View Full Version : Whiteface
03-21-2006, 01:59 PM
During my last trip to the Wilmington area, I bicycled to the top of Whiteface Mountain via the Memorial Highway. Out of my many thousands of miles of cycling, this was by far my most memorable ride ever.
Anyway, Iíll be heading back to this area again in July, and I would like to hike to the top via the Wilmington Trail with my family. We are fairly active and have done plenty of hiking, but never up a mountain. How doable is this for a mountain hiking newbie? From what I been able to find this hike is considered difficult. Is it difficult because it is 10 miles and 3800ft of altitude gain, or is it difficult because if someone screws up they could fall off a cliff?
How long should I expect it to take to get to the top and back?
Can anyone recommend a good hiking guide for this trail?
Thanks a lot.
03-21-2006, 03:49 PM
Welcome aboard first.
Second, I think people say difficult primarily because of the length and ascent (which is actually pretty mellow compaired to others). I actually found it to be pretty easy and an ordinary hike.
If you really wanted to get some bang for you buck and not really have to put out a ton more effort, I'd consider hiking Algonquin instead. I rate the view from that one tons higher than from Whiteface. It's a little shorter and the climbing is about the same.
03-21-2006, 04:22 PM
I'm with Mavs on going for Algonquin. Best views for the time spent in the ADKs. Last .9 of a mile is a bit steep, but the stretch up Marble Mt on the way to Whiteface is probably just as steep. Try to pick a clear day, you won't regret it. Took a newbie up there myself last year and climbed Wright for good measure. He became addicted (everyone does).
The High Peaks guide from the Adirondack Mountain Club would be an excellent resource.
03-21-2006, 04:27 PM
Algonquin's views are far more impressive than Whiteface's. Whiteface views are mainly distant ones. Algonquin's are right there in your face of Colden, my favorite side of the Mountain.
03-21-2006, 04:49 PM
Is it legal to ride up the highway? I used to do this up the road on Prospect Mt. in Lake George all the time but we had to ride either early morning or evening when the road was closed.
Actually the Memorial Highway has the same "rules." During business hours, No pedestrian or No biking on the highway.
03-21-2006, 05:45 PM
A slightly different opinion here...
I took my two athletic kids, ages 12 and 15 at the time, up Algonquin and we found it very, very difficult. It is one of the shorter High Peaks hikes but very steep. If you are unsure of your/their ability on steep stuff, you might want to consider the Brothers trail to Big Slide or else Cascade for a first-time 4K family hike. I would only do Whiteface if having cars, lots of people, and a restaurant on the top were your idea of a fun wilderness experience.
We use the Adirondack Mountain Club hiking books but you can also find a lot of information on this site (www.adkhighpeaks.com) although our moderator might have been too modest to mention it. Some of the other hikers on this forum have their own sites, too, and they contain a lot of good info.
A long day hike, not too steep and great views, is Marcy. I think an added bonus is that in the summer on Marcy, Cascade, and Algonquin there is usually a Summit Steward who is there to educate hikers and help protect the alpine meadows. I've always enjoyed talking to them.
Enjoy your trip to the ADKs!
03-21-2006, 07:04 PM
The Wilmington Trail from the reservoir to the summit is 5.2 mi. and 3620 ascent. You can cut some of this off by starting at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center and going up the old Marble Mt. ski trail. It intersects with the Wilmington trail 2.2 mi. up the Wilmington trail, and you save a lot of climbing. The Marble Mt. ski trail is easy to follow, and there are cairns marking the trail intersection for the return (at least there were when I did it). I've also gone the other way, but found the trail from the reservoir very tiring (might have been my day).
Algonquin from the Loj is 4.3 mi and 2936 ft. ascent. That would suggest an easier hike, but I believe the opposite is the case. The algonquin trail is quite rocky for long stretches, which can take it's toll (unless you're good on rocks and like them!), plus there are some ledges and steep rock faces, though short ones.
No need to worry about falling off of cliffs!
Summit views on a good day are stunning on both peaks. I might rate Algonquin a little nicer, as you're really up close an personal with other peaks in the area, while Whiteface is farther north, away from the other high peaks. But it depends on what you like.
There will be lots of people on Algonquin, plus a summit steward. However, there will be lots of people on Whiteface, most of whom drove up the mountain.
I don't know your family's hiking speed, but both mountains are quite doable as a dayhike.
As Silverback mentioned, ADK Trails High Peaks Region is the standard guide. Barbara McMartin's Discover the Adirondack High Peaks is also good, with good descriptions of the local areas.
Cascade, Giant, Big Slide, Marcy (though long) are all excellent alternatives, with Cascade being the easiest.
03-21-2006, 10:16 PM
Don't worry about it. You'll just sike yourself out. I actually enjoy the hike up from the Science Center. I've done it 4-5 times now. Yes it's steep in the beginning but it has some moderate spots along the way for breathers. My favorite time to do Whiteface however is in the winter. The climb is no harder, no crowds, and you can butt slide down alot of it. Save it for a winter trip, do Algonquin in July like everyone is suggesting.
03-25-2006, 10:52 AM
My favorite time to do Whiteface however is in the winter. The climb is no harder, no crowds, and you can butt slide down alot of it. Save it for a winter trip, do Algonquin in July like everyone is suggesting.
I usually do Whiteface from the Highway in Winter. Especially with bringing a pair of skis and ski down the road. The ice formations on the castle is a sight to see.
03-25-2006, 03:12 PM
In the Lake Placid area, my votes go to Algonquin, Wright, or Phelps. Cascade's best views, in my opinion, suffer a bit in the summer because you are looking into the sun(unless you are up there early in the morning or late in the afternoon), compounding the effect that any humidity in the air will have on good visibility.
If your kids are like mine, they will really have fun on the open rocks on Algonquin and Wright.
Enjoy your trip!
vBulletin® v3.8.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.