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In Wilmington, New York, “WOW” is much more than a word.

In fact, “WOW” is the acronym for a brand new patch challenge: the Wonders of Wilmington Challenge. WOW!

WOW patches on display on a red Adirondack Chair.

The Wonders of Wilmington Challenge (WOW), like many good ideas, is the product of someone’s passion. Karen Keasler, a Wilmington resident, created this challenge to highlight some of the natural attractions and outdoor recreation of the area and to encourage people to get out there and explore. "My family and friends have had so much fun participating in several of the local hiking challenges and earning patches,” Karen said. “Wilmington is lesser known but has so much to offer, [...] so we thought it would be great for Wilmington to have its own challenge.”

Interested? Us too. WOW goes beyond the typical patch challenge, though, and offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to earn three different patches in three different styles of activities: hiking, mountain biking, and family fun

Each WOW Challenge consists of six selected "trails," with the optional experience of visiting the summit of Whiteface Mountain or Little Whiteface in whatever way is deemed most appropriate: by foot, by car, by bike, or by gondola.

A young boy looks through the telescope on the summit of Whiteface Mountain. The High Peaks are in the distance.

For each challenge completed, participants are able to register online to be added to the finisher’s roster and receive the corresponding 3-inch WOW patch. Do one or do all three! The best part: it’s all pet-friendly, too. If your pet companions join you, they can be registered and receive a 2-inch WOW patch designed just for them.

What are you waiting for?

WOW … by foot

The WOW Hiking Challenge includes a set of trails not included in any of the other local hiking challenges, yet offers some of Wilmington’s best terrain and views. Trails range in length from 2-miles to 8-miles round trip and in difficulty from easy to challenging.

The hikes include: Stag Brook Falls; Cooper Kiln Pond; Flume Knob; Jay Mountain; Marble Mountain; and Owen, Copperas, and Winch ponds.

Don’t worry, planning for a hike in the Wilmington area doesn't have to be a challenge! Make sure you have all the proper gear and 10 essentials, follow Leave No Trace ethics, and abide by all rules and regulations. Unsure where to start? Talk to a local guide and remember to Love Your ADK!

A green fern glows in the sunlight as a hiker passes by.

WOW … by bike

Why let the hikers have all the challenge fun? There’s a WOW patch-earning challenge just for mountain bikers right here in Wilmington, a town named "the mountain bike capital of the Adirondacks."

Mountain biking is one of the most popular activities in the area. Wilmington features a wide variety of riding, for beginners and experts! Here in the Whiteface Region, we are lucky to have the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) as active members of the community. BETA builds, maintains, and advocates for a system of community and mountain bike trails, among other things.

The mountain biking trails featured in this challenge are: Hardy Road, East & West; Poor Man’s Downhill; the Flume Trails; Quaker Mountain; and the Wilmington Bike Park.

A female mountain biker in a pink shirt rides through a lush, green forest.

WOW … with family

The WOW Family Fun Challenge is designed intentionally for multi-generational families and groups to enjoy together! It’s a great way to get younger challengers started with the fun and rewards of exploring the great outdoors – and they’ll love earning their patch! These beginner experiences are mostly under half a mile in distance, but the longest clocks in at 2 miles round trip. Each can be done at a leisurely pace and provides a rewarding, WOW Adirondack experience.

The experiences in the WOW Family Fun Challenge are: Connery Pond, Monument Falls, Lake Stevens Trail, Silver Lake Bog & Bluffs, the Nature Walk at the Wilmington Beach, and Cobble Lookout.

A family in colorful shirts walks on a mountain summit.

Register for a patch!

Remember, each WOW Challenge has the option of visiting the summit of Whiteface Mountain or Little Whiteface Mountain to see perhaps the greatest wonder of Wilmington: the view from the top of the world! You can get there by foot, by car, by bike, or by gondola.

Once you've completed your selected WOW Challenge(s):

  1. Start by celebrating your success with a visit to the Gazebo in the center of Wilmington, sign the book, and take a picture. If you choose to post your photo on social media, include #WondersOfWilmingtonNY.  
  2. Register online to be added to our finisher’s roster and receive your patch(es). Registration fees: $10 per challenge finisher, $5 per pet companion finisher. Please allow for up to 12 weeks for processing.
The four WOW patches.

Wilmington and the entire Whiteface Region has so much to offer! Stay for awhile and see what else there is to do in the area. Great restaurants and relaxing lodging abound. And plenty to do outdoors.

Complete just one or complete all three WOW Challenges. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to have fun!

Leave No Trace and Love Your ADK

The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks.

Before heading out, be sure to review the Leave No Trace principles and make sure you are prepared with hiking essentials!


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