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Josh Seeley 02-17-2015 04:10 PM

SnowShoeing near Whiteface, Mirror Lake, etc
Hello All,

Hope you're enjoying this excellent winter as much as I am!

My wife and I are headed to Lake Placid at the end of Feb/early March. Staying at the High Peaks Resort. At least one day will be spent snowboarding at Whiteface. We might even get to ice skate on that newly plowed track on Mirror Lake.

We would also like to try snowshoeing... for our first time! We are experienced backpackers/hikers (three season), and have summited more than half of the High Peaks (summer). We've also done lots of hiking in MT, WY, ID, OR, etc. All in "nice" weather. Nothing in winter.

We plan to rent snowshoes from Whiteface Mt. Any tips on trails near that area you like to snowshoe? It would be cool to summit something in the winter, but even just exploring sounds like a fun challenge. Doesn't really matter if we actually climb a summit.

It seems like it would be fun just to troll around on the established trails right near Whiteface lodge, however, we certainly prefer serenity. Should we climb the Vanhoovenburgh trail? Hurricane Mt? Or? Any tips or recommendations you might be able (and willing) to share would be greatly appreciated. I would like to stay "reasonably" close to the LP/Mirror Lake area so we don't waste too much time transporting in a car. The more time outside, the better!

Ok, as long as we're talking LP, etc... Where is your favorite place to dine in that area? I am always a fan of LPP&B (PJ's!) after a long day in the woods. Mmmmm... beer. We have also enjoyed nice meals at Liquids and Solids. Neat place. Fun menu, great beer selection. Mmmm... beer. Where else? Lisa G's?! Another favorite or ours. Probably the least out of these three, but still great.

Anyway, any other restaurants we should consider? Anything over in Saranac Lake area?

As always, thanks for your help, ADK Forum team members!

DSettahr 02-17-2015 04:50 PM

The list of "easier" winter High Peaks is pretty much the same as the summer list. Cascade and Porter, Big Slide, or Phelps would be good options. Doubly so if you've climbed any of these before (I always suggest that you make your first winter High Peak one that you've climbed before outside of winter, as it allows you to gain winter experience on your first trip with fewer unknowns, such as the specifics of the route, etc.)

If the conditions aren't conducive to a first time winter High Peak, you could try substituting any of the Saranac Lake 6ers.

With regards to food, the Placid Pub and Brewery has good food, but the best food by far in the Adirondacks is at the Eat N' Meet in Saranac Lake. They've got very limited seating and the food is prepared from scratch so it takes a while to cook, so be sure to get there early if you go. It is worth it, though. Plus you can BYOB so you could pick up a growler from the Pub and bring it with you to Saranac Lake.

Josh Seeley 02-19-2015 02:48 PM

Thank you for your reply. Great tips. We really appreciate them.
We have done the HPs you mentioned (Cascade, Porter, Big Slide, and Phelps) in the summer, so they are definite options for our first winter attempt. I love that Big Slide loop. Although it's not a HP, we've done Hurricane MT before and if I recall it correctly, it seems that might be a good option too. I don't think it's all that close to Whiteface where we're renting the snowshoes. I suppose we could rent them from the Mountaineer store on 73 instead.

We've never done any hiking in the Saranac Lake 6ers area. Sounds like a cool area though. Any suggestions for a first timer over there in the winter?

Also, have you ever snowshoed the trails near Whiteface? For example, the Mt. Van Hoevenberg snowshoe hike departing from the Lodge and heading for the top of Mt. Van Hoevenberg? Probably nice views up there and it seems like a close, convenient option. I am just concerned that we won't feel like we're far enough from the masses.

From what I read, the hike travels up the Ladies 5km, merges with 1932 Bobsled Track, before reaching the summit for a panoramic view.

We'll definitely be sure to check out Eat N' Meet in Saranac Lake. Nothing like well prepared food, from scratch no less. What are your favorite menu items there?

Thanks again for your reply! You have provided guidance to me on my various ADK adventures numerous times over the years.

rdl 02-19-2015 06:10 PM

I've snowshoed Van Hoevenburg a couple times, most recently last March and saw moose tracks on the way up. we've always used the trailhead off Meadows Lane. We've climbed down the other side(along the old runs) in the summer but wasn't interested in getting near the bobsled/luge area in the winter.

It's a nice 1/2 day outing, has a pretty good wilderness feel for me.

Sbenson43 02-19-2015 09:09 PM

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We just snowshoed Avalanche Pass from the Loj last Saturday and also did the perimeter of Mirror Lake the day prior. Lots of fun, very manageable, we are amateur hikers, our first hike was Phelps last fall. We did it round trip in 5.5 hours. Didn't expect the climb past Marcy Dam on the way to the lake but it was well enjoyed on the return hike. Weather was cold and overcast and the trail was very well worn. This was a beautiful hike, I would definitely recommend it.

Craig79 02-19-2015 09:14 PM

Hi Josh - i just hiked whiteface and esther last saturday.
If you've hiked Cascade, Porter, big slide and phelps, i imagine you wouldn't have much if any problem hiking whiteface. Maybe some of the other more experienced people on this forum would disagree (and i would take their advice over mine!), but i was surprised that whiteface - for being the 5th highest peak - was not that difficult of a hike. we went in from the ASRC field station which i think made it a bit shorter, and it was very manageable.
Also Ampersand in Saranac Lake might be a good option. it's about 3 miles each way. the first 2 are kinda flat - the last mile had some ascent, but the view at the top was fantastic. have fun.

Sbenson43 02-19-2015 09:17 PM

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Here's what the trail looked like between Marcy Dam and the Avalanche Lake

Josh Seeley 02-24-2015 05:50 PM

Excellent tips! Thank you.

Part of me would like to attempt Whiteface and Esther. If we do it from Marble Mt Lane (ASRC Field Station), it seems like a day we could manage. If all goes well, including weather that cooperates (somewhat!), we could hike up Esther, descend, and head over to summit Whiteface. Seems like a fun trip, but I worry that it might be too much. I suppose, if things don't pan out, we could always do Esther, skip Whiteface, and head back to the TH.

Another thought I'm having is to pick a cool area to explore on our snowshoes, without worrying about reaching a summit or achieving substantial elevation change. Might be nice to enjoy the woods and the snow, without the pressure of a long roundtrip peak-bagging hike. I thinking it would be cool to find some secluded section of frozen waterfalls or ponds, etc. It would be fun to toss a couple beers in the pack andjust explore around. We're staying at the High Peaks Resort so I would like to stay close to LP.

Does anyone have any experience snowshoeing in or around the following areas?

- Copperas Pond, Owen Pond, Marsh Pond
- Cooper Kiln (Kill?!) Pond
- Wanika Falls

What are your thoughts on these areas?

Also, let's talk gear. Please.

I think I'm ready to buy my own snowshoes at some point before the end of the season. Any recommendations? I am a male, about 6', 220 lbs. Most of my snowshoeing will involve elevation change, so I would want a fairly agressive set of snowshoes. Sometimes I would just be tooling around the woods and hills in my home town, but other times I will use them to hike/climb in the winter. Between my crampons (or Microspikes at least), and snowshoes, my hope is that there isn't anywhere I can't go in the winter. I would want them to be sufficient if and when I take them in the HPs and other sections in the ADKs.

If anyone with knowledge of snowshoes could provide any recommendations or tips, I would really appreciate that too.


DSettahr 02-24-2015 07:28 PM

Copperas Pond, Owen Pond, and Winch Pond are nice destinations, and are probably visited often enough that your odds of having to break trail are minimal. The trail to Copperas Pond is steep, though, and it can be icy. You may have difficulty making a full day out of this area, but you could combine it with a trip into Whiteface Landing on Lake Placid.

Cooper Kiln Pond is a snowmobile trail. I'm not sure how much snowmobile use it actually gets, though. There area doesn't often get visited by hikers. If snowmobiles haven't been there recently, it is likely that you'll have to break trail. The lean-to at Cooper Kiln Pond is one of the highest lean-tos in the Adirondack Park- I spent a very cold night there in August a few years ago.

Wanika Falls is relatively remote (close to 6 miles from the trailhead). I don't think it is frequently visited in the winter. You may have to break trail to get there.

Josh Seeley 03-09-2015 09:01 PM

Heyyyyo! Just got back from a few epic winter days in the ADKs.

Thanks once again for the great tips. We ended up snowboarding one day, snowshoeing the next. Had a few fresh inches of powder both mornings. Perfect. We enjoyed the Copperas, Winch, and Owen Pond area very much. Nice half day, had it all to ourselves. We enjoyed some well travelled trails, and plenty of "bushwhacking" for fun and added exercise. Snowshoeing was was even better then we expected. Spectacular! Dare I say I might have enjoyed it than summer weather? Fall is prime, but winter might be a close second. So peaceful. No mud or bugs?! Strange man. Then again, we had a nice clear, sunny day. -5 when we left the car though. We warmed up in the the morning sunshine in middle of Owen Pond.

Hey D! The Eat N' Meet in Saranac Lake?! What?! I am at a loss for words. The food was so delicious. We were both blown away and really enjoyed our evening there. Thank you for sharing this somewhat hidden gem. We appreciated every minute of it and will definitely be back.

Anyway, it was a perfect trip. We even scored a sweet deal on two pair of used MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes from EMS!

Thanks again. I love the ADKForum!!!


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