Where: Little and Big Crow Mountains –Keane, NY
When: October 20, 2011 12:00PM – 3:30 PM
Directions: Take Northway (I-87) exit 30.
Go northwest on NY route 9/73 toward Keene. Take a right on Hurricane Road (along Town Hall). Go 2.2 miles up Hurricane Rd, keep eyes peeled for red trail marker and a small stone staircase on left….if you reach O’Toole Road, go back +- 200 yards. Park along shoulder across the road, just below trailhead.
Distance: 3.1 miles (looped trail) Starting at Little Crow trailhead, hike to Big Crow/Nun-da-Gao parking area. Finish by walking one mile down O’Toole Road.
If you are looking for a easy to moderate 3.5+- hour hike filled with spectacular views of high peaks and the historic Keene Valley, than take a “Pause for the Caws” on Little and Big Crow Mountains.
Taking this less traveled trailhead you can reach the 1st ledges in 15-20 minutes getting immediate enjoyment with amazing views of the Great Range, Cascade Mountain, the Sentinel Range, and Keene Valley.
The trail is a bit steep but the footing is good along the ledges, marked with blazes,
markers and cairns. The views improve with each step upwards and are breathtaking from the summit. It’s beyond peak foliage but the colors are wonderful and everywhere, including a multi-colored carpeted trail of leaves. The darkly clouded sky is opening up a little and dozens of the suns golden rays are lighting up the surrounding peaks like a Broadway Stage.
The trail levels off once you’ve reached the top of the western apex of the mountain. It’s a great spot to take some pictures and enjoy lunch. Scrambling along the many outlooks you have a panorama of views including Whiteface and several high peeks.
Continuing to follow the red trail markers, after a few ups and downs, you reach the eastern ledge and are face to face with a dramatic view of Big Crow Mountain. Watch for the red trail marker that leads from the ledge to the cul between the Crows. You soon are climbing up the ledges of Big Crow. Be sure to look back at the super views of Little Crow and it’s surrounding forest.
Once on top of Big Crow you’ll find the views even more engaging. The forest is a sea of sweeping fall colors contrasting with a bright blue sky and cotton ball clouds. It’s a mini-universe up here and the surreal afternoon continues as a cawing crow floats overhead.
The trail from Big Crow’s summit to O’Toole Road is about .8 miles. Fallen leaves and
moisture from an earlier rainfall lend further caution to an intital steep descent. The last few tenths of a mile are easy to negotiate and lead to a large parking area.
You’ll also find a trailhead leading to Hurricane Mountain and the six-mile loop on Nun-da-Gao Ridge. This wonderful looped hike, not including a summit of Hurricane, is a quiet combination of ridge and forest hiking. It takes at least four to five hours for the average hiker.
The hike out on O’Toole Road is about one mile of downhill on a well maintained dirt road. The contrasting views, while looking upward, are a pleasant accompaniment for the remaining 45 minutes of the hike. You also may meet a few locals out walking their dogs or a mountain biker out for a workout on this well traveled road. We all have one thing in common, very large contagious smiles. A pleasant phenomenon frequently occurring while Outside, Inside the Adirondacks!