Whiteface Mountain Summit Trail

HARD 210 reviews
#1 of 14 trails in

Whiteface Mountain Summit Trail is a 9.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Wilmington, New York that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,618 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

views

muddy

rocky

snow

A moderate loop that will take you from the Wilmington Trailhead over Marble Mtn to Esther (ADK High Peak @ 4239') and then to the summit of Whiteface (ADK High Peak @ 4867). The summit of Esther is 1.3 miles RT that is included in the mileage given here. Excellent views of the surrounding valley. A very fun trail with varied terrain that can actually be accessed several other ways as well. The trail is Esther is not officially maintained and can get muddy at times. The trail up Whiteface varies and includes some excellent outcrops. The only drawback to the hike is that you may end up sharing the summit with a very large crowd as the peak is also reachable by road. Regardless of how you get there the views are worth the trip.

hiking
17 hours ago

Absolutely beautiful! Lots of scrambling! Lots of birch trees and ferns and moss.

Really awesome trail! I would say it is medium to difficult. If one has any back or knee issues I would not attempt this. The views at the top are amazing.

hiking
13 days ago

This was my first of the 46ers. Though it was a challenging one to start off with, the views were absolutely worth it. Really cool mini stone castle at the top that includes a dining area, gift shop and restroom. I will be returning one day!

birding
17 days ago

We hiked Esther via the ASRC in April. So we skipped her on our climb this week. That being said, our Esther hike prepared us very well for the Face. We took it nice and slow up Marble. After Marble, we progressively picked up our pace. Took a nice break at the ski lift before making the final push to the summit. The summit is pretty great... The hordes of tourists that drove up there.... Not so much.... Regardless, a very fun hike! A bunch of ravens were circling the summit!

hiking
18 days ago

Great hike. The only water on the trail is a couple of small springs between the trail to Ester and Whiteface. My dog loved it and we had no bugs. Glad to check those two off my list.

24 days ago

The trek up marble mountain is really the toughest part, the rest goes by nicely and even in rain and clouds there was still some nice views from the top of whiteface.

hiking
1 month ago

Started at the ASRC, clocked only 3.6 miles to the summit. 9.77 including a detour to summit Esther.

Challenging incline at the beginning but worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

A unique hike. The first 0.9 miles in is pretty flat then a steady climb for the next 1.4 miles to the top of marble mountain. At that point the climbing continues up and up as you approach the trail split to Esther (marked by a large boulder and enormous pile of Small rocks, can’t miss it). Esther to the right, Whiteface is straight. I’d recommend hitting Esther and then coming back for Whiteface since it’s a much better place to spend more time. Esther is muddy and unmarked but you’ll see a plaque at the summit. Wooded with partial views. From there going up Whiteface is a gasser. Once you come to the memorial highway road you’ll walk along the back of the wall for a while before a long rock scramble to the top. Views on Whiteface are unbeatable. You’ll be there with people who drove up, except it’s much more rewarding for you. The ascent down whiteface is pretty relentless on the toes in the boots but the hike overall with a 30 minute break on Whiteface took us 7 hours round trip.

hiking
1 month ago

2nd highest summit in New York State. Mostly Full Sun. Bring water, spf 40 and bug spray. Steep grade is challenging, but slow and steady wins the race!

hiking
1 month ago

There are some parts of this hike that I absolutely loved and would do again in the heartbeat, but Marble Mtn really gets you right off the bat. I found the trail to be really dusty and slippery with pebbles, but once you get past that it’s not so bad. The trail to Whiteface is beautiful and lots of different terrain keeps it interesting. Definitely check out the ski lift to the left, it’s really neat and a good time for a break before the last hurrah. Summit is crowded but lots of interesting people to talk to. And now, Esther. I absolutely loved this trail and this mountain. So beautiful, quiet, and lovely. Trail is wicked easy to follow.
Hiked 7/2 (4&5 46ers)

1 month ago

great hike that pretty much anyone can do, just have to pace yourself. marble mountain is by far the hardest part but at least you get it out of the way right off the bat. once thats done is smooth sailing until the whiteface summit. I did it the day after a prettyy heavy rain storm so the trail was really slick most of the way, for at least a mile I was walking in somekind of a stream or mud. Make sure to take that quick detour to the abandoned chair lift at the summit of marble mountain, great place for a snack before the final push. GTX boots and poles highly recommended for this one...have fun!

hiking
2 months ago

Whiteface is a fantastic hike. As others have said, once the trail starts it is a constant uphill hike, which makes sense since it's a mountain..but still don't expect too much level terrain to rest your legs on. I started from the ASRC and it looked like parking filled up around mid-morning or so.

hiking
2 months ago

Whiteface was definitely unrelenting, but a beautiful hike all around. Weather couldn't have been better yesterday for it either. Summitted in about 4 hours starting from the trailhead, not the ASRC. The Esther trail seemed a tad overrun so we decided to push forward to Whiteface. Glad we did - we were digging deep at the end on this one!

hiking
2 months ago

We left from the ASRC and ascended up Marble Mtn to the Whiteface trail. There isn't a trail register at the small parking lot at the ASRC, just a small "Trail" sign pointing down a path. From there you come out to a gravel 'road' that leads you to 2 'unmarked' trails. The trail to the left says it's for bikes or snowmobiles. The trail straight ahead is the Marble Mtn trail you want to follow. It starts ascending immediately, after almost a mile you reach a small lookout spot and continue to the Whiteface trail. There is a sign at the herd path for Esther, which is unmarked but easy to follow. Not much of a view at the top of Esther, other than a small spot at the summit where you can see Whiteface in the background. It took us about an hour and a half to reach the summit of Whiteface from the time we got back to the main trail from the Esther summit. There was some snow and ice as you approached the road up to Whiteface. Views at the summit were beautiful. Overall a great hike.

2 months ago

An incredible fusion of nature and man made spectacle

2 months ago

very challenging trail but totally worth it

hiking
3 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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
3 months 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.

hiking
4 months ago

great view, challenging hike.

hiking
5 months ago

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.

hiking
5 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

6 months ago

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

8 months ago

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

hiking
8 months ago

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.

hiking
9 months ago

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.

9 months ago

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

Load More