Catamount Mountain in one of the more popular gems of the Whiteface Region and should not go unvisited by anyone. With its two open summits it affords spectacular views of the entire region. In season, the blueberries are nearly as spectacular as the views.
This has been a popular hike for many years even though the trail was unofficial, received little maintenance, and was hard to follow in places. As of 2012, the trail is now official with a new parking area at the trailhead, but upper sections of the trail may still be difficult to follow until maintenance efforts catch up to the trail's new official status.
Primary Trailhead: From the four-corner intersection in the village of Wilmington head west up Route 431. At the intersection with the Whiteface Memorial Highway, just before the toll house, bear right toward Franklin Falls (county Route 72 or Gillespie Drive on some maps). Continue for 3.3 miles to Roseman Road — there might not be a sign — and take a right. Follow Roseman Road for 0.8 mile and turn right on Plank Road. Follow that for 2.2 miles, to the parking area on the left.
This is a 1.8-mile hike, one way, over moderate to steep terrain. From the trailhead parking area and trail register you will start hiking on the flat through semi-open terrain with many wildflowers in bloom in season. At 0.6 mile the trail bears right and begins to climb, dips to cross a brook at 0.8 mile, and then continues a mostly steep climb to the base of a steep chimney at 1.4 miles. This chimney requires some scrambling and may be difficult for small children, dogs, or anyone not comfortable in high places.
After this short, challenging stretch, the open rock summit just past the top of the chimney offers good views and is a worthy destination. Past this first summit, the trail briefly dips before resuming a zig-zagging climb across a series of open ledges. The trail is marked with intermittent cairns and fading paint blazes, and requires some care to follow before reaching the summit at 1.8 miles.
Elevation: 3,169 feet
Family with Young Kids: Primary trail – 1.5 hours to summit, extra caution needs to be taken with young children
Experienced Hiker: Primary trail – 1 hour to summit
Out of Shape Hiker: Primary trail – 1.5 hours to summit
Winter Climbing: This hike is an excellent snowshoe outing for the entire family. It can be very slippery in areas, so some care is needed, especially near the chimney and steep ledges. A path around the chimney usually develops in winter for ease of passage. This mountain is not recommended for skiing.