Catamount, the Short Peak that's Really Tall!
3 Point Scrambling, with Great Views: 3,168'
September 2003

Wendy with Whiteface and Esther over her shoulder
Wendy on Catamount Summit, with Esther and Whiteface over her shoulder

The summit of Catamount is said to be only 1.8 miles from the trailhead, and it is truly only 3,168 feet above sea level. So......why does this smaller mountain, with some of the best views anywhere in the Adirondacks, feel like one of the high peaks? Catamount starts out with a short, level hike through a beautiful, sandy, conifer forest where mosses and lichen fill in the spaces where spruces, pine and larch aren't growing.  The trail then heads up at a fairly steep grade through a thickly canopied birch forest, before breaking out into some serious, but enjoyable scrambling, rewarded by great views. Here, Catamount's tease begins, as you think you are nearing the summit (it feels like you've already hiked a couple of miles!), only to discover the scrambling has only brought you to a brief rocky respite, with the summit rising another third of a mile after a brief, shallow drop in the trail. The last leg consists mainly of walking up bare rock and scrambling through the occasional spruce tunnel, again with continually good views. The summit rewards you with 360 degree vistas, so choose a sunny day, and bring the camera. The Catamount trailhead is about 20 minutes from Otter Chalet and Deep Woods Cabin: head north on Springfield, left briefly onto Route 86, continuing straight across four corners, and up the Veterans Memorial Highway, right onto Franklin Falls Road (just below the Whiteface toll gate), right again after 3.3 miles, right onto Forestdale, where you begin to see Catamount in the distance. The trailhead is poorly marked, with vertical red paint striping on a couple of thin trees, about 2.2 miles up on the left. Have fun!

Wendy in front of Catamount after the great scramble Looking east from Summit of Catamount
Wendy in front of Catamount, after all that scrambling to get this far!    The view east from Catamount Summit
Looking east from Summit of CatamountLooking east from Summit of Catamount
Views North.........                               and South
Part of the scramble - Don't Worry, You'll Fit Beard Lichen Part of the scramble - Don't Worry, You'll Fit
Yes, this vertical chimney is part of the trail!     Lichens & Mosses (beard lichen above) abound in sandy forest at start of the trail.


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