The sixth highest peak in the Adirondacks was named by Emmons in 1837 in honor of James Adams Dix, New York Secretary of State during Governor Marcy’s administration. Dix served in the military from the War of 1812 to 1828, when he resigned to begin studying law. Dix occupied a number of state and federal offices throughout his lifetime: NY Adjutant General, NY Secretary of State, State Superintendent of Schools, NY Governor, US Senator, US Secretary of the Treasury, major general (during the Civil War), and Minister to France. Carson also gives him credit for preventing Maryland from joining the Confederacy following the Battle of Bull Run.
This 4857-foot peak was the second high peak of the Adirondacks to be summitted when a surveyor by the name of Rykert ran a township line for the Totten and Crossfield past the top of the mountain in 1807. Though Emmons believed Dix to be the second highest peak in the Adirondacks, he never made a known attempt to climb it. Dix has one of the more distinct summits of the high peaks- a long, narrow ridge, rising into a sharp point in the southeast, dubbed the “Beckhorn” by Old Mountain Phelps. Beckhorn is a variant of “beak-iron,” or the horn of an anvil, which the summit closely resembles.
Dix Mountain is the tallest peak in the Dix Range, which also contains Hough Peak, Carson (South Dix) Peak, Grace (East Dix) Peak, and Macomb Mountain. The 2004 Dix Mountain Wilderness Area Unit Management Plan (UMP) designated these five peaks and the surrounding Forest Preserve land as the Dix Mountain Wilderness Area. A 2018 amendment to this UMP and the 1999 High Peaks Wilderness Area UMP, however, will officially combine these lands. The state’s acquisition of the Boreas Ponds Tract, located between the Dix Range and the High Peaks Wilderness, has allowed the state to consolidate these two units into the High Peaks Wilderness Complex. Effective in 2020, the Dix Range will be absorbed by the Outer High Peaks Wilderness Zone, and the Dix Mountain Wilderness Area will cease to exist.
“High Peaks Wilderness Complex Unit Management Plan Amendment.” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 13 July 2018, www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/hpwcumpamend.pdf.