The lot appears to have a capacity for about 20 cars. You can park ONLY in this lot since this is private property except for the state's hiking easement. If you park on the road you will very likely be towed. In many trips there, the lot has been full once only.
You are on private property even in the parking lot. Do not leave trash or abuse Elk Lake Resort's property.
The trail departing the parking lot itself, is the RED Dix Trail (ADK #119, McM #59). Two lean-to's are on this trail; the first at Slide Brook at 2.6 miles; the second at Lillian Brook at 3.4 miles from the trailhead. Note that this trail is maintained and is one of three maintained ascents of the Dixes.
Across the road from the trailhead parking lot you will find another trail, the BLUE Elk Lake - Marcy Trail (ADK #118, McM #52). This outstanding trail accesses Panther Gorge, Haystack, Marcy, and the Colvin Range. From this trail there is also an occasionally used true bushwhack of Allen Mtn via Sand Brook.
For maps of the trailhead and the Dixes, go to the Dix Page.
Best Tip for the Dix Range:
1. Before leaving home use your compass and map to take the bearing from each of the Dix peaks to the next following the route you intend to take. Then, when you actually get to the first summit, compare the actual bearing of the next peak to the one you recorded from the map
2. As you progress through the actual hike, even if the herd path seems obvious to you and you see the peak you believe you are hiking to in the distance, be aware that the Dixes are full of herd paths that go nowhere. These were created by people that were already lost. Don't be one of them. Check and verify bearings against your map more frequently than you think necessary.
3. If a herd path seems to be leading you astray, STOP. Figure it out before proceeding. Don't guess.
4. The Dixes invite rain for some reason. And if the weather brings fog and rain, the need to know where you are is very apt to become easier said than accomplished. Have a bail-out plan before you climb.
5. Don't hike alone and be equipped and prepared to spend the night in case you have to.
6. There's no water in the Dixes.
Elk Lake Trailhead:
The trailhead at Elk Lake is the southernmost of the major High Peaks trailheads. It provides access to the Dix Range, Mt Marcy, Skylight, Haystack, and the Colvin Range.
Leave Interstate 87 at Exit 29, turning W off the ramp onto Blue Ridge Road which is NY Route 28. Drive 4 miles then turn R onto Elk Lake Rd., at the sign in the photo above. Follow Elk Lake Road 5.2 miles to the trailhead. It is paved for the first 2 miles, after which it becomes a well-maintained gravel road passing through attractive woodlands. At about 2.7 miles, signs indicate that you are on private land. There is no need to turn back. The state has easements for you to use this private road as well as the parking area at the trailhead.