Whiteface Mountain & Mount Esther
On the Trail from the Wilmington Side, Sept. '00 (Whiteface) & July '03 (Esther)
From the Rte 86 Lake Placid Side in July 2005
Whiteface Mtn. : 4,867, 5th Highest Elevation; Mount Esther: 4,240, 28th Highest

Lake Placid as seen from Whiteface Plaque at summit of Esther
On top of Whiteface. Most folks get there by driving up the Memorial Highway.      Plaque commemorating  Esther's mistake.
Lake Placid as seen from Whiteface
Lake Placid as seen from top of Whiteface.

Whiteface, along with Esther, the two high peaks you can see from Ausable Lodge and Otter Cottage, can be reached from the North via two spots on the Veterans Memorial Highway, the road that takes motorists up to the summit of Whiteface in season. From four corners in Wilmington (where Route 86 heads south towards Lake Placid  at the Mel's Diner/ Candyman intersection), take the highway up, looking on your left for signs to the Whiteface trail and the Wilmington Reservoir. A second trail begins further up the highway on your left, from the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, a turnoff before you reach the toll gate to Whiteface. Both of these approaches begin with kind of steep climbs, which make you wonder why you didn't go fishing instead. However, take heart, both the trail to Whiteface, and the offshot trail to Lookout Mountain and Esther become easier as you progress. The view from Whiteface is great, while the view from Esther is merely okay. I recommend Esther only if you're on your way to becoming a 46er. Esther is supposed to be a "bushwhack", but I had no trouble following the "herd"trail. You can also hike up Whiteface from the south, taking the trail to the top of Lake Placid (the lake, not the town) from the right side of Rte. 86, just beyond where the West Branch of the Ausable River heads off along River Drive, towards the Olympic Ski Jumps. This trail is an excellent trail for kids and family, at least as far as to the landing on Lake Placid. From there, a hiker can choose to head up Whiteface, a more serious challenge.

From Marble Mountain look out View from Marble Mountain on way to Whiteface On trail from Atmosperic Research Center
Trail shots.
dan & Chino take a breakChino helps trail straggler

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