Explore the most popular walking trails in Wilmington Wild Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

May 5, 2018. We started at the Atmospheric Research Center - just my 12 year old son and me, with snowshoes on our packs. Trail was dry and beautiful -- misty morning with some spitting rain. A few muddy spots but not bad at all compared with a lot of other Adirondack hikes. After the Marble Mountain summit where the ski lift used to end, we saw more ice. The ice started to accumulate and it was hard to walk, sometime we had to pull ourselves up by the trees on the edge of the trail and thinking "how will I come down this." People with microspikes passed us. Then snow started to replace the ice at upper elevations. We put on our snowshoes, which have metal teeth beneath, and things got much better. The bootpack right now is very narrow, and if we stepped on either side one leg would slide off and twist you while your other leg still had purchase -- tough walking... keep one foot in front of the other and be careful where the bootpack is crumbling. We post-holed in more then 3' - 4' of snow. My got one leg in so deep we had to dig it out -- even with my help, we couldn't pull him out of the compacted snow. I post-holed to my waist several times. Snowshoes were helpful, but very awkward if you slid off the boot pack. I wrenched one knee near the top. The arete is magnificent right now -- some snow still around, but many rocks exposed and the weather turned clear just as we were getting up there. We reached the summit, but I was unable to go back down the trail because of the pain in my knee and we had to give up on Esther, which we were saving for the descent. At that point I could only take small linear steps, so we walked down the road, 5.5 miles (I think) of steep downhill pavement back to our car (which is nearly harder on your legs than taking a trail!). The road is mostly clear of snow but not yet open to cars, and the amazing Iron People were already riding up it on their road bikes.
We recommend you take microspikes and snowshoes at this point. Snowshoes alone might be enough given how much snow is still on top and if it doesn't freeze again. They bite nicely into the icy spots. Given the forecast, we think there will be some snow for at least another couple of weeks, particularly in the shaded trails on upper elevations.

This was one of my favorite hikes. We went for Whiteface first through Marble Mountain then went to do Esther (which didn't have any views to be honest).

Whiteface was amazing though!!

hiking
23 days ago

I did this hike yesterday, April 27, 2018, and I honestly wouldn’t recommend it for the time being. I did it as a double summit of Whiteface and Esther via Marble Mountain, and had a really hard time with the snow. I consider myself a pretty careful hiker but the number of postholes on the trail (especially leading up to Esther mountain) was crazy. I had to dig myself out of some of them cause they were more than hip deep.

Save this hike for the summer when all the snow is gone or in the winter when it’s all iced over.

If you do decide to do this hike, park in the parking lot of the atmospheric science and research center in Wilmington, NY. The trailhead is marked with a little wooden sign that says “trail”, which will lead you down a gravel road. The start of the trailhead isn’t marked, so when you come to a sign that has an arrow pointing left for a bicycle trail, go straight up. This is the start of the Marble Mountain trail which is 0.9 miles. Again, the start of this trail won’t be marked, it’ll just look like a path that goes straight up the mountain. There’s no sign in or registry.

great view, challenging hike.

Love this hike. I’ve hiked it from the bottom, drove up it, snowboarded down it. Just an overall great mountain. The part where the trail turns into the road is great. And the part of the trail from the road to the top of the mountain is great, so many views.

Ideal day for hiking, overcast & 60s. Started from the ASRC, had a little trouble finding the trailhead (it winds down to the left of the loop in the road and behind the building). Very steep for the first mile to Marble Mtn, but Marble gave us the best view of the day. Headed up and over to Esther first, no view but beautiful fog. Lots and lots of mud. Finished on Whiteface, foggy and no view. Saw a hiker who had a Corgi in her backpack, our day-maker for the lack of views at the summit.

We were up & down in about 8 hours, had a group of 4 people with various fitness levels. Definitely one of those hikes where the quality of your hiking boots make or break your experience.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Nice quick hike, best view is from the overlook to the west of the summit. Stay to the right when you reach the summit loop split and it will take you directly to the overlook. Uphill the whole way but short. Definitely wear micro spikes or snowshoes in winter as the trail gets extremely icy. A section of the trail becomes a short waterfall but you can easily go around it. My 10 year old loved it.

Fresh snow covers the ice created during rainy period. Some drifting above 3,000 feet. Light snow today with limited visibility. Summited Esther first, then Whiteface. Saw four backcountry skiers come up the access road, which is plowed and covered in ice. Rigorous hike and quite steep on top. The final 400 vertical feet along the ridge was impressive. Could see alpine skiers dismounting the Summit Quad chairlift. Wind relatively calm today. Started at the Wilmington Reservoir. Noticed most people access the trail from the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, 110 Marble Mountain Ln, Wilmington, NY 12997, which shortens the hike by 1.3 miles.

A great hike. All the other high peaks I have done have started off slow and gradually worked up to a higher incline. This one felt like we were going up the whole way. It did make going down pretty easy though. We picked up some micro spikes before making the hike and I think it was one of the best moves I ever made. About a third of the trail was ice, and the stairs going up to the top were, too. The stairs were extremely windy, so we went back down the ridge from the top. Much easier even with the small ice ledge where it meets the road.

Winter hike was a little more demanding than expected but overall worth the two high peaks you get out of this trail! Don’t forget to plan on it being windy and even colder at the top. The peak buildings are closed during the winter as a reminder. Trail was easy to follow and would recommend.

Beautiful views. Have done in both winter and summer. Great hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Great little hike even on a slightly rainy day and would be a nice spot to have a quick picnic/hike!

One of my favorites! The only downside is the 2 mike walk to the base of the mountain from the parking lot.

Snowy/icy and windy at the peak. Was snowy on the way up for the bottom half but on the way back down it melted - so lots of deep wet spots. Absolutely gorgeous up there though. The second half of the hike was amazing.

Awesome last weekend of October to hit both Whiteface and Esther. 7 hours RT to complete. Not too busy at summit as the tourism season was closed. Very windy but sun-shined filled. Came across some small patches of snow and ice at peak.

Amazing trail!! Beautiful day! So glad we were able to hit Ester as well took us 8 hours to do both! Worth the effort!

A pleasant short hike with little elevation gain. Great views on summit, very pleasantly surprised.

hiking
7 months ago

Perfect quick and easy hike!

An amazing view for such a short hike!

hiking
7 months ago

I started at the ASRC and met this trail at the marble mountain summit. The steepest part was the beginning up marble mountain and the last mile to the summit of whiteface. It took me 5 hours but I was moving fast. It was 13 miles round trip including hiking Esther on the way there. Overall very fun hike but definitely steep and rocky at parts.

This was my first high peak and I am not in the best shape of my life it was tough especially towards the summit for me at least. Very Rocky and I would say 85% of the hike was directly uphill (go figure being a high peak and all). We started our climb at the reservoir, we skipped Ester in hopes to accomplish on the way back but we burning day light so we unfortunately didn't make Ester The view at the Summit was so beautiful completely worth the hike! I just wish it wasn't so touristy at the summit (you can drive up to the top in your car) All in all great hike! .

hiking
8 months ago

What a great hike. We started from the observatory parking lot and of course added Esther for a total of 10 miles. Check out my full write up. http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/whitefaceandesther/

Awesome hike!!! Intense uphill, but worth it at the end.

Another successful hike of Whiteface for round 3 for me. This was a leisurely hike that we made into a loop by hiking down the toll road. The weather was perfect with a little mud on the trail, but nothing major.

Great hike. Started from reservoir. You start the hike by going up Marble Mt until you get to the large karin in the middle of the trail. To the right is Esther Mt. Very muddy but very clear and easy to follow for a trail that is not marked or maintained. No actual views from summit but look around as you go up and you do have nice views of Whiteface. Back down Esther then up Whiteface. Not nearly as muddy but s little wet. The hardest part of the climb was actually Marble Mt. Views from summit are incredible. Lots of people on summit (car drivers). My recording shows 7 miles but my phone died on top of Whiteface. Actual distance was 12.2 miles.

short and sweet.

Beautiful mountain, amazing views from top. We did the primary trail starting at the Atmospheric Reasearch Centre. Pretty abrupt climb for the the first mile and a half.

hiking
8 months ago

It took my 7 year old daughter and I 16 minutes to Summit. Very nicely maintained trail with some good views of the Adirondacks and Whiteface. We followed the red markers and did the Summit Loop. Great beginner trail or family hike.

Took about 5 hours round trip with 30min break at summit however my group was going at a very fast and pace, only real challenging part was the Marble Mountain part, be prepared as the trail is VERY muddy with lots of standing water.

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