There’s a sign that hangs in Little Supermarket above the checkout counter that reads, “Whiteface, see it from Lake Placid or play on it in Wilmington.” When I think about Wilmington and the other towns that make up the Whiteface Region, I think of that sign.
Wilmington and the nearby communities might be small, but the outdoor opportunities of the region are not. The region's namesake, Whiteface Mountain, proudly sits beside Esther Mountain, the 28th highest peak in New York. Together they look over the Ausable River and those who fish it and the numerous trails that make up the Wilmington Wild Forest. They look over roughly 23 miles of mountain bike trails, scenic back roads, and the unique attractions of the region.
What I love most about the Whiteface Region is the ease of accessibility and wide range of trails. In every season, a new offering of outdoor exploration unfolds and it seems as if the people who live and visit the towns are masters of them all. There are short trails to amazing views and there are some of the highest mountains in New York. In the summer, hiking, fly fishing, and road and mountain biking are major draws. Fall offers some of the most scenic and colorful views. Winter means skiing!
Perhaps the best part of the Whiteface Region is that it sees less crowds than neighboring towns. I currently live on Main St. in Lake Placid. When town and the nearby trails become a little too busy, Wilmington is where I go for solitude. The town's hiking and mountain biking trails become the perfect places to cross-country ski or snowshoe. It's absolutely a place you should visit. The region is home to wonderful Inns and B&B’s, affordable yet upscale motels, and other unique lodging properties (think tiny homes, yurts, and glamping tents!). There are also numerous restaurants in the region, ranging from upscale dining to pub fare.
Pack Your Skis
While there are no places with groomed cross country ski trails, Wilmington offers a more backcountry cross-country experience. Whether you’re looking for a quick ski, scenic views, or a day-long adventure, there’s a trail for you.
One of the most popular places to cross-country ski in the Whiteface Region is up the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway, or locally referred to as the toll road. An early season favorite when the other trails don’t have enough snow, the toll road is a long, low grade climb taking you to the top of Whiteface Mountain. Once the trails are more covered, trail networks like the Flume Trails, Hardy Road (also called Beaver Brook Trails), or Cooper Kiln become great places to cross-country ski. Like nearly all parts of the Adirondacks, the Whiteface Region is extremely dog friendly! You are likely to run into another skier or hiker who brought their Adirondog along for the adventure.
If you haven’t tried cross-country skiing yet, rental shops in Lake Placid have everything you need to get started. They can even take you out on a guided experience! All the trails mentioned above are also great places for snowshoeing and some for fat biking. Like I said, in the Whiteface Region we love our adventure.
Snowshoes or cross-country skis are required on trails when snow depths are eight or more inches. Post-holing (hiking through snow with just hiking boots) can be exhausting for the hiker and also create dangerous holes for skiers. Winter in the Adirondacks can be unpredictable, so always check the weather, pick an appropriate adventure, and pack smart! If you’re interested in learning more about how to come to the Adirondacks prepared this winter, check out winter tips here and take a look at the Love Your ADK pledge.
Ready to plan a winter adventure? Start planning your vacation now!