Wilmington Peak - Cooper Kiln Pond Approach
To approach Wilmington Peak from the south you should use this approach for the best direct access. From the trailhead the trail starts out on a flat course before gaining elevation and areas of frozen water. The climb along the trail at this point starts to get very steep before topping on the shoulder of Morgan Mountain, to your right.
From the top of the pass the trail descends along a steady course to the shore of Cooper Kiln Pond. There has been a ton of beaver activity in the area and at times the trail can be flooded, be prepared. The trail then follows along the shore to the lean-to and camping area. Just past the lean-to a small herd-path can be seen on the left. This will take you around the pond to reach the faint herd-path that is developing to the summit of Wilmington Peak.
If you cannot find the herd-path it is no big deal, the forest is rather open and the route is obvious, just follow the ridge. The herd-path follows closely to the top of the ridge line but often drops below the ridge to the east. Following through the open forest you will have sneak peeks at Catamount Mountain to the northwest. The summit can be a bit hard to find, but the herd-path is much more obvious on the highest ridge and it leads to the summit tree, which should have a ribbon upon it.
This begins at a popular cross-country ski route so the trail in most cases should be used. Be prepared to break trail along the bushwhack section of this route. Be aware that heavy snows will exist in this area.
This is a "trailless" hike which requires bushwhacking and expertise with map and compass. We also recommend GPS and/or Map and Compass, eye protection, and water-resistant, layered, clothing.
6.5 miles RT, Challenging Climb with steep terrain, Elevation: 3458’
Wilmington Peak Trailhead: From the main intersection in Wilmington, where Route 86 meets The Whiteface Memorial Highway follow the Wilmington Memorial Highway. Continue for 2.9 miles to Franklin Falls Road on the right and follow Franklin Falls Road for 0.6 miles to the trailhead on the right for Cooper Kiln Pond. Be sure not to take the left to the toll gate for Whiteface Mountain.
Time in hours:
Family with Young Kids: Not recommended
Experienced Hiker: To Summit: 2.5 Round Trip: 5.0 or longer, depending on trail conditions
Out of Shape Hiker: Not recommended