1. Ascend Algonquin Peak from Heart Lake
2. Follow ridgeline past Boundary Peak to Iroquois Peak
3. Climb Wright Peak on the return
Algonquin Peak dominates the MacIntyre Range and is the second highest of the Adirondack High Peaks. The other peaks composing the MacIntyre Range are Boundary Peak (not one of the 46), Iroquois Peak, Wright Peak, and Mt Marshall. Views from the MacIntyre Range are among the very best in the Adirondacks. Note: Mt. Marshall, a part of the MacIntyre Range, is separated from the rest of the range by a steep pass and is not climbed via the route covered on this page.
Ascent of the MacIntyres from Heart Lake is moderate to strenuous. As High Peaks go, however, Algonquin and Wright are among the easiest and most accessible simply due to their close proximity to their trailhead at Heart Lake. If you choose to attempt the hike from Heart Lake over Wright, Algonquin, Boundary, and Iroquois in succession, and then back, the complete hike is very strenuous, but nevertheless it makes for a popular and excellent day hike.
The individual trail segments to Algonquin's summit from Heart Lake vary from easy to moderate. Trails from Algonquin out to Iroquois Pk via Boundary Pk are easy, although the terrain can be very wet and muddy in a wet year such as 2000 was.
Views & Features:
The views from Algonquin exceed those from all but a few other peaks. Colden, seen from Algonquin, is awe-inspiring. Most, if not all, of the 46 High Peaks are visible from Algonquin's summit, as well as a unique view of the cliffs of Indian Pass.
Park at the ADK parking lot at Heart Lake. The trailhead and sign-in register booth is at the far end of the parking lot that is to the left of the attendant's booth where you pay for parking. This is the start of the BLUE Van Hoevenberg Trail. Follow it only to the turn-off (marked clearly by a sign) for the YELLOW trail for Algonquin Peak. The sign is 0.41 miles from the trailhead. You will turn right. From this point onwards the trail will be cutting across a slope. In general, uphill will be to your left and downhill to your right. Very gradually the trail will become rocky. The trail parallels MacIntyre Brook through this section. At 3.22 miles from the trailhead and 3920 ft. elev., the side trail to Wright Peak is encountered. Continue straight ahead toward Algonquin or ascend Wright now. Note, however, that if you do not climb Wright now, you'll probably be too tired on the return trip and will pass it up. The hike up to Wright is covered at the beginning of the photo section just below.
Continuing on to Algonquin, the approaching tree-line becomes apparent about 20 minutes after passing the Wright intersection. The hiking gets much more interesting and a little more challenging from here to the tree-line. In a few spots we were looking for handholds as well as footholds. But above 4700 ft., expanses of open rock become more numerous. Soon the rounded summit of Algonquin is visible, made more attractive by alpine vegetation.
After Algonquin comes Boundary Peak, which obscures Iroquois and doesn't really count as a peak. Many hikers get to the top of Boundary only to see Iroquois yet to come. The only problem encountered was the wet, muddy ground and the cold wind.
On your return, it is worthwhile to climb Wright Peak, although as you stand on the summit of Algonquin and look down on Wright, 534 ft. below you, you may feel little inclination to do so.