Cobble in winter
Cobble is a great choice for anyone who is new to winter hiking. As with any winter trail, snowshoes are a must for traction and to avoid postholing. Snowshoes will get you to the top on the long trail, but snow spikes may be necessary to traverse the short trail's steeper sections, especially on the open rock near the summit. It's a good idea to have them in your pack just in case.
Expect a drop in temperature as elevation is gained, and be prepared for cold winds on the open cobble. Always bring extra layers, especially for higher elevations, and don't hesitate to turn around if the weather starts to turn.
Cobble Hill is right on the shore of Mirror Lake and it's easy to spot thanks to the bald cobble on its face. This is a great hike for beginners, and with its two trails it's easy to make this a loop hike. The summit offers excellent views of the village of Lake Placid and the High Peaks.
- Elevation: 2,343 feet
- Elevation gain: 460 feet
- Distance: short route, 0.8 miles; long route, 1.6 miles
- The short route has a section of steep, open rock that is best avoided by inexperienced hikers
- Follow Leave No Trace principles
From the intersection of Route 73 and Route 86 in Lake Placid, follow Route 86 toward the center of town. Take a right at the town hall onto Mirror Lake Drive. Continue through the four-way stop and follow Mirror Lake Drive past Northwood Road to the entrance to Northwood School. There is a trailhead parking area 200 yards up this entrance road on the left.
One can also approach via Mount Whitney Road, which is on the right just beyond the Northwood School entrance. Parking is on Mirror Lake Drive. There is enough room for about six cars.
It's a 0.8 mile hike to the summit along the shorter, steeper route, or a 1.6 mile hike with easier grades via the long route. From the trailhead parking, look for the trailhead sign on the edge of the woods. From here pay attention to the signs, as there are several intersections with private land. About 0.4 mile in you will come to the split with the long and short trails.
Going straight, the short trail begins a steep climb over rough footing to a bare rock slab, which is very steep. A round-about trail skirts the rock to the right, but hikers should stick to the rock to avoid causing erosion. Above the slab there is an intersection with the long trail. Bear right to reach the summit in 100 yards.
The long trail starts 0.4 mile up the past the trailhead. From here it is 1.2 miles to the summit over easy to moderate terrain. From the intersection, drop down along an old road and veer right back onto a foot trail. This will lead you to the shore of Echo Pond. The trail can be wet, but there are bypasses if needed. At the end of the pond the trail swings right and away from the pond, going right again at another intersection at about 0.1 mile from the pond. A moderate climb along an old road ends just below the summit, where the trail joins the short trail outlined above.