Often climbed with Cascade Mountain, Porter Mountain is a rewarding experience in its own right. Wide views at the summit and usually less crowded than the more popular Cascade. There are three routes to the summit of Porter, one of which is followed heavily.
How to get there
There are three ways to reach Porter Mountain. It is recommended that you use a guidebook to help determine which is the best option for you.
Primary trailhead: Leave Lake Placid on Route 73, follow Route 73 toward Keene. The Trailhead for Cascade will be on the right, before you reach Cascade Lakes. This parking are is often crowded in summer and may require a several hundred yard road walk to reach the trail.
Secondary trailhead: Leave Lake Placid following Route 73 through Keene and toward Keene Valley. Look for Marcy Field on the right. The parking area is just past Marcy Field on the right.
Third trailhead: This route starts from The Garden in Keene Valley. Follow Route 73 out of Lake Placid through Keene and into Keene Valley. Take the right after the Ausable Inn and follow the road to its end at The Garden Parking Lot. There is a fee to park here.
By the numbers
- Elevation: 4,058 feet
- Porter Mountain is High Peak #38
- Follow Leave No Trace principles
- See descriptions below for individual trail milages
Primary trailhead: This is a 5.6 mile RT with mixed terrain. This route starts out and remains fairly moderate, aside from a couple short steeper pitches. This route is used when combining Cascade and Porter as a day trip and is a very busy trailhead. Go right at a junction at 2.1 miles from the road and continue 0.7 miles down and up to reach the summit of Porter Mountain. Ascent: 1,960 feet.
Secondary trailhead: This is an 9.0 mile RT with a moderate to steep ascent. Starting from Marcy Field follow the woods road for a short distance then continue left on a foot trail. This trail leads over Blueberry Mountain and is a very steep and eroded ascent of Blueberry. There are outstanding views as you approach the summit of Blueberry Mountain. From Blueberry Mountain you will continue a very steep and eroded climb to the ridge SE of Porter Mountain. The ridge is much more moderate and has two intermediate views before reaching the summit. Ascent: 2,700 feet.
Third trailhead: This is a 7.6 mile RT and is typically used as a hiking trail to Little Porter Mountain, which it traverses. The trail is quite moderate to the base of Little Porter before it starts a final 1/4-mile steep and steady climb with numerous rock staircases to aid in the ascent to the summit area of Little Porter Mountain. From Little Porter the trail gets very wet and ever worse erosion is apparent. The grade does not lessen much and joins the secondary trail just below the summit of Porter Mountain. Ascent: 3,275 feet.
Porter Mountain in winter
Porter is an excellent snowshoe excursion after you've tried a few of the area's smaller mountains. Snowshoes will usually suffice on the generally well-packed trail, although microspikes or trail crampons could come in handy on some of the steeper sections.
Expect a significant drop in temperature as elevation is gained, and be prepared for strong winds on the open summit. Always bring extra layers, especially for higher elevations, and don't hesitate to turn around if the weather starts to turn.