Taken from the same spot as just above.

Once you get to what seems like a summit, just take a look SW and you will find ....

David and Elaine at the summit.

Just one last, typical photo of Cliff.  All in all, there's no compelling reason to..

Joel and Elaine at the summit.

This photo provides a good perspective of the steep slope during the first 10-15 minutes

Joel's Hike in Pictures & Descriptions

The herd path is still headed for the saddle of Redfield-Cliff, but it has climbed some, it's.

This may not look like good trail, but compared to what it looked like from 1999..

The path to Cliff starts at the Opalescent Trail RED (ADK #121, McM #46) within feet of...

The RED Opalescent Trail (ADK #121, McM #46) follows the Opalescent River's...

Photo #5 shows the foot of Cliff where we leave the path that goes into the Cliff...

The blow-down is everywhere as shown by photo #6, but it has been significantly.....

Typical.  It always looks dense, but on Cliff in 2002 there was always a relatively...

On the right side of this photo you see the blow-down as it was in 2001 before the limbs..

At the summit, even though the herd path is clear, the blow-down all around can...

Colden from part way up Cliff.  It's only on the way up or down that you can see... 

This view of Redfield is one of the very few views available from Cliff. 

Cliff Mountain:
Elevation: 3,960'(1,207 m)
Average Hike: 17.2 Miles

8.6 Hours @ 2mph

Please Note:Some information on this page may be outdated, we are working diligently to bring Joel's content up to date. It is always a good idea to cross reference to gain the most accurate knowledge of your route. We suggest these reference points: ADK High Peaks Forum | Trails NH | DEC

1. Upper Works to Flowed Land

2. Opalescent River Trail to Uphill Lean-to

3. Herd path to Cliff's summit
#'s in parentheses such as (ADK #123, McM #456) , refer to trail numbers assigned by the McMartin and ADK guidebooks.

Joel's Trip In A Nutshell:

Cliff is one of the "trailless peaks", which only means that the herd path to the summit is neither marked nor maintained.Having said that, you will find few if any problems following the herd path from the base to the summit.  We hiked in to Cliff Mtn via the Upper Works trailhead, which we figure is the easiest route to Cliff from a major trailhead.  It's a good day's hike from Upper Works to where the ascent of Cliff starts, which is  a few hundred yards from the point where the Opalescent River Trail intersects Uphill Brook. There is a very handy lean-to at this location. From the Uphill Brook lean-to where we camped, it required just a bit over an hour to reach Cliff's summit sign.  Round trip was exactly 2 hours.  

The last year that Cliff presented problems to the hiker was 2002.That was the last year that the blow down in and around Cliff's base resulting from Hurricane Floyd's passage through here in 1999 was a real problem. There is a draw that starts at the Opalescent River Trail and runs up into the pass between Redfield and Cliff, eventually becoming that pass. For a few years after Floyd, the draw was virtually impassible due to enormous blow down, and foot-deep, boot-sucking mud.  

The dead trees are no longer a significant problem and if the spring and summer are not unusually wet the mud should not be a problem.Despite the easing of the blowdown, we advise bringing gaiters and good boots if it's a wet year when the draw becomes a bog with   In a wet year the draw is a merciless bog.    

Since Hurricane Floyd blew through, the major problem presented by Cliff was severe blow-down that started from the point where you left the yellow trail (at the Uphill Brook lean-to) all the way to the summit.  Today, while few of the downed trees have been removed, the way has been made clear.  The branches on these trees have been trimmed off by some good Samaritans. Where, previously, it was very difficult to force one's way through, it is now no feat to duck under or over the fallen trunks on the herd path that takes you from the lean-to to a cairn that marks the abrupt start of the upward climb.  From the cairn onwards the herd path is steep requiring hands as much as feet until you reach a plateau that looks lie it might be the summit... but is actually a false summit. The steep climb to this plateau is short and has no horrific obstacles.  Keep your eyes open and the trail will be evident.  If you take a wrong turn you'll quickly know it.  All in all, the minor difficulties of the blow-down are more than offset by the relative ease of the short climb of roughly 700 vertical feet. (Go to the photos and detailed description for a clearer "picture" of the route.)

At the end of the steep climb you are deposited at a false summit, a sort of plateau.  It is an easy, circuitous, and mostly level walk from the false summit to the real summit only a few dozen feet higher than the false summit.  You're not there until you see the summit sign.

Views?  What views? There are no views to speak of from Cliff.. Unless you are determined to be a 46'er, you can skip Cliff and save the day for any other peak. The views in the photos below tell the whole story.  

The start of the herd path to Cliff is almost opposite to the Uphill Lean-to on the Opalescent Trail.  Once on the herd path, it heads S in a straight line for about 10 minutes across an intermittent bog.  Simultaneously,  the path climbs gently. It is approaching the Cliff-Redfield pass.  You will not continue as far as the actual col, however.  The herd path becomes gradually steeper, then the herd path divides with one branch continuing straight on up into the pass, while the other turns sharply right. Take either; the herd paths will rejoin each other, although the herd path to the right is a bit more direct.  It goes a short distance to a cairn, where, all at once, it a sharp rocky ascent begins, taking you immediately out of the pass and up the mountain.  This continues for maybe 15 minutes and brings you into a flat area that may seem to be the summit.  It's not.  A careful look will show that another, higher point is about 0.4 miles away through the trees The McMartin and ADK maps show this clearly.  Continue to follow the herd path.  It will lead off the crest you were just on, taking you on a winding journey through a wet area. It then climbs a bit again, steeply and briefly to the summit sign.  

Along the trail you may still find bits of orange or red tape and yellow yarn placed strategically to mark the herd path.  We found no bad advice.  In 2001 we were camped down at Flowed Land when a guy happened down the trail whose web name is "Master Grasshopper", a moniker he told me was given to him by his son.  The day that I met this pleasant fellow he had just finished putting the aforementioned tape on the Cliff trail.  At that time, the Cliff trail still suffered from the Hurricane Floyd damage and had for the most part been inaccessible up to 2001.  

As quick as the ascent from the Opalescent Trail to Cliff's summit is, the descent is quicker, although most of it is sliding on your butt..  It ought to take about an hour, whereas, in 2001 due to the mud, it required that much time just to get from the Uphill Brook Lean-to on the yellow trail to the base of the mountain some few hundreds of yards away.