DISTANCE
9.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,818 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

trail running

forest

views

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

hiking
4 days ago

Completed this hike 7/7/18 and it was a challenging but very rewarding trail. My first tip would be, although maybe obvious to some who know the area, that the trail begins on the side of the road where there is a bench. There is a sign at the bottom of the bench that says "trail" with an arrow pointing in the right direction. Well, we walked right past it and all the way around the roundabout before we realized......I parked right next to it! Maybe less microbrew the night before a hike may be in order. Once you descend for a bit Marble Mountain will begin in earnest, and I have hiked quite a few steep trails. This one ranks up there, it is relentless. But along the way there are several cement blocks on either side of the trail for you to rest on if needed. Very little in terms of view until you reach a large cement block on the right. That is where you can get the first view, and it really does help to keep you motivated. From there you will continue with a moderately steep trail until the large pile of rocks. The trail to Esther is on the right and easy to find. From here the trail will get narrow and very muddy so be prepared for that, especially if it has been raining prior to your trip. It is an easy trail though in terms of elevation gain. Very little in terms of view but you cross a beautiful bog along the way. And then suddenly, you are on the summit. The only view is of Whiteface but makes for an interesting picture. Also, it provides motivation for the hike still to come. Double back down the trail and back to the stone pile and you're off to Whiteface. From here it is a fairly typical ridge line walk with some ups and downs but nothing too crazy. There are some cool picture opportunities as you pass the ski lift on the left. And its a great ret spot. As you approach the huge stone wall of the highway there is a bit of a challenge climbing up a few rocks and boulders. But this is where the views really begin, you can almost forget that you are still ascending. Once you are above the highway it is open views in every direction to the summit. Absolutely breathtaking on a clear day! The summit was crowded, more so than I like but you will have the satisfaction of having climbed your way to the top. Inside the observatory there are a bunch of chairs that make a great place to fuel up before starting your descent. There was no water available unless you hiked down to the shop. We passed on that as we had enough for the return trip anyway. The descent back down to the intersection with the Esther Mountain trail was "Cake", looking back at the experience now, compared to what Marble Mountain will do to you. It IS as steep as you remembered it being on the way up and will be a mile your quads, ankles and knees will remember the next day! We lamented its "soul crushing" nature all the way back to the car (a bit dramatic but it didn't feel that way at the time). Second tip: don't forget to turn at the gravel road heading uphill to stay on the trail back to your vehicle. We did miss this and ended up hiking a half a mile or so down the snowmobile trail marked with blue trail markers. This was likely because we were still whining about Marble Mountain and daydreaming about the beers we earned. All in we finished in just a tick under 7hrs. Used 5L of water between two of us, bugs were non-existent (pleasant surprise).