1.Upper Works trailhead to Lake Colden and the start of the Opalescent Trail
2.Follow Opalescent Trail to Uphill Brook crossing.
3.Follow herd path along Uphill Brook to summit of Mt. Redfield
The Trip In A Nutshell:
If you want to climb Redfield as a day-hike, start at Upper Works Trailhead and use the Calamity Brook Trail (ADK #121, McM #39) to Lake Colden, thence on the Opalescent River Trail (ADK #121, McM #46) to Uphill Brook. That is the shortest route with the least climb, but it will be a long, tough day. ADK grades this hike as A+ in difficulty when done in a day.
An alternative plan that I recommend highly for those wanting to climb several or more peaks, or to have a down day without leaving the woods is to hike in from Upper Works and tent or make use of the excellent Uphill Brook lean-to while climbing the peaks in the area. (Be prepared to share this well-placed lean-to). We stayed 3 nights and climbed four peaks, which was a very leisurely pace, but why hurry? The other peaks, besides Redfield, that we climbed were Cliff, Marcy, and Skylight. In that period of time, had we been ambitious we could've done Colden's south slide as well. We talked about it, but that's as far as it got. Ascend Mt Redfield (ADK n/a, McM #50) via the herd path along Uphill Brook's S bank until the brook peters out, then continue on the herd path to Redfield's summit.
The herd path to Redfield's summit is 1.4 miles from the start at the intersection of Uphill Brook with the Opalescent Trail, to the summit. It can be climbed in an hour, but if you do so you will be missing out on all the great photo opportunities, wading in the brook, and sunning on the numerous flat expanses of rock in the brook. The route, which closely follows Uphill Brook is occasionally strenuous over rugged and steep terrain on a narrow herd path. The herd path divides itself into three distinct sections. The first third is strictly along the brook and involves some fairly steep ascent along the fall line of the brook. This occasionally requires finding hand-holds on muddy or gravelly banks where you may use some language that you don't use with your mom although the task is more interesting than on many easier climbs. Over the latter part of the ascent of the brook, you can either stay on the herd path along the brook or walk on the large expanses of dry, flat, rock in the streambed. The latter option is a nice switch and enables you to travel twice as fast, although we stopped to take lots of photos. (There's a good shot of Shepherd's Tooth!)
The last part of the ascent begins when the trail leaves the brook. This last section is about a half mile on a very narrow, deeply eroded path full of rocks and roots that desperately want to trip you up. If it were difficult that would be okay, but, it's just aggravating as saplings press in on you from both sides and whip you in the face as you try to watch your footing. Of the three of us, two went down hard. This part of Redfield ranks as annoying. Of the trailless peaks, Allen may be the longest and most tiring, from the start of its own herd path. Yard-for-yard, Redfield may get our vote as one of the most picturesque of the "trailless" peaks.
Plan on 1-2 hours for the ascent depending on your fitness. We suggest that whenever the opportunity presents itself you take advantage of the large expanses of open rock in the brook and do your hiking there. Hiking shoes made for hiking in water may also be an option that would add an enjoyable diversion to the climb.
Redfield ranks 26th, 22nd, and 25th by the scorers listed on our View Rankings page. Redfield has good views, although these cover only about a 120 degree span. Its summit view to Allen is quite impressive, as is the view of Cheney Coble, above. As you climb Redfield along Uphill Brook there are a few modest views back toward the MacIntyre Range, particularly Iroquois.
We decided to make this a leisurely trip. We hiked in from Upper Works since it is shorter and has less ascent.
Day 1: Upper Works to Uphill Brook lean-to
Day 2: Climb Cliff Mtn in the morning and Redfield in the afternoon
Day 3: Enjoy the sunshine and relax at the lean-to.
Day 4: Climb Skylight, and Marcy.
Day 5: Hike out.
1. We have it on very good authority that there is a summit sign on Redfield if you take a sign as being essential to considering yourself at the top. You have to search for it, though, because it's not where the canister used to be.
2. The old English system (non-metric) USGS maps, such as ADK's map, while easier to use than the metric version, do not show the tributary of Uphill Brook that you will actually follow at higher elevations. If you have the non-metric version you can easily make corrections as follows: 1) the unmarked brook that flows into the Opalescent and appears to begin at a point half way between Lake Tear of the Clouds and the summit of Redfield is Uphill Brook; 2) You will note that it has a zig and a zag in it. Right where the downstream zig occurs, draw in a branch that continues in the same direction the lower half of the brook takes. You'll be drawing it right toward the "M" in Moss Pond from the zig. The line stops at about 3800 ft. The branch you've drawn is the branch you will actually follow. At the point during your hike that you reach this fork, you will be walking on the rocks in the brook, following cairns. The brook will have dwindled in size and you may not notice the fork. Don't worry if you don't see the fork; if you just keep following the cairns you'll be fine.