The views from Whiteface encompass all sides and include the Green Mountains of Vermont, the skyscrapers in Montreal on a very clear day, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire on an even clearer day.
This Adirondack High Peak is number 5 on the list. Whiteface is often climbed with Esther Mountain.
Whiteface Mountain is a unique Mountain in that it has a perfectly good access road to just below the summit. Then a short walk through a manmade passage, within the mountain, will bring you to an elevator which will deliver you to the visitor’s area near the summit. But, if you want to climb it, you will need to use one of these routes below. Whiteface also has numerous slides on its slopes which would offer excellent bushwhacking and exploring options. Slides however are very dangerous and should only be done by experienced, fit hikers.
You may have heard a bit about the Whiteface Ski Center, it's world renowned and still used to this day for world class competition. The ski slopes are not a route to the summit, they end quite a ways from the summit, and it is not recommended.
Primary Trailhead: From the intersection of Route 73 and Route 86, follow Route 86 toward Wilmington. Continue into Wilmington to the four-way stop sign. Take a left onto Route 431 (Whiteface Mountain Road). Follow here for 2.4 miles to the Atmospheric Science Research Center Road on the left. Follow this road around the one-way roundabout to the trail on the right, just past a dirt road that descends into the woods. The trail is not labeled with a DEC sign.
This is a 3.9 mile hike, one way. From the trailhead you descend a bit to a very long and steep climb up Marble Mountain. The Marble Mountain section used to be an old ski slope and you will be able to see that one way – old cement footers still line the trail.
From the top of Marble Mountain you will come to an intersection, left is the secondary trail outlined below. Right is the route you will want. After a short break on a flatter section you will start a demanding climb through an evergreen forest that opens up a few views along the way. After about 1.5 miles you will come to a rather large cairn at a trail intersection. This is the herd-path to Esther Mountain. Continuing straight the climb relaxes a bit after a short descent before it climbs steeply to the Whiteface Memorial Highway – trail four outlined below. During times where the road is open to vehicles it cannot be walked on. The trail leaves the roadside as soon as it hits it and climbs steeply up to an open ridge with amazing views. You will continue the ridge to the summit of Whiteface where you will be greeted in awe by all those who drove up.
Secondary Trailhead: From the intersection of Route 73 and Route 86, follow Route 86 toward Wilmington. Continue into Wilmington to the four-way stop sign. Take a left onto Route 431 (Whiteface Mountain Road). Follow here for 0.6 mile to Reservoir Road on the left, drive to the end and park.
This is a 5.7 mile hike, one way to the summit. This route is used as equally to the primary, and offers a slightly easier grade but more elevation gain.
From the trailhead you will hike through an attractive open forest along a well-trodden foot trail for 1.2 miles. The grade to this point isn’t too steep but the trail then swings right and up steeply to just below the summit Marble Mountain at the intersection with the primary trail above. Read more on the primary trail above.
Third Trailhead: The trail starts at the left side of the trailhead parking area and soon climbs moderately away from the pond and the private camps on the pond before descending to the shore of the pond at 0.4 mile from the parking area. The trail is now flat along the shore before swinging left to a yellow gate that marks the start of state land.
This is a 6 mile hike one way to the summit of Whiteface. From the trailhead at Connery Pond pass by the gate and begin a rather moderate hike along an old gravel strewn woods road. The footing is a bit tough in spots due to the rocky terrain but it’s a rather quick hike back to Whiteface Landing.
From Whiteface Landing be sure to take that sharp right toward Whiteface Mountain and Whiteface Brook lean-to. Left will bring you to Lake Placid lake and a faint herd-path straight will bring you around the lake. The trail is fairly flat most of the way to the lean-to, but starts a very demanding climb, almost right up the fall line of the mountain. Eventually you will come to a very rocky section where footing is very tough and time is needed to safely pass. The summit isn’t far ahead.
No matter which way you go, this is a challenging climb, even for experienced hikers.
Elevation: 4,867 feet
Elevation Gain: 2,535 feet