Adirondack Park: Whiteface Mountain

This challenging, 11.6-mile out-and-back scales Lake Placid's iconic peak, Whiteface Mountain, and rewards dayhikers with expansive summit views of the Adirondacks and beyond.
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
This challenging, 11.6-mile out-and-back scales Lake Placid's iconic peak, Whiteface Mountain, and rewards dayhikers with expansive summit views of the Adirondacks and beyond.

An Adirondack classic, the trek up Whiteface Mountain from its Lake Placid approach is no easy accomplishment. From the trailhead on Connery Pond Road, the summit climb starts along a mellow grade, but finishes with a grueling, 2,500-foot ascent: it's an all-day effort for most hikers.
Roughly 2.4 miles in, bear right at a junction to Whiteface Landing and head northeast up the Whiteface Brook drainage. After crossing the brook, the trail meets a lean-to shelter and starts to climb. Paralleling the brook, the conifer-flanked trail becomes increasingly rocky as the climb continues. After climbing up the low end of a cliff (and a washout above it), you'll approach the first tree-free view to the south (mile 5.3). From here, continue the ascent, following yellow blazes up the talus slope.
It's another half mile or so of steep climbing to the rocky summit area of Whiteface where a castle-like observatory offers well-earned views south across the Adirondack High Peaks, east to Camel's Hump in Vermont, and north to Montreal. Enjoy the vistas before backtracking to the trailhead at Connery Pond.
-Mapped by Lisa Densmore, DensmoreDesigns.com

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 18.7

Waypoints

WTF001

Location: 44.3087812, -73.9364802

Start at the trailhead by the sign-in box on Connery Pond Road. Heading northwest on a dirt road, the route skirts a private camp on Connery Pond and then narrows to a footpath, which follows the western side of the pond.

WTF002

Location: 44.3139554, -73.9371029

Walk around the gate that marks the boundary of the MacKenzie Wilderness. On humid summer days, this section can be a buggy slog, but by early fall, the bugs disappear and the forest ignites with color.

WTF003

Location: 44.3385615, -73.944573

Bear right (northeast) at the junction with the trail to Whiteface Landing.

WTF004

Location: 44.3426499, -73.9312935

Cross Whiteface Brook and continue uphill, following the brook.

WTF005

Location: 44.3450997, -73.9275686

Pass by Whiteface lean-to; from here, the climb up the southern face of the mountain kicks up to a significant grade (you'll gain 2,500 feet over the next 3 miles).

WTF006

Location: 44.3592978, -73.9085054

Enter the krummholz zone and enjoy the first clear views to the south. Continue climbing the talus slope. Just 0.7 mile remain to the summit.

WTF007

Location: 44.3657652, -73.903088

Whiteface Mountain (4,867 ft.): An observatory/summit museum is just ahead, beyond a small viewing platform. The castle is 300 vertical feet above the end of the road and affords views east to Camel's Hump in Vermont, north to Montreal, and south to various Adirondack High Peaks (including Giant, Noonmark, Dix, Nippletop, Gothics, Marcy, and Algonquin). When you're ready, retrace your route to the trailhead.

Whiteface Castle

Location: 44.3660324, -73.9030552

The summit observatory on Whiteface Mountain.

Trail by Connery Pond

Location: 44.3106295, -73.9383531

MacKenzie Wilderness Boundary

Location: 44.3139306, -73.9373016

Whiteface Landing Junction

Location: 44.3384296, -73.9445114

Lean-to

Location: 44.3450284, -73.9274311