7 Best Lake Placid Hiking Trails in the Adirondack Mountains

Discover the best of Lake Placid hiking! Unveil scenic trails, majestic views, and memorable adventures in the Adirondacks’ serene backdrop.

View from top of Whiteface Mountain in New York out over Lake Placid and changing fall foliage landscape

普莱西德湖,位于纽约的阿迪朗达克Mountains, is a treasure trove for hikers. From towering peaks to scenic trails and lake views, the variety of Lake Placid hiking is astonishing, making it one of the best places to hike on the East Coast.

During my own adventure there, I spent several days exploring the trails around the towns ofLake Placid and nearby Lake George. Most of my time was focused on the most scenic locations like Whiteface Mountain, Mount Jo, and Cascade Mountain. I found that these trails offered peaceful and mesmerizing panoramic views, all within a short distance from the town itself.

The convenience of these hikes near Lake Placid means you can enjoy more time on the trails and less time traveling to them. Many of them are under 10 miles, well-marked, and perfect for a day’s excursion.

If you’re planning a visit to this incredible region, in this post, I share my top 7 Lake Placid hikes that will introduce you to the splendor of the Adirondacks, each providing its own unique glimpse into this varied and inspiring landscape.

Important Reminder: As it goes in all of the destinations we share, please practicegood trail etiquetteand remember toLeave No Trace. This means packing out all of your garbage (including toilet paper), being respectful to others, and following the established rules.

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1. High Falls Gorge

  • Trail Type:Loop
  • Distance:1 mile (1.6 km)
  • Elevation Gain:167 feet (51 m)
  • Time:15–30 minutes
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Trailhead Start:4761 NYS Route 86, Wilmington, NY 12997
  • Dogs Allowed?:No

High Falls Gorgeis a short, scenic hike near Lake Placid. The hike features a gorge (as its name suggests), four waterfalls, bridges, and glass floor walkways.

There are stairs on the main loop, but there is also a quarter-mile, handicap-accessible trail without any stairs.

I found the High Falls Gorge trail to be among the easiest Lake Placid hiking trails, especially since the entire loop is just a mile long. It’s on the way to Whiteface Mountain and makes for a good warm-up for that more challenging hike.

All in all, High Falls Gorge is ideal for those who want a short hike that’s relatively easy. However, there is a relatively steep entrance fee — $16 for adults (13+) and $13 for kids (as of August 2023).

Elevated walkways bolted to rocks above river and gorge on High Falls Gorge Trail in New York
The High Falls Gorge Trail is an easy hike, but it has a lot of cool features like these elevated walkways

2. Mirror Lake Loop

  • Trail Type:Loop
  • Distance:2.6 miles (4.2 km)
  • Elevation Gain:56 feet (17 m)
  • Time:45–60 minutes
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Trailhead Start:Mirror Lake Dr, Lake Placid, NY 12946
  • Dogs Allowed?:Yes

Mirror Lake Loop是一个令人愉快的和容易,适合那些吗seeking a relaxed hiking experience without sacrificing breathtaking views.

This trail gracefully winds its way around Mirror Lake, situated in the heart of Lake Placid Village.

We opted to embark on this hike first during our trip, as we were staying at the nearby Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lake Placid. This location afforded us the opportunity to explore the area on foot, immersing ourselves in the serene beauty that surrounds the lake.

The path is a paved sidewalk with a gradual elevation change of 56 feet throughout the 2.6-mile-long loop. Wheelchair users, people who use mobility aids, and parents with strollers can fully enjoy this trail. There are also benches along the loop to sit and relax or rest.

You can even take a dip at Mirror Lake Public Beach, which has lifeguards on duty. My family took a break here and enjoyed the kid’s playground with a picturesque lake view.

The Mirror Lake Loop is scenic, with views of the clear lake and the picturesque buildings of Lake Placid. It is quite a popular walking path, though, so expect to see lots of people out and about. There are also tennis courts and boat rentals if you want to spend a leisurely day in the area.

3. Cobble Hill

  • Trail Type:Loop
  • Distance:2.3 miles (3.7 km)
  • Elevation Gain:495 feet (151 m)
  • Time:45–60 minutes
  • Difficulty:Moderate
  • Trailhead Start:Mirror Lake Dr, Lake Placid, NY 12946
  • Dogs Allowed?:Yes

Cobble Hillis a moderately challenging hike since it is steep in places and there is a section where you have to climb up a rocky inline using a rope.

Still, it’s quite short at just 2.3 miles. I think it was just the right difficulty for beginner hikers and kids.

There is no designated trailhead start or trailhead parking for Cobble Hill. Instead, you’re encouraged to park in a designated parking space on Mirror Lake Drive or in a municipal parking lot and start your hike there. If your accommodation is nearby, you can also start from there.

Helpful Tip:If it has rained the day before or even a couple of days before, I recommend holding off on your Cobble Hill hike. It’s known to get very muddy and waterlogged. With the right conditions, though, you’ll have a short but rewarding hike that leads to awesome views of Mirror Lake.


  • Trail Type:Loop
  • Distance:2 miles (3.2 km)
  • Elevation Gain:699 feet (213 m)
  • Time:1h15m – 1h30m
  • Difficulty:Moderate
  • Trailhead Start:1002 Adirondack Loj Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946, United States
  • Dogs Allowed?:Yes

The Adirondacks High Peaks aren’t all intimidating, as you might have heard.Mount Jois one of the easier summits to get to while still offering all the stunning views.

The trail starts at the Adirondack Loj & Heart Lake Program Center. You have to pay a daily parking fee ($15 before 1 pm and $7 after 1 pm, as of August 2023).

There is an information center where you’ll find out that there are actually two loops: a steeper, slightly shorter one and a moderate, slightly longer one.

There isn’t a huge difference in distance between the two options and both of them take you to the summit.

If you’re a beginner hiker or hiking with kids, I recommend going with the slightly longer loop.

5. Haystack Mountain via Jackrabbit Trail

  • Trail Type:Out and back
  • Distance:5.3 miles (8.5 km)
  • Elevation Gain:997 feet (304 m)
  • Time:3 hours
  • Difficulty:Moderate
  • Trailhead Start:Route 31, Lake Placid, NY 12946
  • Dogs Allowed?:Yes

In terms of difficulty,Haystack Mountain via Jackrabbit Trail是一个相当中间派徒步——挑战enough to get your heart rate up but not so difficult that a beginner hiker wouldn’t be able to handle it.

The one downside of this trail is that it’s not well marked, particularly where you have to turn left to get to the summit.

The only indication is a rock cairn (unfamiliar with rock cairns?Learn all about ’em here). You won’t want to miss the turn, as the summit offers amazing views of the High Peaks.

Rock cairn on top of Haystack Mountain in the Adirondacks at sunset
The trail to the summit of Haystack Mountain isn’t well-marked, so keep your eye out for rock cairns

6. Whiteface Mountain Summit Trail

  • Trail Type:Out and back
  • Distance:9.5 miles (15.3 km)
  • Elevation Gain:3,652 feet (1,113 m)
  • Time:5–6.5 hours
  • Difficulty:Hard
  • Trailhead Start:33 Reservoir Rd, Wilmington, NY 12997, United States
  • Dogs Allowed?:Yes

If you want amazing panoramic views,Whiteface Mountainis my top spot. You have to earn it, though, as this trail is quite challenging (but worth it!)

The trail starts at the designated parking area outside of Wilmington, NY, and then takes you over Marble Mountain and Esther Mountain before ascending to the summit of Whiteface Mountain.

The Whiteface Mountain Summit Trail is moderate for the first mile or so. After that, it’s a rough uphill trek the rest of the way. There are lots of narrow paths and rocky outcrops.

This is NOT a trail for beginners, but experienced hikers will love the challenging, varied terrain and the views at the top.

Tip:Not feeling up for a strenuous hike? There are lots of other trails on Whiteface Mountain and you can actually drive up to the peak.

Landscape view out over Lake Placid surrounded by changing fall foliage
The hike to the top of Whiteface is challenging, but the views are worth it!

7. Mount Marcy via Van Hoevenberg

  • Trail Type:Out and back
  • Distance:16.2 miles (26.1 km)
  • Elevation Gain:3,586 feet (1,093 m)
  • Time:7 - 8个小时
  • Difficulty:Hard
  • Trailhead Start:1002 Adirondack Loj Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946, United States
  • Dogs Allowed?:Yes

The highest accomplishment a hiker can achieve in the Lake Placid area is reaching the summit ofMount Marcy. It’s the highest peak in the Adirondacks and the whole state of New York, rising 5,344 feet (1,629 m) above sea level.

The Mount Marcy via Van Hoevenberg trail starts at the Heart Lake Trailhead at the Adirondack Loj. You have to pay a small parking fee ($7–15).

The hike starts off deceptively easy until you get to Marcy Dam. From there, the terrain becomes much more rocky and filled with boulders, staying that way pretty much all the way up to the summit. The last mile or so is especially steep — it’s a strenuous hike.

Once you get to the summit, though, you get an unmatched view. On a good day, you can even see the Green Mountains in Vermont and Mont-Royal in Montreal.

Best Time of Year for Hiking in Lake Placid

Summer and fall are the best times of year for hiking in Lake Placid. These seasons are prime for enjoying outdoor activities in general since the weather is at its best in terms of both temperature and precipitation.

To avoid crowds (the hikes in Lake Placid are all pretty popular), your best bet is to visit in early summer or late fall. My recent trip was in early June and we had perfect weather and only needed a light jacket at night.

If you’re an experienced hiker and a lover of snowshoeing, winter is a great time of year to explore the Adirondacks, too.

I would discourage hiking in spring, though, as this is the rainiest season. The trails get very muddy, waterlogged, and even submerged at times.

Tips for Hiking in Lake Placid

Before heading on your hikes, here are some essential hiking tips to keep in mind:

  • Be well-prepared: Carry enough water,wear appropriate clothesandhiking shoes, packsun protectionand bug protection, and research your chosen trail thoroughly.
  • Leave no trace: The concept of “Leave No Trace” covers all the basic hiking tips, with an emphasis on leaving the trails exactly as you find them and disposing of your waste properly.
  • Mind the weather: The weather in the Adirondacks can change on a dime, so always check the forecast before heading out. Bringextra layers, even in the summer, especially if you’ll be hiking to a high elevation.
  • Use a map or hiking app:Hiking appsare extremely useful in making sure you stay on the trail, especially with offline mode and downloadable maps.
  • Respect wildlife: The Adirondacks are home to diverse wildlife, including black bears. Keep a safe distance away from animals and never feed them. Make sure to keep your food secure to avoid attracting wildlife to your campsite. Learn more tips abouthow to respect and stay safe around wildlife.

Hiking Clothing Essentials

Here are some of my favorite layers to wear and pack for hiking

Quick Dry Sun Shirt
Breathable Pants
Arc'teryx Kyanite Fleece Hoodie
insulating Layer
REI Rainier rain jacket
Rain Jacket
Sun hat
Wool Socks
CoolNet Buff
REI rain pants
Rain Pants

Have you done any hiking in Lake Placid? What are your favorite trails? Which ones would you like to do? Leave a comment below!

To follow along on Erin’s travels, check outErin’s Travel Tips.

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