Whiteface, Lookout and Esther Mountains

HARD 19 reviews
#4 of 14 trails in

Whiteface, Lookout and Esther Mountains is a 9.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Wilmington, New York that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking and trail running. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3818 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

trail running

forest

views

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

hiking
6 days ago

Left from the research center at about 6 A.M. with very rainy and wet weather. The first mile or so going up the old ski trail is the hardest, and is most definitely the steepest. Trail after that to the fork is moderate with a few steep spots. Trail up to Esther is very easy to follow, despite not being marked. Because of the rain, the trail up the Esther was mostly water and tons of mud. View at the top was disappointing due to cloud cover, vegetation at the top makes it hard to see also. Decided to hike Whiteface on another day and reached the research center at about 10 A.M. All in all it was a pretty easy trail, but I would definitely recommend boots.

hiking
25 days ago

May 26th, 2018. Hiked this trail despite the chance for thunderstorms. Luckily the storm missed us and cleared up just enough to catch some views at the top. The Whiteface trail is 95% clear of snow and ice, and the mud wasn't really an issue. The trail to Esther however is a mud pit. This trail is not glamorous, it's straight up the mountain.

hiking
1 month ago

May 5, 2018. We started at the Atmospheric Research Center - just my 12 years old son and me, with snowshoes on our packs. Trail was dry and beautiful -- misty morning with some spitting rain. A few muddy spots. 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.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike. The trail up whiteface was great and well maintained. keep in mind esther is unmaintained but you'd be hard pressed to get lost on the way there as the herd path is well worn. Just turn right at the cairn. As of 4/10 the trail is clear of snow at the bottom but 500 feet up is mostly ice with a thin layer of snow on top. i recommend wearing crampons and i dont think micro spikes will cut it. deeper snow at the 3,000 ft above sea level mark, but the trail was packed enough i didnt need snow shoes. might change with warmer weather. The ridge towards the top of whiteface looks intimidating but its totally manageable. Did this for the 46er challenge and 10/10 will do again after i finish (in warmer weather hopefully)

hiking
2 months ago

great challenging hike...

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26 days ago

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