This is the big one.
Back in 1922, the Adirondack Mountain Club created an alternate way to connect the train stations in two communities. It would connect the depots in Lake Placid and Northville. Hike past mountain views, waterfalls, and mile after mile of rolling forest. Be on the lookout for moose and beaver, and fall asleep to the sound of loons calling as the sun sets!Now, it's still 133 miles of pure Adirondacks.
The trail starts on Averyville Rd. From the jct. of Rtes. 73 and 86 in Lake Placid, proceed 0.2 mi. east on Rt. 73 and turn right (south) on Station St. At Old Military Rd. at 1.0 mi. there is a large DEC sign marking the official start/terminus of the N-P Trail. Continuing straight ahead and now on Averyville Road, the trailhead is at a small turnout on the left at another1.2 mi., just before a bridge over the Chubb River.
Many guidebooks and published accounts of the trail are based on starting at the southernmost trailhead in Northville and heading north. Fans suggest that once a hiker is familiar with the trail, they will find a new experience by hiking south from the Lake Placid trailhead.
This is also the trailhead for Wanika Falls.
Distance: 14 miles round trip, intermediate difficulty.
This is the most northerly section of the 130 mi. N-P Trail. The 14-mile round trip to Wanika Falls is a challenging undertaking, but there are many views and other stopping points along the way to make this a shorter trip.
Leaving the road and marked with blue DEC disks, the trail begins following an old road along the bank of the Chubb River, but veers away from the river at 0.1 mi. and soon arrives at the trail register. From the register, the trail climbs at a steady, gradual grade until 0.5 mi., where it levels out and continues with short ups and downs. At 2.2 mi., the trail begins crossing an extensive spruce swamp with the end of the spruce swamp coming at 2.5 mi. The trail then crosses a large brook on a good bridge at 3.3 mi. and continues on to join an old tote road at 3.7 mi. Here it swings left and begins a gradual climb to a beaver pond on the right at 4.1 mi. From here there is a view of a slide on the W side of Nye Mt., the slide a result of the earthquake of October 7, 1983.
The trail, now on the flat, crosses a large brook at 4.8 mi, and crosses two more brooks before descending slightly to a bridge over the Chubb River at 6.1 mi. On the far side of the bridge the trail turns left and proceeds up the bank of the Chubb River to a side trail leading left at 6.7 mi. Turning left the route to Wanika Falls climbs steeply to a crossing of the Chubb River just above a small falls. The former lean-to site is on the far bank, 0.1 mi. from the main trail, while the actual Wanika Falls are about 100 yds. above this point.
The trail provides access to some of the most beautiful and remote areas which have first-come, first-serve lean-tos and primitive campsites. They are located in designated Wilderness Areas like High Peaks, Blue Ridge, Moose River Plains, Silver Lake, and West Canada Lake. Backpack and camp among forests and lake shores.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
Many sections of the 133-mile Northville-Lake Placid are suitable for cross-country skiing. This section features rolling terrain with some short steep climbs to a lean-to and frozen Wanika Falls can be reached via a side trail.
The trail to Wankika Falls is better suited for snowshoeing, but the terrain is gentle enough that most skiers will feel comfortable here as well.
The backcountry trails that follow are not packed or groomed; they are, however, marked routes which can be explored using either skis or snowshoes. Most summer hiking trails can be negotiated using snowshoes during the winter. During the winter it is especially important to be prepared, with the gear and clothing you carry, for the possibility of spending an unexpected night out and for minor equipment repairs. Plan ahead, carry a map and compass, and be sure to let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
Snowshoes or skis are required on all trails in the High Peaks Wilderness Area when there is more than eight inches of snow on the ground.
Find out more
Be sure to check the Department of Conservation's Adirondack Trail information before setting out, and always carry a map and compass in case of need.
This description is adapted from Adirondack Trails – High Peaks Region by Tony Goodwin and published by the Adirondack Mt. Club, Lake George, NY. The book with accompanying map is available at area book and sport stores or from the Adirondack Mt. Club , 800-395-8080, or at www.adk.org.