Macomb Mountain is the 21st High Peak, standing at an elevation of 4,405 feet. The southernmost high peak in the Dix Range (and overall), Macomb is often hiked with Dix, Hough, Grace, and Carson. The trail up Macomb is notorious for an enormous slide on the mountain’s southwestern side, which enlarged after Hurricane Irene in 2011 (one of many lasting geologic impacts this event left on the park). Though this slide boasts beautiful views of Elk Lake and the surrounding wilderness, the steepness and abundance of loose rock on this slide make it one of the more dangerous trails of the Adirondacks- especially (as I can attest from personal experience) when you make the mistake of going down the slide rather than up it.

Macomb Mountain earned its name sometime in the early 1800s; it first appears in print in Emmons’ Natural History of New York in 1842. The peak was named after General Alexander Macomb for his September 11, 1814 victory over the British at the Battle of Plattsburgh. Although the exact circumstances of its naming are unknown, Macomb’s military success made him a very popular man in Essex County, so it is almost certain the mountain was named in his honor. The first recorded ascent of the peak occurred in 1872 when guide Mel Trumbull led distinguished artist Arthur H. Wyant to the summit.

Another theory exists that links the name of the peak to Macomb’s Purchase. According to this story, a Glens Falls lumberman who caught sight of the peak accidentally believed it was within the confines of Macomb’s Purchase, and thus named it Macomb Mountain. However, given that Macomb is one of the farthest mountains from this tract, Carson doubts a mistake this severe could have been made. Another possible mistake exists in the summit marker laid by the U.S. Geologic Survey in 1943, which (for some unknown reason) spells the peak “Mccomb Mountain.”

Macomb Mountain summit marker
View from Macomb Mountain, with a hiker sitting in the foreground and Elk Lake in the background.

Mackenzie, Kevin B. “Adirondack Landslides: History, Exposures, and Climbing.” The Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies, vol. 21, 2016, pp. 167–183.,