Hough can be climbed by itself but rarely is, in many cases is combined with the rest or parts of the Dix Range. The Dix Range also includes South Dix (Carson Peak), East Dix (Grace Peak) Dix Mountain, and Macomb Mountain.
Hough isn’t the big boy of the range but it does offer some unique and mind blowing views of the area. Hough is possibly the most memorable of the 5-Dix Peaks. The climb you will find for Hough is one of the tougher in the range with tight herd-path conditions and rock scrambling to boot.
This Adirondack 46 High Peak is number 23 on the list.
While Hough can be climbed from many directions, below is the description for climbing this unique peak by itself.
Take Exit 29 on I87, and follow the Blue Ridge Road to the west, toward Newcomb. Continue for 4-miles to Elk Lake Road on the right. Follow this road to the hiker parking, near it end. This is a 12.5-mile RT when doing Hough by itself, using the Lillian Brook Herd-path. You will start by following a well-used trail to Dix past Slide Brook Lean-to to a cairn marking the start of the herd-path just over one mile past the lean-to. (If you come to Lillian Brook Lean-to, you've missed the turn.)
The herd-path starts at the cairn and quickly becomes wet as it approaches drainage. The climb is very steep and eroded and the footing is a bit askew, especially on the descent. The herd-path will exit you in the col between Hough and South Dix; you will need to continue your hike to the north along the ridge to the summit of Hough. This final bit is much easier than the Lillian Brook Herd-path but still rather steep, with a bit of scrambling.
12.5 mile RT, a long day
Along the trail from the Elk Lake Parking Area to Dix Pond, look for eight primitive campsites and the Slide Brook and Lillian Brook lean-tos.
Camping between 3,500 feet and 4,000 feet is limited to designated campsites. Camping above 4,000 feet is prohibited.
The five mountains that make up the Dix Range are typically broken into two sections, but determined and experienced mountain climbers do summit all five in a day if conditions supply the perfect day. Hough is often climbed after Dix but on occasion gets approached from the South Dix side. There are two other trails that can be utilized and often do in the winter, especially if a complete traverse of all five peaks is attempted. There is the Elk Lake Trailhead and the Bouquet River Herd Path from Route 73 as well.
Most Popular Winter Trailhead
Round Pond Trail
Round Trip Distance
Average Round-trip Time
9 to 10 hours
Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of
Deep snow, narrow paths, wet snow on overhanging trees
From the Round Pond Trail start to immediately climb to a ridge above the road and continue to Round Pond a short distance away. Snowshoe past Round Pond and climb moderately to a four-way intersection with AMR and Noonmark Mountain. Hang a left here and start a long fairly flat approach to Dix. You will pass by the Bouquet Lean-to and cross the river to start your climb. The climb now will be a steady one at you approach the bottom on the Dix Slides. You must cross over the base of the slides to access the trail again. Once past the slides the trail become ridiculously steep and this relentless climb will test your strength and willingness to continue to Hough. At the top of the steep section you will make a left to finish off the summit of Dix which isn’t too far away. The summit is quite magnificent as the open rock gives you sweeping views of the area. The trail continues over the summit toward Elk Lake and Hough.
From the summit of Dix head along the ridge to the Beckhorn. From the Beckhorn the herd path for Hough drops off the other side, the marked trail leads to Elk Lake, do not use this trail. You will drop very steeply over the Beckhorn and gain the top of the ridge, footing is a bit awkward at times as you descend but becomes better as the herd path moderates. The climb up Hough is quite easy. The summit has very nice views from its partially open top. Now you need to climb back up and over Dix, unless you made plans with a second car off Route 73 or at Elk Lake. If you plan to traverse over, the herd path continues over the summit of Hough to South Dix (see the page on South Dix for details).
Protection from falling snow on overhanging trees; this snow will then melt and get the climber wet, a waterproof/breathable shell is the best remedy. It is also important to have a dry pair of gloves for that reason as well. Map and Compass and GPS are a very important part of this trip. While the Herd Paths are easy to follow when they are used, they may not be broken out at times and you will need to know how to proceed throughout the mountainous terrain to reach the other summits where marked trails are developed.
Find out more
Read our blog post about The Dix Range Traverse.