The Cooper Kiln Trail is a fantastic 5.9 mile point to point route between Franklin Falls Road and Bonnieview Road. Due to the significant change in elevation this trail is recommended for intermediate or advanced level cross country skiers. Those chosing to attempt the route should takes steps to ensure the trail has adequate snow coverage. If you've tried the nearby "Poor Man's Downhill" Trail and you're looking for a longer, more difficult adventure this is the trail for you.
The most fun way to ski the Cooper Kiln Trail is to drop a car at the trailhead at Bonneview Road and pile into another car to drive to the beginning of the trail at Franklin Falls Road (very close to the Whiteface Memorial Highway Toll Booth). From Franklin Falls Rd. it is 2.7 miles to the Trail's namesake Cooper Kiln Pond where you will also find a lean-to. This makes for an ideal spot for a break. The trail climbs sharply from Franklin Falls Rd. to the height of land on the shoulder of Morgan Mountain. From here there is a short, but steep descent to the pond.
As the trail continues West beyond the pond and lean-to the trail begins to descend sharply. Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown once described this section of the trail as "thrilling." It is here that the trail drops over three hundred vertical feet in less than a mile. Under less than ideal conditions this part can be downright terrifying, but on the right day with a few inches of fresh powder it as an absolute blast. The trail begins to trend North before a sharp Easterly bend signals the end of the steep terrain and the beginning of the more moderate section near Bonneview Road.
Optimal Equipment for the Cooper Kiln Trail is metal edged cross country skis. Heavier duty gear will make the terrain more pleasant in less than ideal conditions, but lighter cross country racing equipment simply won't cut it here. Skiers should understand that while the trail does not lie in an area designated as "Wilderness" they should be prepared for such an expeirence. Extra food, water, and clothing should always be a part of the euqation here. It should also be noted that this is a snowmobile route. Skiers should always be on the lookout for other trail users travelling in either direction.
It's impossible to do any section of this route without passing by the front door of Candy Man Chocolates in WIlmington. Make a quick stop for an amazing on-trail treat or load up on some chocolates to take home. If you're in the area and snow depth is optimal be sure to check this trail out.