Mile-long Avalanche Lake is nestled in the bottom of Avalanche Pass, a low
route running between Avalanche Mt. and the MacIntyre Range (Algonquin, Iroquois, and Wright) to the west, and Mt. Colden to the east. The hike through the
pass, frequented by Nordic skiers in the winter, is one of the most
beautiful in the Adirondacks. The trail is very rugged and is not for the
faint of heart, due to the numerous scrambles that must be made over and
around various boulders. The trail follows along the west edge of the lake,
sometimes requiring the use of catwalks bolted to the rock face of Avalanche
Mt. These catwalks are known as "Hitch-up Matildas" because prior
to the existence of the walkways, a guide was carrying a young woman named
Matilda through the Pass. As the water became deeper, her sister repeatedly
urged Matilda to "hitch-up" in order to remain dry.
Excellent views are afforded up towards the summit of Mt. Colden, and of the
Trap Dike on Colden (see the geological
history page for information and a photo of this impressive cleft in Mt.
Colden). The trail to the north of Avalanche Lake was completely obliterated
by a slide on Mt. Colden during the torrential downpours of Hurricane Floyd
in the summer of 1999. The trail was cleared by the efforts of many
volunteers and professionals, and is again open. However, in an attempt to
live up to its name, the Avalanche Pass trail will remain very susceptible
to avalanches and landslides over the next few years.
Looking north from the south end of Avalanche Lake.
The trail goes along the base of the cliffs to the left, and Mt. Colden is to the right.
Looking down on Avalanche Pass from the summit of Mt. Colden.