First we summited to the very top of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. Now we must carefully go down the steep and rocky path. It seemed far harder going down as you looked directly off the cliffs to either side. This section was unusual with a few stairs to help out. You are walking in the narrow rocky ridge that runs from one peak to the next.
We have walked up to the summit of Whiteface Mountain just outside of Lake Placid, N.Y. in the Adirondacks. Reaching the top it was barely 50° out when it was 80° at the mountain’s base. Seeing the summit buildings, they looked like a moon or Mars base. The dome shaped building had a lead roof and all stone structure with a large stone fireplace. That fireplace was shut down after they found it was altering the temp data at the weather station next door. The taller two story building was the active weather station at about 5,000 feet elevation. The weather up here is unbelievably harsh in the Winter.
We are at Whiteface Mountain just North East of Lake Placid in the Northern Adirondacks. You can access Whiteface Mountain by going up the cable cars to semi near the top, or drive to the other side of the mountain to a paid access road. This road is long and winding with great views of the countryside as you drive up. It stops almost above the tree line and you park. In the past you could go deep in a tunnel and up an elevator to the peak and weather station. The elevator had been down for a long time, so the only way up to the top summit is to walk and climb.
The trail starts up with rocky stairs to lull you into thinking it is easy, but then quickly giving way to huge granite boulders and a steep path. The trail goes right along a top ridge line falling steeply away on either side. They have put steel railings on both sides to keep people in and it was quite a thrilling hike.
Driving up the entrance road to Whiteface Mountain, there are many rest stops and overviews along the way. Instead of guardrails, there are large granite boulders next to the road. As you get higher up the deciduous trees thin out and give way to conifers. Here, even the conifers are having trouble and thinning out showing some of the rocky ground.
When visiting the Adirondacks in upstste New York, you should really try to hike to the tops of some of the major peaks. With this in mind we decided to hike to the top of, or summit, Whiteface Mountain that is nearly 5,000 feet in elevation. Fortunately they have an entrance road so you can drive a small portion of the way up (99%). But then you have to get out of the car and hike the last 250 feet up all on your own! (Only because the elevator was broken). I am now one of the proud few who have summited Whiteface Mountain.
Here is the entrance to the road that leads you up to the top. A nice “Swiss Chalet” style building welcoming you to the long road up.
Downtown Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks has many stores including outfitter stores and canoe stores. Many vehicles in town have canoes or kayaks ready for adventure as there are so many lakes, rivers and streams in the Adirondacks. The building on the left is the Saranac hotel that used to be run by Paul Smiths College. It is under construction and refurbishment.