There are two approaches to this awesome mountain. Both offer fine trails and lead to excellent views.
Trail from the Olympic Sports Complex (East Trail)
This is one of the newest trails in the Adirondacks! It was opened to the public in October 2018 and is a model for sustainable trail design. The trailhead is located at the Olympic Sports Complex. From the register, hikers begin a gentle climb to one of the finest views of the High Peaks. Switchbacks are used throughout the trail so that the climb is never very steep as it meanders through the woods. In the spring, you'll see tons of bright wildflowers. The hardened trail is easy on the knees.
Due to construction at the trailhead, this trail has been temporarily rerouted. Please check with DEC or ORDA to get the most current information on this approach.
Trail from South Meadow (West Trail)
The path leaves the trailhead and remains mostly level until it gradually descends to a large, scenic beaver pond. Take a minute to enjoy the view — birds love this area and your destination is straight ahead, rising above the opposite shore. Bear left and follow the edge of the pond as it curves around the pond's outlet, where a series of beaver dams can be seen to the right. It can be pretty wet here, so take your time.
As the path leaves the pond it begins to ascend through a beautiful hardwood forest as it climbs toward Van Hoevenberg's ridge. There are some steep sections before reaching a rugged, level stretch at 1.6 miles. After passing between two cliffs, the trail swings right and steeply ascends the mountain's western ridge, which it follows as it dips up and down before reaching a series of ledges that afford stunning 180-degree views of High Peaks like Marcy and Algonquin, with the expanse of South Meadow far in the valley below. The first couple of ledges offer the best views, but the ridge can be followed further for different perspectives of the surrounding mountains.
Distance: 2.2 miles one way
Elevation: 2,860 feet
Ascent: 740 feet
Difficulty: 1=easiest, 5=hardest
Two; longer distances and steady climbing make this a two.
From the intersection of Route 86 and Route 73 in Lake Placid, follow Route 73 east toward Keene. Continue for 3.3 miles and turn right on Adirondack Loj Road. Follow that for almost 4 miles to South Meadow Road on the left. The trailhead is just up South Meadow Road from here. There is a small parking area at the trailhead and vehicles are also permitted to park along South Meadow Road. In winter, South Meadow Road is closed, so parking is limited to a few spots at the start of the road.
South Meadow Road is closed in the winter, so you will be required to hike an additional .25- miles to the trailhead. Begin your winter snowshoe trek at the boulders at the start of South Meadow Road. This is one of the best views in the area and in the summer can be very busy, but now, in winter, it doesn't get as much traffic; you may have the entire top to yourself.
Find out more
Read the blog, Henry Van Hoevenberg and Early Hiking Trails.