Cooper Kiln Pond lies in the valley between Morgan Mountain and Wilmington Peak. The pond sits nestled in the mountains with a somewhat heavily treed shoreline. There are a few rocky outcroppings opening up views out over the placid body of water. It's an easy thru hike or an all day excursion with multiple water bodies as possible destinations.
The pond can be reached from the Cooper Kiln Pond Trailhead East or the Cooper Kiln Pond Trailhead East. If a second car is available, making a traverse of the two trails is a great option.
Primary trailhead: From Lake Placid, follow Route 86 toward Wilmington. 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 Rd on the right and follow Franklin Falls Rd for 0.6 miles to the trailhead on the right for Copper Kiln Pond. Be sure not to take the left to the toll gate for Whiteface Mountain.
Secondary trailhead: Lake Placid, follow Route 86 toward Wilmington. From the main intersection in Wilmington, where Route 86 meets The Whiteface Memorial Highway, follow Bonnieview Road. Continue here for 3.2 miles to the state trailhead on the left for Cooper Kiln Pond.
By the numbers
- Pond elevation: 3,005 feet
- Elevation gain: 615 feet from the primary trailhead and 1,670 feet from the secondary trailhead
- Distance: 2.7 miles one way from the primary trailhead and 3.2 miles one way from the secondary trailhead. A thru-hike is then 5.9 miles
From the primary trailhead, this is a 2.7 mile hike one way. The trail starts out on a flat course before gaining elevation and becoming somewhat wet. This route can be wet during the rainy season as it climbs to a height of land. From the top of the pass, the trail descends along a steady course to the shore of Copper 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. The trail from here continues and meets up with the secondary trail. Continue on for a thru-hike or return the way you came.
From the secondary trailhead, this is a 3.2 mile hike one way. Starting from Bonnieview Road in Wilmington the trail begins on a rather flat course along an old road. After crossing a peaceful brook the trail begins to climb then stays fairly steady but not too steep. At a height-of-land on a sharp corner you will notice the trail goes sharp left and a faint path goes straight. (Straight leads to a bushwhack to the Wilmington Slide on Wilmington Mountain. Please, only advanced hikers should attempt this.) Continue to stay on the marked trail heading left. The trail moderates a bit before entering a well rutted and washed out trail that climbs steeply through an open hardwood forest. As the trail flattens out you will come to the lean-to at the pond. The trail continues past the lean-to and along the western shore of the pond and becomes the primary trail above.
A lean-to sits on the northeastern shore of the pond, and is an excellent spot for an overnight. A designated primitive tent site is along the trail, just a short distance from the secondary trailhead on the Bonnieview Road.
This mountain biking trail has a scenic destination with some fine challenges. Make it a there-and-back from either trailhead.
Cooper Kiln Pond has 2.4 acres of surface area and contains wild native brook trout. The use of baitfish is prohibited.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
This is a backcountry trail that might not be broken out. Take care while parking. You will be following a snowmobile trail as well as a state marked foot trail – so be aware of snowmobiles during snow months.