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Your Ultimate Guide to Hiking Lake Placid

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ramble, a half-day trek, or some hardcore summiting on one of the Adirondack’s High Peaks, we’ve rounded up the right path for you. Here are the best hikes in the Lake Placid area, sorted by length and skill level; all are easily accessible from the Lake Placid Lodge, which can serve as your breakfast launching pad and also provide luxurious relaxation at the end of the day. Pack the trail mix, layer up on some bug spray, and get moving!


Peninsula Trails: Easy

This series of family-friendly trails crisscrosses the Brewster Peninsula at the south end of Lake Placid, creating an easy two-mile walk with no major elevation changes. You’ll pass beneath the shady canopies of evergreens as you make your way down to the lake, where you can take in the view while the kids romp in the water off the dam.

114 Peninsula Way
Lake Placid, NY 12946

John Brown Farm State Historic Site: Easy

This 1-hour loop through woodlands and fields will take you back in time to the 1850s, when the famed abolitionist John Brown lived and farmed here. It’s a 2.6-mile walk on mostly flat, well-maintained terrain. There’s a museum and historic house as well, with free admission, open May through October.

115 John Brown Rd.
Lake Placid, NY 12946

High Falls Gorge: Easy

This short excursion allows you to traverse woodland trails and bridges along a beautiful gorge and a series of dramatic waterfalls. The complete loop is about a mile long, and there are also shorter, more accessible walks. This is one of the few trails with an entrance fee: $14.50 for adults and $10.50 for children 4–12, with younger kids free. 

4761 NYS Route 86
Wilmington, NY 12997

Henry’s Woods Loop Trail: Easy to Moderate

Just south of the village of Lake Placid, hikers mix with bikers and birders on a set of easy to moderately challenging trails. The 2.5-mile Henry’s Woods Loop Trail (green trail marker), clocking in at just over an hour, is great for beginners; it’s well-maintained and passes through peaceful woods. The other two trails in the Woods (red and yellow markers) are a bit more difficult, with some moderate climbing to reach beautiful views, but they can be completed in an hour or two as well. 

15 Bear Cub Lane
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Cobble Hill: Moderate 

At the northern end of the village of Lake Placid sits Mirror Lake, where you can access a 2.3-mile hike up nearby Cobble Hill. The trail is moderately challenging at times; there’s one section where you’ll clamber up a rocky incline with the aid of a rope — an effort that yields lovely views at the top (and it’s not too hard for kids). Park on Mirror Lake Drive or in a municipal lot, and follow the blue trail markers at the entrance.

Mirror Lake Drive
Lake Placid, NY 12946


Haystack Mountain via the Jackrabbit Trail: Moderate

This intermediate-level hike will take you to the summit and back in less than three hours, via woodlands and streambanks, leading to spectacular views of the High Peaks. Be sure to watch for the rock cairn marking a left turn about two-thirds of the way up that will take you on the final leg to the summit. The trailhead is on Route 31 on the eastern side of Lake Placid, walking distance from the Lake Placid Lodge.

Route 31
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Mount Van Hoevenberg: Moderate

Stunning views await on this 4.3-mile, in-and-out trail to the summit of Mount Van Hoevenberg, in the High Peaks Wilderness. Clocking in at two to three hours, the route winds by a beaver pond and through woodlands, with lots of opportunities for birdwatching and wildflower-picking on your way to the top. The trail has a few steep areas, and stone steps have been added in parts to aid walking and stop erosion. 

Access via South Meadows Road, off Adirondack Loj Road
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Whiteface Mountain: Hard

The fifth-highest peak in New York provides amazing views of the Adirondacks and as far as Vermont and Quebec on a clear day. Located just north of Lake Placid, this is considered a very challenging hike, with a steep section right at the start, and lots of rocks to traverse all the way up; a hiking pole could come in handy. But the 7.2-mile trail is well worth the effort, and you might feel a little smug at the top when you meet the people who drove up. There are a number of alternate hikes up, but this medium-length trail can be completed in five to six hours, out and back—including ample viewing time at the top. The trailhead is at the SUNY Atmospheric Science Research Center (ASRC).

Marble Mtn. Rd., off Route 431
Wilmington, NY 12997


Wanika Falls: Moderate

While you may not be up for trekking the 135-mile long Northville-Lake Placid trail, the northernmost section includes a perfect day hike — five or six hours in and out — with the secluded Wanika Falls as your reward. You’ll get great views of the nearby peaks, pass through diverse pond and woodland environments, and finally splash in the falls beneath rocky outcroppings. The roughly 14-mile round trip is considered moderately challenging, with some rough terrain and mud. 

Averyville Lane, just southwest of the village
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Whiteface Mountain Trail past Lake Placid and Connery Pond: Moderate to Hard

Feeling adventurous? Hike from Lake Placid to Whiteface Mountain via a trail that skirts the lake and then ascends to the summit of the state’s fifth-highest peak. Leave a whole day for this 12.5-mile round trip, especially since you’ll want to linger at the summit to enjoy the incredible views. The first leg of the hike is flat and travels through woodlands past Connery Pond to the northwest point of Lake Placid, where you can take a break on the public dock or cool off with a swim. Re-apply your bug spray, then begin your ascent, which consists mainly of clambering over rocks and boulders alongside flowing water. The climb is significant, as you gain roughly 3,000 feet in elevation, but the reward will be sweet, as you gaze down at the lake far below and think, “Did I really just hike all that way?” 

Route 86, about 3 miles east of the village
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Mount Marcy: Hard

If Whiteface Mountain isn’t enough of a challenge for you, you can take on Mount Marcy, New York state’s highest peak. You’ll ascend 3,600 feet over the 16-mile course — be prepared for mud, plentiful rock hopping, and surprising shifts in the weather and temperature. The first part of the hike is mostly along flat terrain, with camping areas and side trails to explore; in the last few miles, the ascent becomes quite steep. Not for the faint of heart, but you’ll bask in a great feeling of accomplishment once you’ve summited, along with fantastic views. 

South Meadows Road or Adirondack Loj on Heart Lake
Lake Placid, NY 12946
(Parking Fee)

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