While there is no sweeter reward than reaching the summit after a long grueling hike, I firmly believe in the power of packing in as much as possible on your Adirondack getaway. Whether you’re looking for bang-for-your-buck views, have some time to spare, or are unable to make the long hike to the top, look no further than the Whiteface Veterans' Memorial Highway!
The scenic drive (or bike!) will take you up to the 4,867-foot summit of Whiteface Mountain, New York’s fifth highest peak. Starting at the Toll House, the five mile paved road rises over 2,300 feet, offering nine viewing points to stop at along the way. It was my first time driving up the highway and I couldn't help but stop at every pull off. Each offered a different view; each more stunning as the elevation gained.
Arriving at the summit, I was happy to find 360-degrees of endless panoramic views stretching far beyond the 6.1 million acres that are the Adirondack Mountains. It was a clear sunny morning and we were able to see Vermont and Canada in the distance. After you park there's a short stair climb to the actual summit, where the castle stands. It was built from the stones that were removed during the construction of the road and is also used as a weather station. There is also a cafe and gift shop once you reach the summit.
Apart from the great views, the The Whiteface Veterans' Memorial Highway is quite historic. The highway opened to automobiles on July 20,1935 although the official ribbon cutting wasn't until September 14; this was long before the popular ski area came into existence. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was New York’s governor at the time, dedicated the highway to all the fallen veterans of World War I. In 1985, then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo re-dedicated the highway to all veterans.
The Whiteface Veterans' Memorial Highway is open daily from June 1 through October 8 from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (4:45 p.m. for cyclists). You can also see all the sites and enjoy the tour up Whiteface for free when you purchase an Olympic Sites Passport! While this scenic drive is a must, there are plenty of things to do in the Whiteface region. Get close to nature and go biking, fishing, or hiking, or book a cozy cabin and relax. The options are endless.
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