The one outdoor activity we are asked about the most by our guests has been the Tupper Triad,
“The Tupper Lake Triad is a series of three “Family Friendly” mountains
in the immediate Tupper Lake Area. They offer outstanding views for
a minimal amount of effort. All the mountains are summited via
DEC State maintained trails.”
We have hiked these three mountains many times, in every season. We have in the past written about our journey to complete this challenge, as well as our failed attempt to earn our Winter Triad patch last year.
The question is why do we keep climbing these three mountains? The reasons are many and varied. Introducing new people to the Triad and their ease of access come to mind. But it’s more complicated than that or possibly less so. When asked why he climbed Everest George Mallory is said to have replied, “Because it’s there.” Maybe that is true for any mountain big or small.
The “Triad” by virtue of its name includes three local mountains: Mt Arab, Coney, and Goodman. While all the trails are similar in distance and elevation each mountain offers a different experience. Arab for the fire tower and rangers’ cabin, Coney for its open summit and unobstructed views, and Goodman as a reminder of the Adirondacks place within larger events.
To be fair we will give each of them there own post, but we will start where our journey began, Mt Arab. It was the first of the three we climbed as a family many years ago.
In addition to the Triad, Mt Arab is also included on the list of peaks to climb if you are pursuing the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge.
Mt Arab can be found on, not surprisingly, Mt. Arab Rd. just off of NY State Route 3 in the Town of Piercefield just west of Tupper Lake. The name “…Mt. Arab is believed to have been a result of inaccurate translation of the French word “arable” meaning Maple (Mountain).” This according to the Friends of Mt Arab . This website also offers information about the history of the fire tower and the observers who staffed it for over 75 years.
From the parking area, cross the road, sign in and start climbing. Its a moderate but steady climb for about a mile, there is one short steep section right at the top. Don’t expect to see the tower until you are on the top as it sits back a bit from the trail. It is an enjoyable hike any time of the year, but in the summer the Observer’s Cabin which holds a small museum is usually open and staffed by a volunteer Summit Steward.
After your visit to the cabin make sure to climb to the top of the tower, don’t worry that it may sway a bit in the wind, it is most certainly safe. Once you are firmly back on the ground take a moment and search for the USGS Bench Mark. It can be found by looking down as it is embedded into the rock. Here’s a hint, it’s not by the tower; look for the bench and you will find the “bench mark.”
Now it’s time to head home. Make sure to notice the placards nailed to the trees along the way. These correspond to a pamphlet that is provided at the trail head. You should plan on 1 to 2 hours to complete this hike. Once you are back at your vehicle you will have a decision to make; call it a day or try to do the other two. Be warned you have to pass through Tupper Lake on the way and there are many restaurants, brew pubs and shops to distract you. So much so you many find yourself enjoying a beer or two and finishing the Triad another day, so goes “the best laid plans of mice and
men, mountain climbers.”