A Taste of the Wonders of Wilmington
Everyone loves a charcuterie board, right? Cheese, crackers, fruit, candied nuts, maybe some honeycomb or jam to smear on everything — it’s a home run every time. Why? Options. It’s not just that each component is delightful, it’s the way the flavors come together to create a diverse and well-rounded experience.
What does this have to do with the Wonders of Wilmington? The joy of variety, that’s what! Not only are there three Wonders of Wilmington (WOW) challenges—Hiking, Biking, and Family Fun—but the destinations within each challenge are a veritable sample platter of the most beautiful places to be found in and around Wilmington. Ranging from summit views to quiet backcountry ponds, stunning waterfalls, and awesome made-made attractions, there is something to please every adventure palate in each of the three challenges.
Between the three WOW challenges, there are 19 unique destinations. To pique your interest, here’s a sample platter of the wonders you’ll encounter.
Cobble Lookout (Family Fun)
Cobble Lookout is a great hike in every season. A 2.6-mile relatively flat trail leads to a rocky outcrop that overlooks the valley below, the mountains beyond, and Whiteface and Esther mountains to your immediate right.
Jay Mountain (Hiking)
Jay Mountain ups the difficulty with a 5-mile or 8-mile round trip hike over moderate terrain. The trail ascends through a beautiful forest before breaking out onto a largely open ridge. Hike to the end or turn at an earlier overlook—both offer stunning views.
Whiteface Summit (All Three!)
The summit of Whiteface Mountain is an optional addition to all three WOW challenges, and it can be accessed in several ways. For the ambitious, challenging hiking trails lead to the top of New York’s fifth tallest mountain. You can also drive or bike up the Veterans Memorial Highway (for a fee) and walk the steps or take the elevator to the very top. The summit of Whiteface provides exceptional views and is truly a must-see.
Connery Pond (Family Fun)
Connery Pond is an ideal for families of all ages. At just 0.5-miles round trip when you park at the interior lot, this trail is also used as a portage (or canoe carry) for boaters and anglers. On the shore of the pond, gaze across the water at Whiteface Mountain.
Cooper Kiln Pond (Hiking)
If you have two vehicles, Cooper Kiln Pond is a moderate, sometimes steep 5.9-mile thru-hike between two mountain ranges. Located near the mid-point between the two trailheads, the picturesque pond provides mountain views and has a shoreside lean-to.
Copperas, Owen & Winch Ponds (Hiking)
Coppeas, Owen, and Winch Ponds make a 3.5-mile loop hike that ranges from easy to moderate. The ponds provide scenic views, and Copperas has a lean-to on its shores that offers an exceptional backcountry camping experience.
Stag Brook Falls (Hiking)
Only accessible when ski season is not in session, Stag Brook Falls climbs between two ski runs along a series of cascading waterfalls. Hike as far as the largest falls (less than .5-miles) or keep going for a 1.5-mile round trip hike with many more cascades to see.
Monument Falls (Family Fun)
Monument Falls is a great addition to any day’s activities in the Whiteface Region. Make a quick stop at this roadside attraction or bring a picnic and stay a while beside the Ausable River.
Boardwalks & Burms
Silver Lake Bogs & Bluffs (Family Fun)
Silver Lake Bog and Bluffs is a 2-mile round trip hike that passes through a bog on a wooden boardwalk before climbing to an awesome viewpoint. A little outside of Wilmington, this is a great option for those looking to explore beyond the beaten path.
Wilmington Bike Park (Biking)
The Wilmington Bike Park is a mountain bikers dream! This skills park is perfect for riders of all ages, and includes a pump track and dirt jumps.
Hardy Trails (Biking)
The Hardy Road (aka Beaver Brook) Trails are a network of first-of-their-kind multi-use trails specifically built for mountain biking. Seven miles of trails traverse both sides of the valley, ranging from smooth singletrack to more technical rides.
Ready to tackle a Wonders of Wilmington challenge? Great! Whether you visit every destination during a single vacation, over the course of a season, or in a calendar year, keep track of your progress. Celebrate your finish by signing the book and taking a photo at the Wilmington gazebo, then register your completion! Each challenge has an associated patch that finishers will receive, and there’s a patch for pets that have accompanied you on your journey. A $10 registration fee for humans and $5 for pets benefits the care and maintenance of WOW trails.
These adventures (and likely this story) are liable to work up an appetite. Luckily, Wilmington is also home to many wonderful dining establishments. Refuel with a great meal, then rest your legs at one of the area’s comfortable and conveniently-located lodging properties. If the Wonders of Wilmington leave you hungry for more, check out the Whiteface Region’s full list of outdoor recreation opportunities.