Free Whiteface-Lake Placid Hiker Shuttle Will Run Weekends through Columbus Day Weekend
Lake Placid, NY - Autumn is one of the busiest times of year on the Adirondack mountains and trails. Families and guests visit the region from throughout the Northeast and around the world to enjoy the unparalleled splendor of the beautiful Adirondacks bursting with fall foliage.
Avoid parking shortages at trailheads and use the new free shuttle service. Leave your car at home or at your hotel and ride the shuttle to six nearby family-friendly hiking trails.
Beginning September 13 and running through October 6, and Friday through Monday during Columbus Day Weekend, Essex County will offer complimentary rides to and from the Whiteface Landing Trailhead, Copperas Pond Trailhead, Whiteface Mountain Ski Lodge, and Bear Den Trailhead at Whiteface Mountain.
Essex County is undertaking this effort in collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Lake Placid’s Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA).
“Essex County is proud to take the lead in this endeavor to relieve overuse and overcrowding on our gorgeous trails. By offering this transportation we hope that our hiking and back country enthusiasts will take advantage the opportunity to explore the breathtaking trails less traveled,” said Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman / Town of Willsboro Supervisor Shaun Gillilland.
“DEC appreciates and supports Essex County’s efforts to provide hikers and other visitors with safe transportation to these trails. This pilot shuttle is part of DEC’s ongoing, comprehensive efforts to promote sustainable tourism in the High Peaks region and protect this irreplaceable resource. The results of the pilot shuttle will inform our collective efforts to further expand a shuttle system in the future,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
“ORDA and Whiteface are excited to be a part of this shuttle program. This is a great opportunity to showcase our two areas, Bear Den Mountain, and the Stag Brook Fall trails, while doing our part while helping to ensure the safety of families and all guests who visit the High Peaks during this exciting time of year.” --- ORDA President/CEO Mike Pratt.
“The shuttle service will help expose our visitors and hikers to new trails and vistas that they may otherwise miss. The six trails are varied and offer exceptional mountain and lake views,” said ROOST CEO Jim McKenna. “The shuttle also provides a convenient and sustainable way for our visitors to enjoy our region during this fall season.”
The shuttle service has two departing locations in Lake Placid, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort (Shuttle stop 1) and Mirror Lake Park, across from the High Peaks Resort (Shuttle stop 2). Service runs each day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shuttles are scheduled approximately every 60 minutes. The shuttle will stop transporting riders from Lake Placid after 2:47 p.m. to ensure hikers have enough time to enjoy their hike and not miss the last shuttle back to Lake Placid.
Shuttle Stop 3 – Whiteface Landing Trailhead
Whiteface Landing: The 3.25-mile trail ascends 310 feet from the trailhead to the shore of Lake Placid, where you can view McKenzie Mountain, Moose Mountain, Moose Island, and the surrounding wilderness lands across the lake. Round trip is 6.5 miles.
Shuttle Stop 4 – Copperas Pond Trailhead
Copperas and Owen Ponds: The trail ascends 450 feet in a quarter mile, then descends for another quarter mile to the clear waters of Copperas Pond before continuing 0.7 miles to the shore of Owen Pond. The trail provides views of the scenic wilderness ponds, their picturesque shorelines, 3,616-foot Stewart Mountain, and 3,892-foot Kilburn Mountain. Round trip is 2.4 miles.
Shuttle Stop 5 – Bear Den Mountain Trailhead
Flume Trail System: The trail system is comprised of approximately 10 miles of trails open to hiking and mountain biking. An approximately 1-mile scenic hike descends 220 feet along the West Branch of the Ausable River and accesses an overlook of a set of rapids on the river, making for a great family experience. Use the Lower Connector Trail from the trailhead to access the River Trail. Round trip is 2 miles.
Bear Den Mountain: The trail ascends 1.6 miles and 1,160 feet from the trailhead to the 2,400-foot summit of Bear Den Mountain. The summit provides spectacular views of the West Branch of the Ausable River Valley, Sentinel Range, Stephenson Range, and the ski trails and summit of Whiteface Mountain. Round trip is 3.2 miles.
Shuttle Stop 6 – Whiteface Mountain Ski Lodge
Stag Brook Falls Trail: Take the gravel service road to the right of the main lodge, pass to the left of the smaller building, and continue to top of the road and look for the trail marker on the power pole which marks the beginning of the trail. The trail proceeds through the woods past a 25-foot waterfall and ends on open ski trails which provide a scenic view of the river valley and the surrounding mountains. Round trip from the base lodge is 1 mile.
West Branch Nature Trail: Take the service road to the top of Mixing Bowl Lift and follow the red trail markers along the West Branch of the Ausable River through hardwood forests to open ski trails. Return to the base lodge via the beautiful Stag Brook Trail. This loop is 1.9 miles long and climbs 335 feet in elevation.
**Please note that Whiteface Mountain’s annual Oktoberfest will take place on September 28 and September 29. During the two-day event, the Whiteface-Lake Placid Hiker Shuttle will be unable to access shuttle stops for Bear Den Mountain Trailhead (#5) and the Whiteface Mountain Ski Lodge (#6). Instead riders will be dropped off and picked up outside at a single stop along the entrance road. Riders will need to pay admission to hike and/or to attend the Oktoberfest. ($16 for adults and $14 for seniors and children at the gate.)
Visit https://www.lakeplacid.com/hiker-shuttle for shuttle map and full schedule.
Photo: Bear Den Mountain
Contact: Carrie Gentile, Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism
Dave Winchell, NYSDEC
Jon Lundin, Olympic Regional Development Authority