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15 Best Lake Placid Hiking Trails (Versatile & Scenic!)

Explore the top 15 Lake Placid hiking trails for all skill levels. From scenic vistas to challenging peaks, find your perfect trail in this guide. Ideal for hikers and travelers.

Tobi Miles
August 6, 2022
15 Best Lake Placid Hiking Trails (Versatile & Scenic!)

The 46ers Club is a hiking club established to help preserve the Adirondack wilderness by encouraging hikers to summit all 46 High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. The history of the 46ers dates back to 1918, when Robert and George Marshall, and Herbert Clark climbed Whiteface Mountain, their first high peak.

Hikers who summit the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks can register and become an official ADK 46er. Lake Placid offers hikers exciting treks through the Adirondack wilderness. These hiking trails will test the endurance of even the most experienced hiker.

Lake Placid, New York, is a great place to start your hiking adventure towards becoming a member of the 46ers Club. The trails that summit the surrounding high peaks are challenging for hikers of all levels. Here is a guide to the 15 best hiking trails around Lake Placid.

1. Mount Marcy via Van Hoevenberg Trail

Photo Credit: dj f / AllTrails

The 16.7-mile out-and-back trail near Lake Placid, New York, is considered challenging, but it's popular among backpackers, campers and hikers. Dogs are welcome, but they must be kept on a leash.

The Van Hoevenberg Trail from the Adirondack Loj is easy until you reach Marcy Dam. Once you are near the dam, you will climb up rocky terrain most of the way.

Parking is available at the ADK lot, and then follow the Van Hoevenberg Trail to Marcy Dam. A well-traveled trail, this is an easy hike that provides panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Follow signs to Mt. Marcy. Then, take the Phelps Mountain Trail and cross Indian Falls, marked with a stream crossing. This area is the steepest and most complex of the entire hike.

Take a break at Phelps Brook and Indian Falls to take in the views. Here, you can refill your water bottle too. Hiking will get more difficult as you climb closer to the summit.

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 16.7 Miles

Elevation Gain: 3,536 Feet

2. Mount Jo Loop Trail

Photo Credit: Cheyenne Inge / AllTrails

Mount Jo is located 700 ft. over Heart Lake near ADK Loj south of Lake Placid. This area has two trails that lead to its summit.

Mount Jo offers stunning views of the High Peaks and the MacIntyre range. This trek is the perfect hike to take the kids on.

Directions to the Lake Placid trailhead for Mount Jo Loop: Start on Route 73 and go east for about 5 miles. The mount jo loop trail parking lots are about 5 miles from route 73.

This two-mile hiking loop is short and sweet. The short, 600-foot climb will take you to a summit on the saddle between Copeland and Heart Lake.

This is a moderately challenging trail. It is approximately 1.8 miles that take about an hour and fifteen minutes to complete.

It's open year-round, and the best time to visit is from April through October once the snow melts. But, of course, you should have your dog on a leash if you come here to hike, run or snowshoe.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 1.8 Miles

Elevation Gain: 692 Feet

Related Read: 25 BEST Romantic Cabin Getaways in New York

3. Algonquin Peak and Wright Peak via Algonquin Trail

Photo Credit: Nathan Short / AllTrails

This 10 mile trail is popular and challenging. This trail will take an average hike time of 6 hours and 41 minutes to complete.

Start at the Adirondack Lodge at Heart Lake. Walk 1 mile to the trail intersection and follow the path to Wright Peak. It is 2.6 miles to the summit.

The MacIntyre Range is a challenging but rewarding climb. Hikers are greeted with beautiful views, weather permitting. The trail up to Wright Peak follows a stairway made of rocks. These trails are easy to follow and climb.

This hiking trail also has some steep rocks, but they are easy to climb. The trail's end is a sign for Wright Peak (#16 on the 46er list).

This would be an excellent trail for a weekend getaway, but you should bring appropriate clothes and gear because it gets cold at a higher elevation.

Dogs are welcome on the trail, but they must be on a leash. This trail is not recommended for inexperienced hikers or hikers with small children.

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 10 Miles

Elevation Gain: 3,605 Feet

4. Algonquin, Iroquois, and Wright Peaks via Algonquin Trail

Photo Credit: Big Dog 276 / AllTrails

This 10.8-mile trail is on Lake Placid and New York. It is challenging due to the time it takes most people to complete. The best times to go are in May through November. Unfortunately, winter is not a good time to hike the Adirondacks.

Wright Peak provides fantastic views of Lake Placid and the Olympic Ski Jump. Algonquin Peak provides views of both East and West, including high peaks.

On the hike, the first mile and a half are relatively flat with sparse rocks. After this, you will start gaining elevation quickly, and you will see a lot larger boulders.

You'll be climbing bare rock faces and looking for footholds. Expect to spend more energy scaling rock faces and finding footholds in wet weather.

Hiking is the best way to reach summits of some of the Adirondack 46ers. However, the trail is very popular, so parking can be an issue.

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 10.8 Miles

Elevation Gain: 4,386 Feet

Related Read: 20 Top Treehouse Rentals in New York

5. Cobble Hill

Photo Credit: Jason Barrows / AllTrails

We recommend exploring the 2.3 mile loop trail, which starts near Lake Placid in upstate New York. It typically takes 1 hour and 42 minutes to complete, and it's moderately challenging.

To get to the mountain on foot, head towards the center of town from Route 73 and Route 86 in Lake Placid. Turn right at the town hall onto Mirror Lake Drive.

Past Northwood Road, follow Mirror Lake Drive. Head down to the entrance to Northwood School.After parking at the old trailhead, be mindful of private property signs. Then, follow directions to the trail route.

The trail is open year-round, and you might encounter other people while exploring. Dogs are welcome on leashes.

You'll come to an intersection of two trails. The long trail is closed for rerouting and turning left will take you to the short trail. There are open-face rocks, and it is very steep in areas.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 2.3 Miles

Elevation Gain: 495 Feet

6. Mount Colden via Avalanche Pass Trail

Photo Credit: Edward Janus / AllTrails

This hike can be strenuous. First, choose the appropriate trail to the summit of Colden, depending on your skill level. Then, start the hike on the Van Hoevenberg Trail, following it for 2.1 miles up to Marcy Dam.

The bridge is inaccessible, so you must turn left before the dam and go down to a wooden bridge. Then, pass the South Meadow Trail and over to a backcountry trail register.

There are many routes to climb this mountain successfully. This route covers those through Avalanche Pass and then goes up the Lake Colden trail quickly to get to the summit.

The Lake Arnold trail is not as steep, but the Trap Dyke or Mt. Colden trails offer a more challenging hike. This hike is versatile and scenic. It offers a variety of lowland views and picturesque lakes.

Breathtaking summit views await those willing to venture through Avalanche Pass to Mount Colden. This hike returns via Lake Arnold.

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 12.8 Miles

Elevation Gain: 3,061 Feet

Related Read: 30 BEST Waterfalls in Upstate New York

7. Phelps Mountain Trail

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Cain / AllTrails

For hikers looking for an out-and-back trail near Lake Placid, New York, this trail is 8.5 miles long. It takes an average time of 4 hours and 47 minutes to complete it.

This is a popular hiking area with people likely to be encountered while exploring the trail- so keep your dog on a leash. The best time to visit is March through November.

The Phelps Mountain trail is quite steep at times. It is hard, but once you get to the top, you'll have phenomenal views. The hike starts from the Loj at Heart Lake. Then, it takes a highly trafficked trail that connects to Marcy Dam.

From the dam, it follows the Van Hoevenburg Trail to Mt. Marcy. Then turn east on the Phelps Mountain Trail at 1.0 miles from Marcy Dam. At this point, you are headed for the summit. Climb up for incredible views of Mount Marcy and Mount Haystack.

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 8.5 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2,234 Feet

8. Street Mountain and Nye Mountain Trail

Photo Credit: George Kushner / AllTrails

This 9.1-mile hiking trail is an out-and-back located near Lake Placid, New York. It generally takes 5 hours and 23 minutes to complete.

The trail is also known for its accessibility. Visitors' best time to explore the area is April through November. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.

As you leave the lodge, head towards the Mt. Jo trailhead. Enjoy a nice view of Heart Lake along the way. Once you reach the point where the trail ends, turn right. Continue up to Indian Brook, which can be passed by jumping across rocks.

There is no cell service up the mountain. Be sure to have a map and compass before going so you don't get lost. It's always a good idea to pack plenty of water and supplies for a trek like this one.

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 9.1 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2,634 Feet

9. Brewster Peninsula loop

Photo Credit: Yann LE BOULC’H / AllTrails

This 2.1-mile loop near Lake Placid, New York, is an easy route. This loop trail takes about 42 minutes to walk. Brewster Peninsula Loop is an excellent hike in Lake Placid for all ability levels. In addition, it provides an opportunity for trail running and biking.

This trail is dog-friendly so long as they're always leashed. It is an easy enough trail to bring the kids along. The location has minimal elevation gain, making it accessible to all.

This short route will provide excellent views of the surrounding natural area. Many different trails cut through this loop, but plenty of varied combinations.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.1 Miles

Elevation Gain: 101 Feet

10. Mirror Lake Loop

Photo Credit: Charles Reimondo / AllTrails

From the parking area, head 2.6 miles to the loop trail. An easy walk, it takes around 48 minutes to hike. Enjoy bird watching, trail running, or walking.

Parking is available on Parkside Drive by the playground, tennis courts, and the public beach. There are usually people at the beach and shoreline.

The trail is paved and easy for strollers, wheelchairs, and people with disabilities. This is a great, casual walk. It's also very accessible for all ages.

Mirror Lake gets its name from its calm water. This stillness gives it a reflective quality. Visitors can see their reflections in it. Lots of people enjoy bringing their boats onto the water. In addition, the lake is perfect for kayaks and canoes.

Mirror Lake provides a unique experience. With all of these recreational opportunities, this area is a perfect retreat during the winter season.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 55 Feet

Related Read: 15 Best Waterfalls Near Ithaca, New York

11. Mount Van Hoevenberg East Trail

Photo Credit: Hannah Provost / All Trails

Hike the newest trail in the park at Mount Van Hoevenberg, near the Olympic Sports Complex. This is a moderate trail offering light exercise.

The trailhead to this new area can be a little difficult for the new Olympic and hiking center as it has two locations. From the parking lot, go through the gate and look left for a blue sign.

Mt Van Hoevenberg East Trail is a new, sustainable trail in the 6 million acres of Adirondack Park. The trail has bench cuts into the hillside and flat, low-rise stone stairs.

The trail is built to last with low stone stairways and well-placed switchbacks to avoid erosion and keep trails clear. The east summit has vistas of the High Peaks.

The East Trail follows a somewhat rugged, natural topography. Wildflowers, foliage, and spectacular views await hikers on this hike.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.2 Miles

Elevation Gain: 918 Feet

12. Mount Van Hoevenberg West Trail

Photo Credit: Ryan Finn / AllTrails

The Mt. Van Hoevenberg West Trail is the trail that starts at South Meadows Rd near Lake Placid. It is more rugged than the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail and 0.4 miles longer.

To get to the trailhead on the west side of Mt. Van Hoevenberg, start by turning left off the main road at a sign that says "South meadows."  Follow this dirt road for about 0.3 miles. Make a sharp left onto a narrower lane. Here you will find parking close to the mountain's West Trailhead.

This is an excellent trail for you that offers beautiful views. The first part is flat, passing through the woods and past a pond. The next part becomes steep very quickly and has gorgeous views.

This region experiences all four seasons. Trail conditions can be muddy in the spring and summer. It's always a good idea to bring bug spray with you.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 740 Feet

13. Whiteface Mountain Trail

Photo Credit: Sean Ryan / AllTrails

This is a 6 mile hike, one-way, to the summit of Whiteface. From the trailhead at Connery Pond, pass by the gate and begin a relatively moderate hike along an old gravel-strewn woods road.

The footing is a bit tough in spots due to the rocky terrain. Despite this, it’s a quick hike back to Whiteface Landing, on the shore of Lake Placid. It takes about 6 hours and 42 minutes to complete. Nevertheless, it's challenging and very popular.

You'll likely see many people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and full of beauty that you can visit anytime. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash.

A moderate loop will take you from the Wilmington Trailhead over Marble Mountain to Esther and Whiteface. There are excellent views of the surrounding valley.

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 10.1 Miles

Elevation Gain: 3,618 Feet

14. High Falls Gorge

Photo Credit: Chris Jewell / All Trails

The High Falls Gorge is an Adirondacks attraction you don’t want to miss. This walk reveals four epic waterfalls and is a highlight for nature lovers and photographers alike.

The wonders of the gorge take place in a beautiful, geologic setting. Located in the heart of the park, visitors can stop here for a half-day or just an hour. A half-mile round-trip walk takes guests over steel bridges and walkways for a close-up view of the waterfalls.

With sturdy bridges and groomed paths, High Falls Gorge is accessible to all ages. In addition, a wheelchair-accessible path leads guests to the center of the waterfalls.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1 Mile

Elevation Gain: 167 Feet

15. Copperas Pond to Owens Pond

Photo Credit: William Hill / AllTrails

Take a hike on this 1-mile trail near Lake Placid. This trail is generally considered moderately challenging and takes an average of 39 minutes to complete.

Enjoy the scenery while hiking, snowshoeing, and walking near the beautiful, hidden pond. There are two ponds and marshy area after a very small path. Copperas Pond and Owen can be done as an "In and Out" hike. A loop ends at the trailhead up the road.

Begin your journey on an old but recently rerouted section of the new trail. In addition, the pre-existing trail was updated to be more user-friendly.

With denser tread, a wider path leads to a brook. However, the terrain is fairly even as you slip out of the gentle ascent before ending up back near the brook on Owen Pond.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 1 Mile

Elevation Gain: 354 Feet

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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