lean to, you have to follow the same trail you were coming from for another 5min until you reach the trail that goes towards Seymour. All along the base of the trail, there is a water stream ideal for refilling your water. As it was raining the day before, the trail up towards Seymour was muddy. The path is quite steep all the way to the top and follows along the water stream for almost the complete trail. There are a lot of boulders and roots you have to climb over, but nothing to different from other trails in the Adirondacks. After 1.5 hrs (2.8 km), we reached the summit of Seymour. The way back to the lean to took us roughly 1hr, so that we finished the first day with about 5.5 hrs of hiking for a distance of 16km.
We woke up at 6am on Sunday morning and were on the trail by 7:15am. We packed all of our stuff and left it by the trail intersection to Seward mountain to continue the ascent with our day packs only. There are again plenty of spots to refill your water if you have a water filter or treatment tablets. The trail is slowly ascending for the first part of the trail and gets steeper after a while. Again, the trail was quite muddy and we reached the summit at of Seward at 9:30 am, after about 2 hrs 15 min (4.75 km) beyond the lean to. On the other side you descend around 110 m (360 ft) and walk back up about 70m (340 ft) to summit Donaldson mountain, which we reached at 11:00 am. Just shortly before the summit, you will reach a cross-section, the summit trail is towards your left and to your right is a trail that goes back to the parking lot. Most day hikers, come up this path and summit Seward/Donaldson/Emmons from there in a day. We, however, decided to leave our heavy overnight backpacks by the lean to's so that we had to go back the same way we came from (that means summiting Seward twice). The trail from Seward to Donaldson took us about 1hr. From there you head over to the final 46 er for the day, Emmons. The trail is another 1.5 km and it took us about 55 min to get there, so that we were there at 11:50am. The best views you can from Donaldson, so we went back over there for our lunch break. At 2:10am, we were on the summit of Seward again and were heading back down to our backpacks. The descend is again fairly steep and muddy. We reached the trail-crossing and our backpacks at 4:15pm. After a refreshing feet-in-the-cold-water dipping, we continued our way back to the trail head and reached our car at 7pm.
Here the stats for the 2-day trip:
DAY 1 - SEYMOUR
Hiking time: 5 hrs 30 min
Elevation gain: 1,571 m (5,154 ft)
Distance: 15.5 km (9.6 miles)
DAY 2 - SEWARD/DONALDSON/EMMONS
Hiking time: 11 hrs 55 min
Elevation gain: 2,297 m (7,536 ft)
Distance: 23.8 km (14.8 miles)
|Freshly made Ratatouille at our camp|
|Just before the summit of Seward Mountain.|
|View from Donaldson towards Seward Mountain.|