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 as it follows open rocks.)
How to get there
From downtown Lake Placid, take scenic route 86 toward Wilmington. From the four-corner intersection in the village of Wilmington, head west up Route 431. At the intersections for the Whiteface Memorial Highway, just before the toll house, bear right toward Franklin Falls (CR 72 - Gillespie Drive on some maps). Continue for 3.3 mi.to Roseman Rd. (may not be a sign), take a right. Follow Roseman Rd. for 0.8 mi. to Plank Road. Turn right onto Plank Rd. for 2.2 mi. to the new parking area on the left.
By the numbers
- Distance: 1.8 miles, one way
- Elevation gain: 1,571 feet
- Mountain elevation: 3,169 feet
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 wild flowers in bloom in season. At 0.6 miles, the trail bears right and begins to climb, dips to cross a brook at 0.8 mi. and then continues a mostly steep climb to the base of a steep chimney at 1.4 mi. This chimney requires some scrambling and may be difficult for small children and dogs or anyone not comfortable on high places. After this short challenging stretch, the open rock summit at 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 mi.
This hike is an excellent snowshoe outing for the entire family. It can be very slippery and icy 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. It is not recommended for cross-country skiing.