Wanika Falls

  • Lake Placid

Hike Features


This is the most northerly section of the 136 mile Northville-Placid Trail. The 13-mile round trip to Wanika Falls is a challenging undertaking, but there are some views and other stopping points along the way to make this a shorter trip.

How to get there

The trail starts on Averyville Road. From the junction of Routes 73 and 86 in Lake Placid, proceed 0.2 mi. east on Rt. 73 and turn right (south) on Station Street. At Old Military Rd., at 1.0 mi., there is a large DEC sign marking the 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 another 1.2 mi., just before a bridge over the Chubb River.

By the numbers

  • 14-miles, round trip
  • 1,450 feet of elevation gain


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 West side of Nye Mountain, the result of the earthquake of October 7, 1983.

The trail, now relatively 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 yards above this point.

Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing

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.

The trail to Wanika Falls is better suited for snowshoeing, but the terrain is gentle enough that most skiers will feel comfortable here as well.

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.