Autumn is one of the busiest times of year in the Adirondack Mountains. Families and guests visit the region from throughout the Northeast and around the world to enjoy the fall foliage.
In anticipation of what is expected to be an unprecedented visitor-ship to the Adirondack High Peaks now through Columbus Day, a new free shuttle service is offering to take hikers to six nearby family-friendly hiking trails.
Beginning September 13 and running through October 6, and Friday through Monday during Columbus Day Weekend, Essex County will offer complimentary rides to and from the Whiteface Landing Trailhead, Copperas Pond Trailhead, Whiteface Mountain Ski Lodge, and Bear Den Trailhead at Whiteface Mountain.
The shuttle service has two departing locations in Lake Placid, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort (Shuttle stop 1) and Mirror Lake Park, across from the High Peaks Resort (Shuttle stop 2). Service runs each day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shuttles are scheduled approximately every 60 minutes.
The shuttle will stop transporting riders from Lake Placid after 2:47 p.m. to ensure hikers have enough time to enjoy their hike and not miss the last shuttle back to Lake Placid.
Shuttle Stop 3 – Whiteface Landing Trailhead
Whiteface Landing: The 3.25-mile trail ascends 310 feet from the trailhead to the shore of Lake Placid, where you can view McKenzie Mountain, Moose Mountain, Moose Island, and the surrounding wilderness lands across the lake. Round trip is 6.5 miles.
Shuttle Stop 4 – Copperas Pond Trailhead
Copperas and Owen Ponds: The trail ascends 450 feet in a quarter mile, then descends for another quarter mile to the clear waters of Copperas Pond before continuing 0.7 miles to the shore of Owen Pond. The trail provides views of the scenic wilderness ponds, their picturesque shorelines, 3,616-foot Stewart Mountain, and 3,892-foot Kilburn Mountain. Round trip is 2.4 miles.
Shuttle Stop 5 – Bear Den Mountain Trailhead
Flume Trail System: The trail system is comprised of approximately 10 miles of trails open to hiking and mountain biking. An approximately 1-mile scenic hike descends 220 feet along the West Branch of the Ausable River and accesses an overlook of a set of rapids on the river, making for a great family experience. Use the Lower Connector Trail from the trailhead to access the River Trail. Round trip is 2 miles.
Bear Den Mountain: The trail ascends 1.6 miles and 1,160 feet from the trailhead to the 2,400-foot summit of Bear Den Mountain. The summit provides spectacular views of the West Branch of the Ausable River Valley, Sentinel Range, Stephenson Range, and the ski trails and summit of Whiteface Mountain. Round trip is 3.2 miles.
Shuttle Stop 6 – Whiteface Mountain Ski Lodge
Stag Brook Falls Trail: Take the gravel service road to the right of the main lodge, pass to the left of the smaller building, and continue to top of the road and look for the trail marker on the power pole which marks the beginning of the trail. The trail proceeds through the woods past a 25-foot waterfall and ends on open ski trails which provide a scenic view of the river valley and the surrounding mountains. Round trip from the base lodge is 1 mile.
West Branch Nature Trail: Take the service road to the top of Mixing Bowl Lift and follow the red trail markers along the West Branch of the Ausable River through hardwood forests to open ski trails. Return to the base lodge via the beautiful Stag Brook Trail. This loop is 1.9 miles long and climbs 335 feet in elevation.
Note that Whiteface Mountain’s annual Oktoberfest will take place on September 28 and September 29. During the two-day event, the Whiteface-Lake Placid Hiker Shuttle will be unable to access shuttle stops for Bear Den Mountain Trailhead (#5) and the Whiteface Mountain Ski Lodge (#6). Instead riders will be dropped off and picked up outside at a single stop along the entrance road. Riders will need to pay admission to hike and/or to attend the Oktoberfest. ($16 for adults and $14 for seniors and children at the gate.)
Visit https://www.lakeplacid.com/hiker-shuttle for shuttle map and full schedule.
Essex County is undertaking this effort in collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Lake Placid’s Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA).
Photo of Bear Den Mountain provided by DEC.