Vanderwhacker Mountain

HARD 25 reviews
#49 of 177 trails in

Vanderwhacker Mountain is a 5.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Minerva, New York that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and snowshoeing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.1 miles
1679 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash






wild flowers


fire tower, views of high peaks, old ranger cabin The fire tower on Vanderwhacker mountain provides a spectacular view of the Adirondack High Peaks. The trail is marked with red disks. Sign in at the trail register. Within the next mile, you will cross several small creeks and pass around a wetlands. Then, the trail splits. The old road (now a snow mobile trail) continues to the left, while the path you want bears right. After passing two cabins used by the fire observer, you begin a strenuous climb. After another mile, the climb becomes more moderate. Soon you reach the fire tower. Climb the tower and enjoy the panorama to the north.

15 days ago

16 days ago

This is a somewhat challenging hike, but the views are well worth the effort. The road to the trail was easy to miss since the sign was hidden behind a tree. The 2.6 mile gravel road leading to the trail was rough, but we managed to drive it in our station wagon without much problem. The trail is mostly flat the first half, but turns very steep and rocky for the last two miles. Climbing the fire tower at the top of the mountain provides spectacular panoramic views of the Adirondack mountains. It took my mother and I about 4 hours to hike, but we took time to eat lunch and enjoy the views in the tower.

28 days ago

The trail is root ridden and stone laden, with little trail past the halfway point. The bugs are relentless and you're almost guaranteed to be bitten or stung, as they outnumber you a thousand to one. The summit shows very little view unless atop the fire tower. The summit was extremely heavy with bugs, though the dragonflies were an enjoyable site. Good check off the list, but would not repeat.

30 days ago

1 month ago

There is a three mile dirt road to the trail head that I would recommend driving a truck or car with clearance to make it over stones. The first half of the hike is mellow and you cross several brooks and a few beautiful ponds. Once you get to the cabin the hike becomes vigorous and it remains steep almost all the way to the top. Once you are at the top there is not much of a view until you climb the fire tower. From there you can see many surrounding lakes and ponds. Overall this hike was beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone in good physical shape.

1 month ago

If you have done blue mountain this is similar from what I experienced. I would rate thus moderate. Use hiking poles. You will go through areas of steeper ascent with bare rocks. You have some opportunity to go around them but overall it's not that bad. I would say if this is your first hike but you are in decent shape you would have no issues. Good views from the tower. We did just fine and it had rained and we encountered some thunderstorms activity but still enjoyed it to the max. Don't be intimidated by the difficulty rating

4 months ago

Arrived at the route 28 turnoff to find the dirt road to the trail head a mix of ice and snow. I drove in about 200 yards but then backed out to the main road. I had never been on the road and with other reviews saying it was iffy under normal conditions I wasn't chancing being late for the grandkids annual Easter egg hunt at my house. Parking on the main road made the total distance 11.4 miles.

It was difficult to walk the 3.2 miles to the trailhead. Once on the trail it was a comfortable hike to the ranger cabin. From that point it is a strenuous hike to the tower. I did not climb the tower because time did not permit if I wanted to have a happy wife on Easter. Overall the distance on snow and ice made this more challenging than I wanted for my first spring 2017 hike but I would rate this intermediate from the designated parking area.

5 months ago

Plan for a long hike! 5.7 miles to the summit. Great views as always with these fire towers.

9 months ago

11 months ago

trail was easy to follow was a challenge but I would do it again! the views from the tower are mind blowing but you must hike to really appreciate it !

11 months ago

awesome, I could not check in cause cell reception, but worth making it to the tower and watching the Hawks circle on the thermal spots to gain altitude and soar off

11 months ago

done twice - never gets easy-

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pretty hard,especially the top!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

This was a nice hike to do. The first part of the hike wasn't that hard, but once you passed the cabin it became a bit more strenuous. It was very muddy out, since it is mud season. There were no views when we went cause it was very cloudy out. I'll definitely do this again when it's warmer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Great hike views were nice from the fire tower . Trail gets steep after the cabin and trails still a bit icy . Definitely a trip I'd do again

Monday, March 28, 2016

Great views from the tower, brisk day. The top third of the trail was coated in ice from the last snowfall and earlier hikers, which added some significant time to the hike, probably 25-35 added minutes for the ascent and 10-20 for the descent. Took 3 hours overall, 2 for ascent and 1 for descent. If you're going out early in the season, prior to the last thaw, it would be advisable to take some crampons with you to help with traction on icy patches.