Vanderwhacker Mountain

HARD 19 reviews
#44 of 175 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.

2 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.

3 months ago

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

7 months ago

9 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 !

9 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

9 months ago

done twice - never gets easy-

10 months ago

Pretty hard,especially the top!

11 months ago

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.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Great views from the fire tower at the top! Pretty easy until you get to the old ranger cabin but it gets steep after that. We took it slow and finished the round trip in around four hours with plenty of breaks and a lunch stop in the fire tower.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friday, October 04, 2013

This is a great hike to do in the fall season. Time it right with the foliage and you're in for a treat! Steep enough for a good workout but with flat stretches for a break. The ranger cabin is a bit derelict and appears used by hunters occasionally. Higher clearance vehicle recommended for driving in on the dirt road to the trailhead. View from the tower is INCREDIBLE! High peaks to the north are grand!

Monday, May 13, 2013

On this particular day the weather was absolutely beautiful. There were very few clouds in the sky, 75 degrees with a slight breeze. The road in to the trail head (Moose Pond Way) was a bit tricky in spots and the old wooden bridge made me get out making sure I would be able to drive over it. The walk to the old Ranger Station was a relative easy walk and took a little under an hour to get there. It didn't look as though this is being used anymore, except maybe by some hunters in the winter
After the walk to the Ranger station, the trail gets a little more challenging. During the walk up the trail to the fire tower there are a couple of flat spots that give you a chance to catch your breathe. On this day there were plenty of newly fallen trees along the trail and to my surprise there was still snow on the ground. The trail does not offer that many opportunities for pictures to the left or right on the way to the tower.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Took 3 kids hiking with me between the ages of 11&16. We camped at Lake Harris in Newcomb. One of the adults we were camping with grew up in Newcomb and said that I would have to park in a pull-off near the Boreas River, cross the bridge, then walk the road a little until we got to the trailhead. Apparently in the 20 years since he hiked the mountain they have since allowed vehicles to drive to the trailhead. We ended up hiking the extra 3.2miles to the trailhead. Hiked up to the abandoned ranger station and took our first break. AFTER THAT WE HIKED VERY STEEPLY TO THE SUMMIT. Oldest to youngest we started tiring out. Me first, then the 16, & 15 yo's. The 11yo just kept on going. He made it to the top, took pictures, then came back down and met us about a quarter mile from the summit and hiked back up with us. As soon as we got to the top of the fire tower thunder clapped and it began to downpour. We met a couple hikers at the top, who just happened to be from the same area we travelled from. The girl even went to school with the two teenagers in my group. They left first as we tried to eat. The rain became too much so we headed out as fast as we could. We slid the 2.5 miles down towards the trailhead in the hardest rain I have experienced. Surprisingly at the trailhead, the two hikers we met were waiting for us and gave us a ride back to my truck. It's good to meet nice people on the trails. I hope I can pay it forward in the future.