Nearly 70 percent of visitors to the Adirondacks come here during the WARM weather?
It’s true. So what’s that mean for Whiteface Mountain?
Yes, some folks remember that Whiteface Mountain hosted the alpine events for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. And yes, today’s avid skiers and riders know that Whiteface is THE place to experience the greatest vertical drop in the east, located in a pristine natural environment, unmarred by those view-ruining slope-side condominium developments and other commercial stuff.
But winter is just one out of four seasons in the Adirondacks. Add in the fact that seasonal residents and most travelers are here during summer, and the fact that climate change is making the warmer season longer, and many ski resorts are upping their summertime game to expand their non-winter offerings.
It’s plain old good business practice, and Whiteface has been ahead of this curve for years.
The 5th highest peak in the Adirondacks is an amazing, multi-faceted summertime destination. I like to think of the mountain as a big circle viewed from directly above, divided into a couple of uneven pie slices with the center being the summit.
Of course, there’s the alpine ski slice. In winter, that’s the typical trail system for skiing and riding. In summer, though, it’s an action-packed place of a different kind!
Your "alpine slice" summertime choices:
Looking down at the mountain from above, the other slice of the pie includes a variety of experiences, too.
Poor Man’s Downhill - This is a beginner’s downhill mountain biking run with an inexpensive town-operated shuttle to the top that runs every weekend in summer. Stop at Leepoff Cycles or the Whiteface Visitors Bureau for trail and shuttle information.
Take a Hike
As one of the 46ers, Whiteface is popular for regular-old hiking, too. One can access the trail to the top via Connery Pond off route 86 approximately 6 miles south of the entrance to the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area. This is a 6-mile hike one-way to the summit.
OR, one can hike 3.9 miles one way to the top from the Atmospheric Science Research Center just off Route 431 (Whiteface Mountain Road). The hike ends at the summit, where you’ll meet fresh-looking folks who just DROVE there via the most amazing highway ever.
The piece de resistance, if you will.
Take advantage of the 12 million dollars’-worth of smoooooth resurfaced and rehabilitated highway that was recently finished courtesy of New York State. The Highway was dedicated to the Veterans of World War I by New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Drive, bike, or motorcycle up 8 miles of the most scenic piece of road ever. It’s been open since 1935, but this summer marks the first year since significant work was completed to maintain this historic, handicapped-accessible route to the top of an Adirondack High Peak.
Once you arrive at the top of the highway, you can either take an elevator or walk a stone stairway to the summit, where you’ll also find the Castle Cafe for some terrific food, including, I hear, barbecue on the weekends!
Oh, and 360-degree views.
The climate will change, and winter will be here soon enough, but Whiteface Mountain is a veritable circle of fun all summer long!
INSIDER TIP: Hiking to the top is free, but as Whiteface Mountain General Manager Aaron Kellett says, the “best bang for your buck” is to purchase a Olympic Sites Passport for discounts and access to all of these great experiences.
Book your stay in Wilmington or Jay, and we’ll see you on the summer slopes!
- Kim Rielly is the director of communications for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.
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